The opening round of the Bpost Bank Trophy in Ronse, Belgium ended in a surprising victory for Pavla Havlikova (MRM-Avalon Pro Cycling). It was the second victory of the young cyclo-cross season for the short 32-year-old Czech rider. Havlikova managed an almost race-long solo attack on the tough technical course that swerves up and down the Hotond climb.
"I didn't know what to expect from this race. The victory comes unexpected which makes it much more fun," Havlikova told Sport.be.
Jolien Verschueren (Young Telenet-Fidea) was a strong runner-up on home soil at 15 seconds from Havlikova. British rider Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) joined her teammate on the podium, finishing third at 34 seconds.
European and Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) didn't have a great day in Ronse. She was fourth at 1:17, just ahead of Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea). British champion Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing) was sixth at two minutes from the Czech winner.
Havlikova took the best start in Ronse, finding a course that suited her technical and climbing skills. Harris tried to stay with her in the opening lap but had to allow a couple of metres. Havlikova took the bonus seconds on the second lap ahead of Harris and Cant. Meanwhile Verschueren was moving up in the background. The Belgian rider suddenly flew over Van Loy, Wyman and Cant into third position.
Halfway through the race Havlikova kept Harris at a dozen of seconds with Verschueren trying to get rid of Cant and company. Instead of a duel between Havlikova and Harris the situation turned around on the fourth lap. Verschueren bridged up to her teammate, Harris, and powered away on the fifth lap. When hitting the final lap Verschueren was 13 seconds behind Havlikova but from there the situation remained the same as Havlikova had enough left in her tank to increase her lead.
Thanks to the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint and at the finish line Havlikova holds a lead of 35 seconds over Verschueren in the time-based overall classification of the Bpost Bank Trophy. Harris is third at 49 seconds while Cant is fourth at 1:42.
Cant is last year's winner of the Bpost Bank Trophy and she didn't panic after her poor performance in Ronse, referring to pelvis problems. "The first riders rode too fast. I don't know what was going on. Off-day? Maybe. Yesterday I visited the physio to work on my pelvis. Today I tried to move along with those who were passing by. Last year I was sick and lost much more time than today. There's still so much that can happen. I can have bad luck or maybe I can win by three minutes," Cant told Sporza.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Pavla Havlikova (Cze)||46:46:00|
|2||Jolien Verschueren (Bel)||0:15:00|
|3||Nikki Harris (GBr)||0:34:00|
|4||Sanne Cant (Bel)||1:17:00|
|5||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||1:24:00|
|6||Helen Wyman (GBr)||2:00:00|
|7||Thalita De Jong (Ned)||2:26:00|
|8||Femke Van Den Driessche (Bel)||3:25:00|
|9||Loes Sels (Bel)||4:43:00|
|10||Bianca Van Den Hoek (Ned)||4:45:00|
|11||Aida Nuno Palacio (Spa)||5:02:00|
|12||Lizzy Witlox (Ned)||5:59:00|
|13||Linda Ter Beek (Ned)||6:22:00|
|14||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||6:42:00|
|15||Manon Bakker (Ned)||6:53:00|
|16||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa)||7:12:00|
|17||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||7:26:00|
|18||Lindy Van Anrooij (Ned)||7:31:00|
|19||Monique Van De Ree (Ned)||7:40:00|
|20||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||7:47:00|
|21||Esmee Oosterman (Ned)||8:04:00|
|22||Katrien Thijs (Bel)||10:04:00|
|23||Floor Weerink (Ned)|
|24||Margriet Helena Kloppenburg (Den)|
|25||Pauline Delhaye (Fra)|
|26||Yara Kastelijn (Ned)|
|27||Fleur Nagengast (Ned)|
|28||Shana Maes (Bel)|
|29||Aurélie Vermeir (Bel)|
|30||Esther Van Der Burg (Ned)|
|31||Caren Commissaris (Bel)|
|32||Axelle Bellaert (Bel)|
|33||Tatiana Vanparys (Bel)|
|34||Cindy Diericx (Bel)|
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