by Chris Bagg
LOENHOUT, BELGIUM—On a course more cross-country and BMX than cyclocross, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Marianne Vos (Nederland-Bloeit) distanced their rivals on the way to victory. Albert, coming back from a wrist injury, and Vos, following a fuller cyclocross program after her traditional break from the road season, dominated their respective fields today in muddy, technical conditions.
Racers seemed to be off their bicycles more often than on them, on a heavy course with many run-ups, mud pits, staircases, and unrideable sections. Albert looked smooth and collected on his way to the win, taking advantage of a Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) crash to attack and ride away from a group that included Zdenek Stybar (Quickstep) and Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea). Albert went away and the riveting race was for second, between Stybar and, amazingly, Nys, who had to run his bike to the pits before charging back up into the chase. Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) didn’t factor in to the second half of the race, perhaps displaying some tired legs from his World Cup win over the weekend. He finished sixth. Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea), on the other hand, left his teammate Wellens in the closing laps and almost bridged back up to Nys and Stybar, who came onto the pavement together. Stybar started his sprint early but managed to pop Nys, who surrendered quickly, exhausted from his chase.
In the women’s race, Vos won by more than a minute, also taking advantage of carnage back in the chasing group. Gabby Day (Renner Custom Cyclocross Team), Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink), Sanne Cant (BOXX) and Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) all tangled when Day dabbed at the top of a small run-up. It’s doubtful that Vos’ huge margin came from that one mishap, but her ability to ride smoothly over these winter Belgian courses is the difference between her and the rest of the women. Vos even had time to catch a little air on her way to the finish, landing the jump gracefully.
Elite Men’s Results
|13||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED|
|19||Egoitz MURGOITIO REKALDE||ESP|
|24||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL|
|27||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED|
|34||Tom VAN DEN BOSCH||BEL|
|36||Eddy VAN IJZENDOORN||NED|
|54||Steven VAN VOOREN||BEL|
Elite Women’s Results
1 Marianne VOS NED 2 Daphny VAN DEN BRAND NED 3 Sanne CANT BEL 4 Nikki HARRIS GBR 5 Sophie DE BOER NED 6 Gabriella DAY GBR 7 Sanne VAN PAASSEN NED 8 Pauline FERRAND PREVOT FRA 9 Pavla HAVLIKOVA CZE 10 Reza HORMES NED 11 Arenda GRIMBERG NED 12 Sabrina STULTIENS NED 13 Lana VERBERNE NED 14 Martina MIKULASKOVA CZE 15 Iris OCKELOEN NED 16 Tessa VAN NIEUWPOORT NED 17 Nikoline HANSEN DEN 18 Nicole DE BIE - LEYTEN BEL 19 Christine VARDAROS USA 20 Katrien THIJS BEL 21 Evy KUIJPERS NED 22 Dirkje BAZUIN NED 23 Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURG DEN 24 Karla _TEPçNOVç CZE 25 Anja NOBUS BEL 26 Sarah STEWART CAN 27 Shana MAES BEL 28 Monique VAN DE REE NED 29 Caren COMMISSARIS BEL 30 Lisa HECKMANN GER 31 Anja GELDHOF BEL 32 Marijke DE PAUW BEL 33 Madara FURMANE LAT 34 Keshia VERBEEK BEL 35 Janice GEYSKENS BEL 36 Maaike LANSSENS BEL