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Sanne Cant wins 13th Belgian cyclo-cross national crown

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MIDDELKERKE, BELGIUM - JANUARY 08: Sanne Cant of Belgium celebrates winning during the 105th Belgian National Cyclo-cross Championships 2022 - Women's Elite / #bkmiddelkerke / on January 08, 2022 in Middelkerke, Belgium. (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Sanne Cant (Iko - Crelan) rode to her 13th Belgian cyclo-cross national title on Saturday (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 Laura Verdonschot of Belgium crosses the finishing line in third place during the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Laura Verdonschot crosses the line in third place at the 2022 Belgian National Cyclo-cross Championships (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 Marion Norbert Riberolle of Belgium crosses the finishing line in second place during the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Marion Norbert Riberolle finishes in second place at Middelkerke (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 Alicia Franck of Belgium suffers a mechanical problem during the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Alicia Franck suffered a mechanical with her chain during the 2022 Belgian National Cyclo-cross Championships (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 Laura Verdonschot of Belgium competes during the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Laura Verdonschot rides across the beach section of the Belgian National Cyclo-cross Championships in Middelkerke (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 Lotte Kopecky of Belgium competes during the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Lotte Kopecky rides on the beach section of the Middelkerke course (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 LR Sanne Cant of Belgium and Marion Norbert Riberolle of Belgium compete during the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

On the first lap of the elite women's championship, Marion Norbert Riberolle held a slight advantage over Sanne Cant (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 Lotte Kopecky of Belgium competes during the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Lotte Kopecky works to keep podium hopes alive mid-way through the race (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 Gold medalist Sanne Cant of Belgium poses on the podium after the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Sanne Cant celebrates a 13th consecutive elite women's title (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 LR Silver medalists Marion Norbert Riberolle of Belgium gold medalists Sanne Cant of Belgium and bronze medalists Laura Verdonschot of Belgium pose on the podium during the medal ceremony after the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens Elite bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Elite Women's podium (L-R): Silver medalist Marion Norbert Riberolle, gold medalist Sanne Cant, and bronze medalist Laura Verdonschot (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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MIDDELKERKE BELGIUM JANUARY 08 LR Silver medalists Julie Brouwers of Belgium gold medalists Kiona Crabbe of Belgium and bronze medalists Sterre Vervloet of Belgium pose on the podium during the medal ceremony after the 105th Belgian National Cyclocross Championships 2022 Womens U23 bkmiddelkerke on January 08 2022 in Middelkerke Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

U23 women's podium (L-R): Silver medalist Julie Brouwers, gold medalist Kiona Crabbé, and bronze medalist Sterre Vervloet (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Sanne Cant won her 13th consecutive Belgian Cyclo-cross National Championship on Saturday, crossing the line in Middelkerke 54 seconds ahead of Marion Norbert Riberolle. Third place went to Laura Verdonschot.

Coming off a fourth-place finish in Harentals on Wednesday, Cant mastered the wet, windy and cold conditions in Middelkerke with ease to extend her streak of national titles, which began in  January 2010. 

Notably absent from the start line due to a was Ellen Van Loy, who has finished fifth or better since 2013 but never the gold medal. She tested positive for COVID-19 and announced on her Twitter feed early Saturday morning, “I wasn’t expecting this, but I’m sure it will pass…”

Four of the favourites shot to the front of the race Cant, Alicia Franck, Norbert Riberolle and Lotte Kopecky, who had started in the second row. Chasing the small gap was Verdonschot in fifth place. 

The first issue surfaced with Franck losing contact with the group when she dismounted in the sand and replaced a dropped chain. Norbert Riberolle, who almost caused the entire lead group to crash on the first lap, pressed ahead with a strong pace for the leaders, but Cant didn’t wait long, and made a pass to take control at the front and create a gap.

With two laps completed, Cant had a seven-second gap on Norbert Riberolle. Fighting for third place was Kopecky and Verdonschot. 

National road champion Kopecky looked to fight fatigue more so than Verdonschot as the race progressed, lowering her pace and taking a fall with two laps to go. This allowed Franck to overtake her fourth-place position. 

Meanwhile, Cant continued to ride alone at the front with a 32-second advantage over Norbert Riberolle and another 1:15 ahead of Verdonschot. She continued her strong pace on the final lap to extend her lead and held on for her first victory of the season. Franck held on for fourth and Kopecky was fifth, both missing the podium on which they had landed in 2021.

"From the moment I could do my own thing and have the free space, I felt like I could pull away fairly quickly and then it was a bit of a battle against the wind today," Cant told Wielerflits about her solo ride to victory and course conditions. 

“I also started with full slicks and already felt in the first lap that the rain had come to an end. Then I made a lot of sliders in one round and decided to switch to slightly coarser tubes to build in a little more security. So it was quite tough."

She admitted it was “getting harder and harder” to repeat as national champion and appreciates every victory. “That it used to be self-evident is now less and less. That is why I am starting to attach more importance to it.”

The women’s under-23 title was taken by Kiona Crabbé, who finished eighth overall. Julie Brouwers was the silver medalist and Sterre Vervloet took bronze, the pair riding to 13th and 14th overall, respectively.

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko - Crelan 0:50:59
2Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Starcasino CX Team 0:01:08
3Laura Verdonschot (Bel) 0:01:40
4Alicia Franck (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT 0:02:58
5Lotte Kopecky (Bel) 0:03:20
6Marthe Truyen (Bel) Iko - Crelan 0:03:37
7Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel) 0:03:46
8Kiona Crabbé (Bel) 0:04:20
9Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Iko - Crelan 0:04:29
10Jana Dobbelaere (Bel) Starcasino CX Team 0:04:43
11Fauve Bastiaenssen (Bel) Pissei - Groep T.O.M 0:04:48
12Jinse Peeters (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT 0:05:59
13Julie Brouwers (Bel) 0:06:24
14Sterre Vervloet (Bel) 0:07:15
15Marthe Goossens (Bel) 0:07:28
16Meg De Bruyne (Bel) 0:07:57
17Tessa Zwaenepoel (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT 0:08:06
18Cato Cassiers (Bel) Starcasino CX Team 0:08:40
19Shana Maes (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team
20Febe Schokkaert (Bel)
21Audrey De Keersmaeker (Bel) Starcasino CX Team
22Lotte Baele (Bel)
23Lise Van Wunsel (Bel)
24Eva Vermeersch (Bel)
25Kiona Dhont (Bel)
26Lara Defour (Bel)
27Tine Rombouts (Bel)
28Kim Van de Steene (Bel)
29Floor Van Elsacker (Bel)
30Caren Commissaris (Bel)
31Naomi De Roeck (Bel)
32Christine Verdonck (Bel)
33Rosanne Breugelmans (Bel) Pissei - Groep T.O.M
34Adeline Moreau (Bel)
35Nele De Vos (Bel)
36Fiona Mertens (Bel)
37Sara Beeckmans (Bel)
38Emily De Cuyper (Bel)
39Kim Knaeps (Bel)
40Aurélie Vermeir (Bel)
41Florine Arlon (Bel)
42Machalina Dereere (Bel)
43Jo Blanchaert (Bel)
44Jolisa Verschueren (Bel)
45Jasmira Nobus (Bel)
DNFLoes Sels (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT
DNFLies´L Schevenels (Bel)
DNFJoyce Vanderbeken (Bel)
DNSEllen Van Loy (Bel)
DNSTinne Vermeiren (Bel)
DNSAnja Nobus (Bel)

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