At the 2019 UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Pont-Château, France, Marianne Vos (CCC – LIV) put together a textbook performance to take the win and seal her first overall UCI Cyclocross World Cup title.
From her sprint to secure the holeshot and escape first-lap chaos, to her patient, follow-the-attacks approach in later laps, ending with a jaw-dropping acceleration in the last half lap, Vos always looked confident and in control.
Focused on a full Cyclocross World Cup season for the first time, Vos locked up the overall title in her first attempt.
Compton Crashes a Dutch Party
Fast, pack racing was the theme early on. Vos rocketed off the starting straight, drawing out her compatriots, with Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) and Annemarie Worst (Steylearts 777) lining up behind. Katie Compton (KFC Racing – Trek – Knight) attempted to break up the party, slotting in third before Worst squeezed by.
At the end of lap one, no less than 13 racers were in the lead group, with a long line of chasers just seconds behind.
Compton looked every bit of her World Cup title-winning self early on, and by lap two, and seized control of the front of the race. She would have more company though, with the Dutch trio turning into a fivesome with a quick-climbing Denise Betsema (Marlux Bingoal) and Maud Kaptheijns (Team Charles) joining the front group.
Alice Maria Arzuffi (Steylearts 777) and Ellen van Loy (Telenet Fidea) added to the front group’s firepower, while Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) dangled a few seconds behind.
With five Dutch in the leading group, it looked like a safe bet that a Dutchwoman would emerge a winner.
Compton wasn’t content to increase their chances through an easy Sunday ride, however, and pushed the pace on her way to set the fastest second lap.
A Trio Tries Its Luck
The lead group started to splinter on lap four, when Yara Kastelijn (Steylearts 777) crashed into the barriers on the downhill, destroying her rear wheel, and holding up Van Loy and Van der Heijden (CCC – LIV) in the process.
Dutch stars Kaptheijns, Betsema and Vos got a gap on lap four, and started to put distance on Arzuffi, Worst, Alvarado, Compton and Van Loy.
Kaptheijns powered away at the front of the group, while Vos was content to sit on. However, she wasn’t willing to do all the work. She angrily motioned for the others to pull through. Vos remained behind. Would their infighting cost the trio its lead?
Betsema obliged and took a pull, increasing the chances of a Dutch sweep of the podium. Behind, Alvarado and Worst were ready to make it a wide-angle podium sweep.
Acceleration and Step-Through to Victory
With a little more than two laps to go, Kaptheijns’ pace-setting effort caught up to her. She was gapped after Vos took to the front, sprinting into the barriers, perhaps testing her last-lap plan.
With Kaptheijns dropped, the the day’s victory looked to be settled between Betsema, this season’s surprise star and arguably the most accomplished cyclist ever.
Kaptheijns wasn’t done yet, and heading into the sixth lap, reconnected with the leaders. She would drive the pace for much of the penultimate lap, until the series of stairs and barriers snapped the elastic for good.
Vos, with her sprinting prowess, seemed in no hurry to lead in the final lap, but entering the final set of barriers, the World Cup leader uncorked a wicked acceleration, showed off her old-school step-through dismount, and sprinted away from the planks and Betsema.
There would be no final straight sprint finish. Vos had plenty of time. She took off her glasses and unveiled her excitement with yet another cyclocross victory.
This one was special.
“The goal for today was to do really well in the individual race, I’m happy I could win, and in the meantime take the overall,” said Vos after her win.
Vos revealed her plan for the course. “The speed is so high because it’s so fast and dry,” she explained. “And there are a lot of up and downs, which makes it tricky, but that’s cyclocross. It’s very hard because you have two very steep uphill slopes and then you have the planks. So I was going for dead and to make a final move there. I knew I had to have a solid gap.”
Vos can now add World Cup overall winner to her endless list of accomplishments, and has a solid gap over others atop the greatest ever list.
Will another rainbow jersey be next?
- The Dutch also dominated the U23 Women’s podium, with Alvarado, Nagengast and Van der Heijden taking the top three spots.
- One fast, downhill left turn was particularly challenging, with several riders crashing into the fencing.
- A number of North American-based racers took the start. Here’s how they finished:
N. American-based racers at @UCI_CX #TelenetUCICXWC #PontChateau:
11. Kaitie Keough
23. Clara Honsinger
— Cyclocross Magazine (@cyclocross) January 20, 2019
2019 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Pont Chateau Results: Elite Women
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Age||Result|
|4||16||ALVARADO||Ceylin del Carmen||NED||21||0:47:50|
|9||20||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Inge||NED||20||0:48:16|