Marianne Vos lays down Worlds marker with Hoogerheide World Cup victory

Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo–Visma) landed a psychological blow on her rivals as she charged clear to win the final round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Hoogerheide. 

Already winner of the Dutch national title earlier this month, Vos made a blistering last lap attack to win just six days before the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville.

Hoogerheide is hosting next year’s World Championships and competitors took on a course similar to that in America next weekend. 

Reigning world champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) had attempted to power away from her rivals on the penultimate lap but Vos and leader Puck Pieterse (Alpecin - Fenix) responded. 

As Brand suffered from her previous lap attack Vos made her move to take a clear victory. 

Brand, who had already won the World Cup series overall, sprinted past under-23 rider Pieterse to take second, 10 seconds down on Vos.

Vos has combined cyclo-cross racing with her road training this season and she goes into the World Championships having won five out of nine ‘cross starts this winter.

“I’m, of course, very happy to win and I’m very satisfied with the feeling during the race,” said Vos.

“We also know it doesn’t say a lot about next week, of course it’s nice to go with a good shape to America but next week is a new race for everybody.”

Vos launched her winning attack on a short bank section on soft ground, powering away and leaving Pieterse and Brand behind.

“During the race I felt I had some good traction and I knew when I wanted to escape on the final lap there was a chance to go there,” added Vos. “When I had a gap I went full to the finish.”

Asked if Vos was her biggest opponent for next weekend’s world title, Brand answered: “Yes, she showed that today. She is very experienced, she showed again today what great shape she has and she is ready for next week.”

How it unfolded

Brand had already won the World Cup series heading into the finale in Hoogerheide. Here, Brand once again faced Vos, who had beaten her to the Dutch national title on her last outing.

The traditional Hoogerheide round of the cyclo-cross World Cup again challenged riders with a mixture of steep banks, technical features and a steep staircase.

Covid-19 restrictions meant that fans were prevented from attending the Hoogerheide round, which was cancelled last season because of the pandemic.

A road start saw riders head straight uphill with Vos joined at the front by Inge Van der Heijden (777) going into the first wooded section.

Brand found herself back in eighth during the opening turns after becoming swamped during the fast road start.

A large leading group of 11 riders gathered on the opening lap as competitors snaked up and down between the fields with Blanka Kata Vas (Team SD Worx) dictating the pace.

Italian champion Silvia Persico (FAS Airport Services) finished fifth in the previous week’s World Cup at Flamanville and was also closely monitoring the front.

After being narrowly beaten into second at Flamanville under-23 series leader Puck Pieterse (Alpecin - Fenix) was next to force the pace but was closely monitored by Brand, Vos and Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal).

Reigning world champion Brand was showing her power on the grassy climbs and the leading quartet started to pull away from the chasers.

Coming through the finish Pieterse launched another attack using the slipstream of her rivals but the leaders were quick to respond.

Rivals for next weekend’s World Championships Brand and Vos started trading blows with Pieterse also battling with her older compatriots.

Vas was also in the battle for the podium place and pulled back the leading trio along with Van Empel, to make five leaders with three laps remaining.

As Pieterse set the pace, the World and European Champion Brand looked under pressure, while Vos looked comfortable in second position.

On the road finishing straight, Brand came from the back to the front of the leading group and attacked through the wooded section.

Brand had won in last two races held at Hoogerheide and powered up the climbs, with only Vos able to respond as Pieterse and Van Empel were distanced.

Despite being initially gapped, Pieterse bunny hopped the hurdles to close the slender deficit to the leaders.

At the bell, Pieterse led the leading trio while Van Empel sat seven seconds behind.

Brand was suffering from her efforts on the previous lap and she was distanced as Pieterse forced the pace on the wooded section.

Just as Brand bridged back across to the leaders Vos landed a blistering attack with neither of her rivals able to respond. Brand pulled back up to Pieterse and beat the 20-year-old in the uphill sprint to take second.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marianne Vos (Ned) 0:52:14
2Lucinda Brand (Ned) 0:00:10
3Puck Pieterse (Ned) 0:00:11
4Fem Van Empel (Ned) 0:00:18
5Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) 0:00:21
6Shirin Van Anrooij (Ned) 0:00:55
7Silvia Persico (Ita) 0:01:27
8Denise Betsema (Ned)
9Eva Lechner (Ita) 0:02:00
10Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) 0:02:32
11Alicia Franck (Bel) 0:02:54
12Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned) 0:03:03
13Sanne Cant (Bel)
14Hélène Clauzel (Fra) 0:03:04
15Amandine Fouquenet (Fra) 0:03:09
16Yara Kastelijn (Ned) 0:03:10
17Aniek Van Alphen (Ned) 0:03:11
18Manon Bakker (Ned) 0:03:12
19Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) 0:03:20
20Kristýna Zemanová (Cze) 0:04:21
21Perrine Clauzel (Fra) 0:04:28
22Line Burquier (Fra) 0:04:31
23Marthe Truyen (Bel) 0:04:55
24Laura Verdonschot (Bel) 0:05:05
25Anaïs Morichon (Fra) 0:05:08
26Aida Nuño Palacio (Spa) 0:05:39
27Marie Schreiber (Lux) 0:06:04
28Gaia Realini (Ita) 0:06:08
29Leonie Bentveld (Ned) 0:06:19
30Tereza Kurnická (Svk) 0:06:27
31Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) 0:06:33
32Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) 0:06:49
33Ellen Van Loy (Bel) 0:07:02
34Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel) 0:07:05
35Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) 0:07:06
36Federica Venturelli (Ita) 0:07:27
37Valentina Corvi (Ita)
38Kiona Crabbé (Bel) 0:07:45
39Julie Brouwers (Bel) 0:08:08
40Lucia Bramati (Ita)
41Clea Seidel (Ger)
42Tereza Vaníčková (Cze)
43Taylor Kuyk-White (USA)
44Jacqueline Schneebeli (Swi)
45Eliška Hanáková (Cze)
46Barbora Jeřábková (Cze)
47Lea Bonnafous (Fra)
48Kateřina Hladíková (Cze)
49Vanda Dlasková (Cze)
50Marta Beti Perez (Spa)
51Maria Modenes Garcia De Motiloa (Spa)
52Lauren Molengraaf (Ned)
53Layla Barthels (Lux)
54Maïté Barthels (Lux)
55Jennifer Malik (USA)
56Corey Coogan Cisek (USA)
57Laura Maria Mira Juarez (Spa)
DNFAnna Kay (GBr)
DNSJudith Krahl (Ger)

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