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Worst comes off best at European Cyclo-cross Championships

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The podiunm [L-R] Marianne Vos, Annemarie Worst and Denise Betsema

The podiunm [L-R] Marianne Vos, Annemarie Worst and Denise Betsema
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Annemarie Worst rides down a sandy descent

Annemarie Worst rides down a sandy descent
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Dutch took all three spots on the carousel

The Dutch took all three spots on the carousel
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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It was a battle of the Dutch and the Belgians

It was a battle of the Dutch and the Belgians
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Annemarie Worst leads the way through the sand

Annemarie Worst leads the way through the sand
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Annemarie Worst checks over her shoulder to make sure she really has won

Annemarie Worst checks over her shoulder to make sure she really has won
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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All smiles from Annemarie Worst on the podium

All smiles from Annemarie Worst on the podium
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The podium in the elite women's race at the UEC Cyclo-cross Championships

The podium in the elite women's race at the UEC Cyclo-cross Championships
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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It was an all-Dutch podium

It was an all-Dutch podium
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Loes Sels crosses the line

Loes Sels crosses the line
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Ellen Van Loy finishes after a strong showing

Ellen Van Loy finishes after a strong showing
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Sanne Cant had to settle for fourth

Sanne Cant had to settle for fourth
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Marianne Vos breathes deep after pushing hard on the final lap

Marianne Vos breathes deep after pushing hard on the final lap
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Annemarie Worst wins the elite women's race

Annemarie Worst wins the elite women's race
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Annemarie Worst soloed to victory

Annemarie Worst soloed to victory
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Sanne Cant on a descent

Sanne Cant on a descent
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Marianne Vos makes her way down a descent

Marianne Vos makes her way down a descent
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Annemarie Worst on the attack

Annemarie Worst on the attack
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Denise Betsema looked comfortable riding in the sandpits

Denise Betsema looked comfortable riding in the sandpits
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
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Annemarie Worst with her new European champion's jersey

Annemarie Worst with her new European champion's jersey
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Annemarie Worst led home a dominant Dutch team at the UEC Cyclo-cross Championships on Sunday, winning her first major title at the elite level. The 22-year-old beat her heavily decorated compatriot Marianne Vos, with Denise Betsema making it an all-Dutch podium.

Defending champion Sanne Cant (Belgium) battled hard but could not break the Dutch stronghold and had to settle for fourth place.

"I can’t believe it, it was such a hard race," Worst said afterwards. "In the final three laps I was riding in the first place and every lap I was trying to get away. In one of the last laps, I went and I thought I had to go all the way."

There were some cameo appearances from other nations, but the elite women’s race at the UEC Cyclo-cross Championships would prove to be a competition between the Netherlands and Belgium. The race would be contested over five laps of a challenging circuit that hardly gave the riders a chance to catch their breath.

Ellen Van Loy (Belgium) got off to a strong start and distanced the rest of the pack, with Luxembourg’s Christine Majerus the only rider that could hold onto her early on. Van Loy would continue to drive the pace as a battle raged behind her. Majerus lost ground as the first lap continued and slipped back.

Heading into the second lap, Van Loy was still in the lead but she now had the company of Worst, Cant and Vos. Before long, Loes Sels (Belgium) would make it five at the front of the race with a group of eight chasing behind. Betsema and Laura Verdonschot (Belgium) attacked from the chase group later on lap two but only Betsema had the legs to make contact with the leaders.

The technical part of the course was difficult, even for the most experienced, and mistakes forced several of the riders in the lead group to keep in touch. Worst seemed one of the most comfortable, and she used the technical section to launch her move on the penultimate lap. Helped by her teammate Betsema leaving a small gap, Worst built up what proved to be a crucial advantage.

It was here that the Dutch dominance began to show as they chased down their teammate. After being on the front right from the start, Van Loy lost touch with the chasing group, as did Sels, who was one of those who had yo-yoed off the back earlier in the race.

Cant was the only member of the Belgian team that could stay with the Dutch, but the world champion and last year’s winner also struggled to keep up. Worst’s gap was never big, and she had just nine seconds on those behind as she began the final lap. That would be reduced to just two seconds as two-time European Champion Vos tracked her down.

However, Worst had done enough and she was able to sit up and celebrate as she crossed the line. Betsema gave Vos a run for her money in the sprint but the elder of the two held her own to take the silver. 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Annemarie Worst (Netherlands)0:40:24
2Marianne Vos (Netherlands)0:00:02
3Denise Betsema (Netherlands)
4Sanne Cant (Belgium)0:00:10
5Ellen Van Loy (Belgium)0:00:31
6Loes Sels (Belgium)0:00:37
7Alice Maria Arzuffi (Italy)0:01:08
8Nikki Brammeier (Great Britain)0:01:16
9Helen Wyman (Great Britain)0:01:21
10Laura Verdonschot (Belgium)0:01:26
11Kim Van De Steene (Belgium)0:01:28
12Pavla Havlíková (Czech Republic)0:01:36
13Maud Kaptheijns (Netherlands)0:02:13
14Karla Štěpánová (Czech Republic)0:02:23
15Lizzy Witlox (Netherlands)0:02:37
16Christine Majerus (Luxembourg)0:02:53
17Rebecca Gariboldi (Italy)0:02:58
18Zina Barhoumi (Switzerland)0:02:59
19Geerte Hoeke (Netherlands)0:03:29
20Bethany Crumpton (Great Britain)0:03:52
21Stefanie Paul (Germany)0:03:53
22Nadja Heigl (Austria)0:04:04
23Ida Erngren (Sweden)0:04:05
24Viktoria Smidth Knudsen (Denmark)0:04:55
DNFKristina Thrane (Denmark)

 

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