SINT-NIKLAAS, Belgium—The 2016 Soudal Classics series continued today under gray skies and in the sand of Sint-Niklaas. While several top racers including Thalita de Jong and Sophie de Boer were missing from the event, Belgian National Champion Sanne Cant (IKO Enertherm-Beobank), 2016 Koppenbergcross winner Jolien Verschueren (Telenet-Fidea Lions) and Elle Anderson (Elle Anderson Racing) were present and ready for battle.

Cant, renowned for her skills in the sand as shown in her dominant win at Superprestige Zonhoven, took to the front and looked ready to ride away with the win, stretching out a massive lead early on in the race. Sandy races typically have big time gaps, with sand racers able to ride sections at speed with others trudging along on foot, and today looked to be no exception. (See the video highlights timed to show key moments below).

Cant was looking for redemption, after her fifth place at the Koppebergcross on a course she described in our interview as “a very special course, a lot of uphill, not my favorite thing.”

The deep, long sand sections certainly took their toll, turning running sections into walks for some, including Ellen van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions).

Van Loy’s teammate, full-time school teacher Verschueren, riding on a high from her A+ Koppenbergcross report card, was determined and clawed Cant back and immediately moved to the front to put the pressure on Cant.

Verschueren looked to be the superior runner, and Cant appeared to be in trouble, but all it took was one late surge by Cant in the sand that sent Verschueren fishtailing, dabbing, and wondering what could have been.

Behind, Laura Verdonschot (Marlux-Napoleon Games) was the best of the rest in third, finishing 1:46 behind, while Anderson had a strong ride to finish fourth.

2016 Soudal Classics - Sint-Niklaas Results: Elite Women

1Sanne CantIKO Enertherm-Beobank00:40:31
2Jolien VerschuerenTelenet-Fidea Lions00:00:06
3Laura VerdonschotMarlux-Napoleon Games00:01:46
4Elle AndersonElle Anderson Racing00:02:09
5Ellen Van LoyTelenet-Fidea Lions00:02:21
6Joyce VanderbekenAA Drink-Kalas00:02:38
7Loes SelsTelenet-Fidea Lions00:02:47
8Geerte Hoeke00:02:49
9Maud KaptheijnsTeam Steylaerts00:02:59
10Bianca Van Den Hoek00:03:05
11Githa Michiels00:03:36
12Shana MaesAA Drink-Kalas00:04:46
13Lindy Van Anrooij00:04:54
14Pauline Delhaye00:05:07