British rider Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) won the fifth round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series in Spa-Francorchamps. On the F1 car circuit, Harris found a course that suited her climbing skills and allowed her to take her first win of the season.
"I've been trying so hard the last few weeks. Sometimes I had a little bit of bad luck but everybody has some bad luck," Harris told Sport.be. "Today was a good day. I was in pain right from the start but I was pushing and pushing. I'm really happy with the win," Harris told Vier.
British national champion Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) held off Belgian rider Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) in the final lap, taking second place. Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) ended her six-race long winning streak in Francorchamps, abandoning the race in the penultimate lap with back problems.
The course features the famous 'Raidillon' corner and a steep bank called 'le Mur'. "I didn't dare to look up, it was so steep. Every lap I was yearning for the finish," Harris told Sport.be.
Harris featured at the front from start to finish. She led the group right after the start, over the Raidillon, but Cant and Wyman were closely marking her moves. Wyman quickly took command and led the group when crawling up 'le Mur'. Wyman missed a corner in the downhill and Harris and Cant gapped the rest of the field by the end of the opening lap. The first chasing group existed of Wyman, Mikulaskova, Havlikova, Van Loy and Verschueren.
The running sections were clearly not favouring Cant and she got dropped by Harris in the second lap. Harris created a comfortable lead while Verschueren and Wyman bridged up to Cant to battle for second place. In the second half of the race Van Loy surged forward and took over the spot from Belgian compatriot Verschueren.
There wasn't much time to enjoy her lap of honour but Harris did everything to bring the win home in the final lap. Van Loy her hopes on second place faded when she was forced to switch bikes due to braking problems. Wyman exploited the gap she gained and Van Loy was forced to settle for third place.
At the finish she pointed out that a podium spot pleased her enough. "It's a very hard course where the strongest riders come afloat anyway. You need some luck too because the rocky subsoil and several small stones can always cause damage," Van Loy told Sport.be. Verschueren was fourth ahead of Czech riders Mikulaskova and Havlikova. Meredith Miller was the first US-rider in eleventh place despite a flat tyre just behind the pit. US-champion Katie Compton (Trek) didn't race in Spa-Francorchamps.
There’s no overall classification for the Superprestige series in the women's category.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Nikki Harris (GBr) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:44:33|
|2||Helen Wyman (GBr) Konfa FFSA Factory Team||0:00:10|
|3||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:21|
|4||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Wielerteam Decock-Woningbouw Vandekerckhove||0:00:44|
|5||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||0:01:15|
|6||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:35|
|7||Githa Michiels (Bel)||0:02:45|
|8||Aida Nuno Palacio (Spa)||0:03:09|
|9||Lisa Heckmann (Bel)||0:03:14|
|10||Asa Maria Erlandsson (Nor)||0:04:04|
|11||Meredith Miller (USA)||0:04:10|
|12||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||0:04:18|
|13||Amira Mellor (Gbr)||0:04:36|
|14||Bianca Van Den Hoek (Ned)||0:04:45|
|15||Stephanie De Croock (Bel) Wielerclub De Sprinters Malderen||0:06:23|
|16||Elle Anderson (USA) Kalas-NNOF Cycling Team||0:06:45|
|17||Christine Vardaros (USA)||0:07:26|
|18||Milou Meeuse (Ned) MSMWV Dutch Mountains||0:07:48|
|19||Elena Vanickova (Cze)||0:07:59|
|20||Marlies Beckers (Bel) B-Cycle Team||0:10:52|
|DNF||Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel) Kon. Balen B.C. V.Z.W.|
|DNF||Gertie Willems (Bel) Kleur Op Maat cyclingteam|
|DNF||Tine Verdeyen (Bel) Cycling Team Zemst VZW|
|DNF||Eva Maria Palm (Bel)|
|DNF||Jessika Timmermans (Bel) Hageland Cycling Team|
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