Marianne Vos (Netherlands) inked her name into the history books as the rider who has won the most cyclo-cross world titles, outdueling teammate Lucinda Brand in a highly tactical two-woman battle at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was Vos' eighth elite women’s title, 16 years after her first at the 2006 Worlds in Zeddam and pushes her ahead of Erik De Vlaeminck, who won seven in his career.
Italian Silvia Persico had a career-best ride to secure the bronze, keeping the Dutch from a sweep of the podium when she passed Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, who crashed in the final lap on the dry, fast course.
“It’s incredible. Now I just can’t believe it,” Vos said about her win. “At first leading up to this race you don’t look back that much, it’s just trying to focus on the race itself, and now I just don’t believe it.
"It was such a difficult race. I knew Lucinda was going to be very, very hard to beat and she put on some pressure and I tried some pressure but it’s so difficult to get away and then I knew I had to try and stay calm and try to do the right things in the last lap and then focus on the sprint.
“This year, I had great support from my family, iI have great support from my team. I just tried to do the right things. I am very thankful and grateful to be here and it is incredible to be here on the top step.”
Vos' race could well have turned out quite differently: she almost took a dive into the fencing on the second corner after Alvarado led out the mass of 30 riders from hole shot. But with Dutch teammates all around, Vos would correct her mistake quickly and continue in third place behind Brand and Alvarado, who both took the cyclo-cross elite title in the past two years for the Netherlands, with Inge van der Heijden and Yara Kastelijn rounding out the five top spots.
The three Dutch jerseys of Brand, Alvarado and Vos streaked under a bright blue sky and had a slight gap by the time they made the first descent off the 39 Climb, with Van der Heijden and Kastelijn riding seven seconds back with Maghalie Rochette (Canada) and Persico. The battles ensued for the top two spots between Brand and Vos, and behind a chance for a medal between Alvarado and Persico.
By the second lap on the Fayetteville course, the defending champion Brand cranked up the speed and took a slight advantage over Alvarado and Vos but could not shake Vos, who ran back to her with a strong climb of the stairs.
Alvarado rode seven seconds behind her teammates to begin lap three of seven. In solo fourth place was Perisco, 17 seconds back. Rochette then led a group of more Dutch riders - Kastelijn, Van der Heijden, Manon Bakke and Kata Blanka Vas - and Belgium’s Sanne Cant close by. American favourite Clara Honsinger rode in 12th position, with Hélène Clauzel (France).
The middle laps of the race were all Brand versus Vos, with Alvarado trying to keep a slight view of the duo on long straightaways in the distance as well as eyes on Persico, who was looking to spoil an all-Dutch party. The Italian was able to move across to Alvarado and begin a solid battle for the bronze on the fifth lap. Had Alvarado not had a technical to stop her momentum on the last lap, the duo may have sprinted for the final podium spot.
At the front, the tactical drag race for the lead on the back of the course was first launched by Vos on the penultimate lap, but several moves were matched by Brand. On the bell lap, Brand tried to attack Vos on the long climb. The duo took the final punches to the pavement, which Vos won in the sprint.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marianne Vos (Netherlands)||0:55:00|
|2||Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)||0:00:01|
|3||Silvia Persico (Italy)||0:00:51|
|4||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands)||0:01:04|
|5||Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands)||0:01:05|
|6||Manon Bakker (Netherlands)|
|7||Maghalie Rochette (Canada)||0:01:39|
|8||Hélène Clauzel (France)||0:01:59|
|9||Inge Van Der Heijden (Netherlands)|
|10||Sanne Cant (Belgium)||0:02:12|
|11||Clara Honsinger (United States Of America)||0:02:27|
|12||Elisabeth Brandau (Germany)||0:02:35|
|13||Katerina Nash (Czech Republic)||0:02:41|
|14||Eva Lechner (Italy)||0:02:48|
|15||Raylyn Nuss (United States Of America)||0:02:51|
|16||Perrine Clauzel (France)||0:02:55|
|17||Kata Blanka Vas (Hungary)||0:03:07|
|18||Alicia Franck (Belgium)||0:03:17|
|19||Anaïs Morichon (France)||0:03:38|
|20||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spain)||0:04:01|
|21||Hannah Arensman (United States Of America)||0:04:19|
|22||Caroline Mani (France)||0:05:08|
|23||Ruby West (Canada)||0:05:19|
|24||Sidney Mcgill (Canada)||0:05:26|
|25||Anna Megale (United States Of America)||0:05:41|
|26||Caitlin Bernstein (United States Of America)|
|27||Erica Zaveta (United States Of America)||0:06:45|
|28||Rebecca Fahringer (United States Of America)|
|29||Siobhan Kelly (Canada)|
|30||Maria Larkin (Ireland)|
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Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).
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