by Mathias Dewaelsche
Today was the last race for the Superprestige trophy in the Belgian coastal city of Middelkerke.
If World Champion Sanne Cant (Iko Beobank) would finish three places behind European Champion Annemarie Worst (Steylaerts-777), she would lose the Superprestige overall.
The odds, though, were in favor of Cant, who already won five times in the Noordzeecross (translated: North Sea cross), which is Belgian’s oldest cross with a sixtieth consecutive edition.
A challenging track with strips of mud and sand, little hills and an off-camber would determine whether Cant or Worst would win the Superprestige trophy.
U23 World Champion Inge van der Heijden (CCC Liv) sprinted to the holeshot. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon Corendon) followed in second position, with Cant third. Worst, who knew she had to finish three places before Cant, soon passed Cant.
The first strip of sand turned out to be a running strip, since it was freshly groomed before the start of the race.
In the following muddy section, the positions changed. Van der Heijden kept the lead, but Cant moved into second and Denise Betsema (Marlux Bingoal) third.
A hill followed by an off-camber presented van der Heijden with some difficulty, and she would lose time on the section and see her chances for victory ride away.
Cant, on the other hand, took both obstacles perfectly and opened up a gap.
Worst, who was in position fifth, changed bikes in the second pit area and was passed by Loes Sels (Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice).
Cant ended the first of five laps in the lead, with Betsema and Alvarado chasing. Worst was already 23 seconds behind. Were her title chances over?
In the first long sand strip, the three leaders had to run. The chasers at that point in the race were Van der Heijden and Sels. Worst, in the meantime, started to fade and was passed by Kastelijn, and then Verdonschot and Italian champion Lechner. It wasn’t going well for Worst, who hurt herself and was showing blood on her right calf.
At the front of the race, Betsema applied the pressure, drawing out Alvarado. At the end of the second lap, Cant was eight seconds in arrears behind the two Dutch leaders. Worst ended that second lap in 9th position on 59 seconds.
Betsema kept the pace high in the third lap, eventually shedding Alvarado. At the end of the thrid lap, Alvarado was 18 seconds behind.
Cant and Sels were in third and fourth position, at 27 and 48 seconds, respectively.
Worst’s title chances were over, as she was two minutes behind, riding with Van der Heijden. The U23 World Champion was fading after a strong start.
The bronze medal of that U23 World Championship, Alvarado, on the other hand, was riding very strong today. At the end of the fourth lap, she was 35 seconds behind on Betsema. Cant, who was chasing at 64 seconds, was about to be joined by her cousin Sels.
At the beginning of the last lap, Betsema had time to in hand to start celebrating a dream come true. The only 24-year-old took her 12th win of the season and finished third in the Superprestige standings.
Alvarado finished second on 45 seconds and took the U23 women Superprestige trophy.
Sels finished third on 1 minute 9 seconds. Cant finished fourth to take the Superprestige trophy and overall title.
European Champion Worst finished eighth and ended second in the Superprestige.
“In the beginning of the season, I dreamed of a first win in the Superprestige. I did it in the end,” Betsema said after her victory in Middelkerke (translated).
With this dream realized, she’s sure to rest easy tonight and dream of even bigger success for next season.
Four Americans took the start at Noordzeecross Middelkerke, with Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) in 13th, Erica Zaveta (Louis Garneau Easton Transitions p/b LifeCare) in 17th, Corey Coogan Cisek (Amy D. Foundation) in 22nd and Rebecca Gross in 30th.
Photo gallery below the results.
2019 Telenet Superprestige Noordzeecross Middelkerke Results: Elite Women
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||UCI Team||Age||Result|
|1||21||BETSEMA||Denise||NED||MARLUX - BINGOAL||26||0:45:13|
|2||31||ALVARADO||Ceylin del Carmen||NED||CORENDON - CIRCUS||21||0:45:58|
|3||25||SELS||Loes||BEL||PAUWELS SAUZEN - VASTGOEDSERVICE||34||0:46:22|
|4||1||CANT||Sanne||BEL||CORENDON - CIRCUS||29||0:46:29|
|5||10||VERDONSCHOT||Laura||BEL||MARLUX - BINGOAL||23||0:47:04|
|6||2||LECHNER||Eva||ITA||CREAFIN TÜV SUD||34||0:47:17|
|7||42||KASTELIJN||Yara||NED||STEYLAERTS - 777||22||0:48:02|
|8||7||WORST||Annemarie||NED||STEYLAERTS - 777||24||0:48:19|
|9||34||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Inge||NED||20||0:48:41|
|11||32||NAGENGAST||Fleur||NED||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||21||0:49:04|
|12||6||ARZUFFI||Alice Maria||ITA||STEYLAERTS - 777||25||0:49:22|
|17||51||ZAVETA||Erica||USA||GARNEAU-EASTON p/b TRANSITIONS LIFECARE||30||0:52:06|
|18||43||PEETERS||Jinse||BEL||PAUWELS SAUZEN - VASTGOEDSERVICE||20||0:52:16|
|19||33||TRUYEN||Marthe||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||20||0:52:33|
|22||13||COOGAN CISEK||Corey||USA||42||-1 LAP|
|28||24||VAN DE PUTTE||Kim||BEL||35||-2 LAPS|
|29||48||DE WILDE||Julie||BEL||17||-2 LAPS|
|31||49||PARAJON FUENTES||Maria||ESP||17||-2 LAPS|
|33||47||VAN LOY||Tess||BEL||18||-3 LAPS|
|5||VAN LOY||Ellen||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||39||DNF|