Cyclo-cross World Championships: Norbert-Riberolle wins U23 women's title

Marion Norbert-Riberolle (France) got the gold medal she desired after putting in a dominant display to clinch the U23 women’s title at the 2020 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships

The 21-year-old elite French national champion never looked in trouble as she rode away from her rivals on the opening lap before pulling out an unassailable margin to win by 26 seconds.

Meanwhile, Kata Blanka Vas clinched Hungary’s first ever cyclo-cross world championship medal in second while Great Britain's Anna Kay took bronze.

Afterwards, Norbert-Riberolle said that she would have only been satisfied with gold.

"Before the French championships I really wanted to win the U23 category and that was my goal for the year," she said.

"I just wanted the victory and nothing else. I took the start for the win this morning and I didn’t want anything else. I said to my French coach if I finished second or third I would have been really angry. 

"It was just a race alone. I could rely on my staff giving me information during the whole course so I didn’t fear anything. I wasn’t nervous and was good in my head. I had a stomach problem but after that I realised I could put in my own performance and didn’t worry about it."

From the outset, it was Mannon Bakker (Netherlands) who powered her way through the mud and streched the field, with Norbert-Riberolle following before taking on the race lead. A first lap crash for Bakker saw her fall back to the chasing group of six riders, leaving the Frenchwoman clear at the front of the race.

Canadian Ruby West went in pursuit of the leader and was joined by Inge van der Heijden (Netherlands) and Vas. Van Der Heijden fell away on the second lap as conditions deteriorated on the Dubendorf course and Kay joined the medal battle after a conservative start.

Vas stretched the pace once again in the gruelling muddy condition and Kay was left chasing in third place. Despite Vas throwing everything at her British rival, Kay was initially equal to her efforts as the pair pulled out a gap on the chasing group before eventually she fell back.

With a lap remaining, Norbert-Riberolle had a 32-second over Vas, while Kay sat a further 18 seconds behind in third. Norbert-Riberolle had time to celebrate her fine victory on the final lap while Vas fended off the determined challenge of Kay for silver.

Hungarian Vas was speechless to be the first medalist at a cyclo-cross world championship for her nation.

"This means a lot to me. It’s hard to put into words how happy I am right now," Vas said.

"What I really wanted was to finish on the podium and I’ve managed to do that so I’m very happy. This is a big step for Hungarian cyclo-cross sport and hopefully there are more medals in the future. I really hope I can motivate the next generation and bring kids into cyclo-cross."

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Full Results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marion Norbert Riberolle (France) 0:48:31
2Kata Blanka Vas (Hungary) 0:00:27
3Anna Kay (Great Britain) 0:00:40
4Katie Clouse (United States Of America) 0:01:29
5Manon Bakker (Netherlands) 0:01:34
6Inge Van der Heijden (Netherlands) 0:01:53
7Francesca Baroni (Italy) 0:02:06
8Sara Casasola (Italy) 0:02:29
9Ruby West (Canada) 0:02:43
10Noemi Rüegg (Switzerland) 0:03:23
11Harriet Harnden (Great Britain) 0:03:42
12Aniek Van Alphen (Netherlands) 0:04:25
13Léa Curinier (France) 0:04:31
14Kiona Crabbé (Belgium) 0:04:47
15Gaia Realini (Italy) 0:05:08
16Lara Krähemann (Switzerland) 0:05:14
17Sofia Rodriguez Revert (Spain) 0:05:56
18Marthe Truyen (Belgium) 0:06:16
19Tina Züger (Switzerland) 0:06:24
20Judith Krahl (Germany) 0:06:58
21Hannah Arensman (United States Of America) 0:07:20
22Amandine Fouquenet (France) 0:08:59
23Tereza Švihálková (Czech Republic) 0:09:49
24Irene Trabazo Bragado (Spain) 0:10:20
25Paula Suarez Chasco (Spain) 0:10:25
26Dana Gilligan (Canada) 0:10:28
27Shannon Mallory (United States Of America) 0:11:04
28Kätlin Kukk (Estonia)
29Kinga Kalembkiewicz (Poland)
30Sara Bonillo Talens (Spain)

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