Ferrand-Prevot beats Cant to World Championship title

In one of the most exciting races of the season, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (France) beat World Cup winner Sanne Cant (Belgium) in a sprint to win the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championship. Defending champion Marianne Vos (Netherlands) ended her six-year span in the rainbow jersey with a third place at 15 seconds.

For Ferrand-Prévot, 22, it was her second world title, four months after winning the UCI Road World championships in Ponferrada, Spain. While Cant enjoyed her must consistently successful cyclo-cross season, Ferrand-Prévot came to Tábor with only two home wins in her bag, but the Rabo-Liv rider pulled off her biggest 'cross performance at the perfect time.

Ferrand-Prévot pumped her fists as she crossed the line, and later fought back some tears after embracing Vos after the finish line. "It was a fantastic race for me. I'm very happy. I didn't expect to win today," Ferrand-Prévot said. "For me it's a great year. It's my second world title in a few months. It's fantastic for me, also for women's cyclo-cross."

An extremely disappointed and emotional Cant found it hard to settle for second place, knowing the world title was within her reach. "Before the race I might have been pleased with silver but due to the way it happened it hurts," Cant told Sporza.

Coming into the world title race it was clear that several riders had the chance to claim the rainbow jersey as Marianne Vos showed signs of weakness due to a lingering hamstring injury. One of the top favourites was Italian champion Eva Lechner. The winner of last weekend's final World Cup round and the silver medal from last year crashed out of contention in the first corner of the race.

For nearly two of the five laps it was Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (France) who led the race with a small gap over Vos, Cant, Ferrand-Prévot, Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) and Nikki Harris (Great Britain). Halfway through the second lap Ferrand-Prévot upped the pace in the group and she closed the gap on compatriot Chainel. Vos and Cant closed the gap and brought the group of five back together.

Ferrand-Prévot accelerated again, gapping the rest of the group as Chainel-Lefèvre faded back after her fast start. Nash took the initiative and kept the leader within touching distance at six seconds, but the Czech champion quickly paid the price for her efforts as she had a small crash and was unable to follow the acceleration from Sanne Cant.

The European and Belgian champion Cant quickly bridged up to Ferrand-Prévot and put her under pressure in the second half of the penultimate lap.

When hitting the final lap Cant had a tiny gap on the French champion, but Ferrand-Prévot closed it down on the pavement, then took the initiative. Cant tried to shake her off in a climbing section that suited her perfectly, but could not shake the Frenchwoman. "I attacked on the climb and hoped to get a gap but she was still on my wheel," Cant explained to Sporza.

Ferrand-Prévot then took over the lead, the two riders taking different lines but neither gaining an advantage on the final descent. Ferrand-Prévot explained that she tried to ride 'clean lines'. "I knew I had to pass her on the top of the lap [at the highest part of the course]. I tried to come back and just go full gas until the finish line," Ferrand-Prévot said.

Cant lost a couple of metres. "In a technical section where the stairs used to be I should have been in the lead but I lose a couple of metres there because I had to run," Cant said. Just before the sprint Cant was back on Ferrand-Prévot's wheel but she didn't have anything left to pass her. "I don't think you have to lead out the sprint to win but she's simply superfast. It's stupid," Cant said.

Vos won the battle for third place, rolling across the line 15 seconds from the winner. She quickly congratulated her emotional teammate Ferrand-Prévot with a big hug. Vos shook off Harris and Nash in the final lap, with Nash making a few tumbles. Nikki Harris concluded her best race in a long time with a great fourth place at 20 seconds. Nash crossed the line while high-fiving her home crowd in fifth place at 36 seconds. Chainel was best of the rest at 55 seconds ahead of fast starter Helen Wyman (GBR), Ellen Van Loy (Belgium). Christine Majerus (Luxembourg) was a surprising name in ninth place ahead of Sophie de Boer (Netherlands).

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France)0:49:10
2Sanne Cant (Belgium)0:00:01
3Marianne Vos (Netherlands)0:00:15
4Nikki Harris (Great Britain)0:00:21
5Katerina Nash (Czech Republic)0:00:36
6Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (France)0:00:56
7Helen Wyman (Great Britain)0:01:21
8Ellen Van Loy (Belgium)0:01:35
9Christine Majerus (Luxembourg)0:01:54
10Sophie De Boer (Netherlands)0:01:56
11Caroline Mani (France)0:02:13
12Mical Dyck (Canada)0:02:19
13Kaitlin Antonneau (United States Of America)0:02:31
14Alice Maria Arzuffi (Italy)0:02:40
15Sabrina Stultiens (Netherlands)0:02:51
16Martina Mikulaskova (Czech Republic)0:03:01
17Sanne Van Paassen (Netherlands)0:03:07
18Loes Sels (Belgium)0:03:08
19Nadja Heigl (Austria)0:03:14
20Rachel Lloyd (United States Of America)Row 19 - Cell 2
21Pavla Havlikova (Czech Republic)0:03:19
22Rocio Del Alba Garcia Martinez (Spain)0:03:28
23Jolien Verschueren (Belgium)0:03:52
24Jessica Lambracht (Germany)0:04:08
25Crystal Anthony (United States Of America)0:04:15
26Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia)0:04:21
27Katherine Compton (United States Of America)0:04:33
28Amira Mellor (Great Britain)0:04:49
29Lisa Heckmann (Germany)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Asa Maria Erlandsson (Sweden)0:04:58
31Eva Lechner (Italy)0:05:07
32Marlene Petit (France)0:05:15
33Aida Nuno (Spain)0:05:21
34Hannah Payton (Great Britain)0:05:38
35Olga Wasiuk (Poland)0:05:45
36Nikola Noskova (Czech Republic)0:05:48
37Paula Gorycka (Poland)0:06:10
38Meredith Miller (United States Of America)0:06:28
39Carolina Gomez (Argentina)0:06:31
40Elle Anderson (United States Of America)0:06:36
41Chiara Teocchi (Italy)0:07:03
42Ayako Toyooka (Japan)0:07:25
43Karla Stepanova (Czech Republic)0:08:37
44Lindsay Gorrell (Australia)0:09:05
45Livia Hanesova (Slovakia)Row 44 - Cell 2

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