After a thrilling final lap, world champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-Beobank) captured 100th career victory at the seventh Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup round in Heusden-Zolder (Belgium) on Boxing Day.
Cant held off US champion Katie Compton (KFC Racing) and Italian champion Eva Lechner (CLIF Pro Team) on a fast, dry course at the former F1 car racing circuit. After her win, Cant was asked about how she felt about her 100th 'cross victory.
“Very happy. Last week, I didn’t make it. I really would’ve liked to win here. The spectators were just amazing, so I really wanted to win. It’s a World Cup in my hometown. It’s the most beautiful place to take it,” Cant said in the post-race flash interview.
With only two more rounds left in the World Cup, the overall win is nearly in the pocket for Cant, who has 489 points and extends her lead to 113 points over Kaitlin Keough (Canondale-Cyclocrossworld.com). Keough finished a distant 16th place in Zolder.
After a good start, Cant was always in control of the race, even though other riders took the initiative early on. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) and Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions) exchanged the lead position during the two first laps. Brand briefly gapped the rest of the field, but the Dutch rider was unable to hold on to her lead.
Six riders rode in the front group during the second lap, including Brand, Van Loy, Cant, Lechner and also Marianne Vos (WM3) with Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans). Compton, Katerina Nash (CLIF Pro Team), Keough, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Canyon Factory Racing) and Sophie de Boer (Breepark.nl) all had a slower start.
Only Compton was able to bounce back and bridge back up to the lead group at the beginning of the third lap. Lechner accelerated and reduced the numbers in the front group. Cant and Compton marked Lechner, with the rest of the field at short distance. Nevertheless, the top-three at that point of the race would be the top-three at the finish.
Cant accelerated in the technical part at the back end of the course and hit the penultimate lap with a advantage of five seconds on Compton and Lechner. Cant was caught back by Compton and Lechner, while Van Loy, Brand Vos and Laura Verdonschot (Marlux-Napoleon Games) were at short distance.
“I tried to break the group apart because in a big group you’ve got to fight too much for position," Cant said. "During the penultimate lap I tried to ride away. I had a good section and got a small lead. Two laps was too much to stay away alone. That’s why I held back and dived back into the wheels."
On a steep short climb, Van Loy stumbled and blocked Brand, Vos and Verdonschot. Compton, Lechner and Cant hit the final lap with a gap of 12 seconds on the four chasers.
During the final lap, Compton and Lechner fought for the lead position while Cant was biding her time at the back. At the off-camber section, the world champion accelerated a first time but Lechner moved back into the lead. At the set of stairs, Lechner stumbled and Cant and Compton charged forward. On the following steep climb, Cant created a small gap by riding up the obstacle while her rivals were running.
The gaps were very small on the following short climbs but Cant remained in the lead position. She hammered down the final descent towards the long finishing straight and held on to her lead. World champion Cant released a scream of joy and clinched a first in the air.
Compton was content with second place, ahead of Lechner. Ferrand-Prévot rode the fastest lap of the pack in the final lap and captured a surprising fourth place. Vos won the sprint for fifth place ahead of Brand, Verdonschot and Van Loy. Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles) was ninth. Mountain bike star Jolanda Neff (Kross Racing Team) closed out the top-10 at 36 seconds.
The next World Cup round will be in Nommay (France) on January 21.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne Cant (Bel)||0:42:24|
|2||Katherine Compton (USA)||0:00:03|
|3||Eva Lechner (Ita)||0:00:07|
|4||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra)||0:00:16|
|5||Marianne Vos (Ned)||0:00:24|
|6||Lucinda Brand (Ned)|
|7||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)|
|8||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)|
|9||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned)||0:00:26|
|10||Jolanda Neff (Swi)||0:00:36|
|11||Nikki Brammeier (GBr)||0:00:38|
|12||Annemarie Worst (Ned)||0:00:53|
|13||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||0:01:05|
|14||Katerina Nash (Cze)||0:01:19|
|15||Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Ned)||0:01:32|
|16||Kaitlin Keough (USA)||0:01:39|
|17||Christel Ferrier Bruneau (Can)||0:01:54|
|18||Emma White (USA)||0:02:04|
|19||Christine Majerus (Lux)||0:02:05|
|20||Kim Van De Steene (Bel)||0:02:09|
|21||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa)|
|22||Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned)||0:02:28|
|23||Fleur Nagengast (Ned)||0:02:33|
|24||Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)||0:02:41|
|25||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)|
|26||Maghalie Rochette (Can)|
|27||Helen Wyman (GBr)||0:02:50|
|28||Pavla Havlíková (Cze)||0:02:53|
|29||Jolien Verschueren (Bel)||0:02:58|
|30||Nadja Heigl (Aut)|
|31||Rebecca Fahringer (USA)||0:03:02|
|32||Elle Anderson (USA)||0:03:03|
|33||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:03:19|
|34||Sunny Gilbert (USA)||0:03:25|
|35||Caroline Mani (Fra)||0:03:34|
|36||Anna Kay (GBr)||0:03:39|
|37||Sophie De Boer (Ned)||0:03:50|
|38||Jade Wiel (Fra)||0:03:52|
|39||Audrey Menut (Fra)||0:04:07|
|40||Adéla Šafárová (Cze)||0:04:24|
|41||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra)||0:04:34|
|42||Pauline Delhaye (Fra)||0:04:40|
|43||Ida Jansson (Swe)||0:04:50|
|44||Tereza Vanícková (Cze)||0:05:11|
|45||Manon Bakker (Ned)||0:05:23|
|46||Emily Wadsworth (GBr)||0:05:42|
|47||Irene Trabazo Bragado (Spa)||0:05:45|
|48||Fanny Stumpf (Fra)||0:06:05|
|49||Kata Blanka Vas (Hun)||0:06:13|
|50||Jennifer Malik (USA)||0:06:18|
|51||Magdeleine Vallieres Mill (Can)||0:06:22|
|52||Lisa Heckmann (Ger)||0:06:38|
|53||Natalie Redmond (Aus)||0:07:16|
|54||Ida Erngren (Swe)||0:07:19|
|55||Kamila Janu (Cze)||0:07:51|
|56||Amira Mellor (GBr)||0:08:09|
|57||Elizabeth Ungermanová (Cze)||0:08:21|
|58||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA)||0:08:33|
|59||Helena Coney (Can)||0:08:42|
|DNF||Stacey Riedel (Aus)|
|DNF||Marlene Petit (Fra)|
|DNF||Kristina Thrane (Den)|
|DNS||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)|
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