by Mathias Dewaelsche
The penultimate race of the 2018/19 Superprestige series took place today in the Flemish town of Hoogstraten. With two races left in the series heading into Sunday, the race called Aardbeiencross (Strawberry Cross) was set to play a key role in the series overall.
In the classification, Sanne Cant (IKO – Beobank) only had a one-point advantage on European champion Annemarie Worst (Steylaerts – 777), who won the first race of the Superprestige in the Dutch town of Gieten. Cant won the last two races in the Belgian towns of Zonhoven and Diegem. The other three Superprestige races of the season were won by Kim Van de Steene (Tarteletto – Isorex), Marianne Vos (CCC – Liv) and Alice Maria Arzuffi (Steylaerts – 777).
When the Elite Women hit the start line in Hoogstraten, it appeared the muddy track with tricky descents and off-cambers was going to be a feast for the mud devils of the ’cross peloton.
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon – Circus) was the woman with the head start today in an eventful first lap. Halfway into the first circuit, she had a little gap along with Worst and Betsema. Cant tried to close the gap and succeeded.
“In the start, I clicked out of my pedal, but on the first hill, I found the perfect rut and I went from position 25 to position 8. Then I went all in to close the gap with the leading group,” Cant told Telenet after the race. (translated)
In a descent, Betsema made a mistake which made her come to a standstill and caused her to lose touch with Cant, Worst and Alvardo. In the same descent where Betsema made a mistake, another rider braked too hard and crashed head first, showing how challenging the muddy course was on Sunday afternoon.
In the latter half of the first lap, Alvarado could no longer keep up with the pace of Cant and Worst, leaving the lead selection at two heading into the second of five laps. In the meantime, Sels passed Betsema, and in the second lap, the Belgian joined Alvarado in the chase for third and then left her behind.
The muddy conditions on the Hoogstraten course quickly started to clog up bikes, and a Cant bike swap in Pit 2 of Lap 2 allowed Worst to take a little advantage and allowed Sels to close closer to Cant. In a little uphill, however, Sels got stuck at the track’s edge, which lost her valuable time and allowed Betsema to make it a chase of two for third. In the third lap, Alvarado also closed the gap with Sels.
Midway through the race, the two riders battling at the front were the European Champion Worst and the World Champion Cant. Towards the end of the third lap, Cant raised the pace on her Dutch rival. Worst was clearly having a hard time and dropped to three seconds behind at the end of the third lap. In the meantime, Betsema dropped Sels and Alvarado and sat 13 seconds in arrears of Cant.
With conditions continuing to deteriorate, it was not smooth sailing for Cant. In the penultimate lap, she stumbled on one of the track’s stairs, which allowed Worst to rejoin her again. At the end of the fourth lap, the leading duo had an eight-second advantage on Betsema.
As she often does, Cant went all-in at the beginning of the last lap. Worst, just as earlier, could not keep up with Cant’s pace. The stairs, where it did not go well the lap before, went well for Cant in the last lap.
The World Champion took her second win of the weekend with the muddy Hoogstraten victory. Worst finished second on 10 seconds and Betsema third on 14 seconds.
Vorige week nog op het hoogste schavotje van het WK podium, vandaag op dat van Hoogstraten: @Sannecant wint de Superprestige cyclocross in Hoogstraten en verstevigt haar leidersplaats! 🏆 #SPHoogstraten #Superprestige2019 pic.twitter.com/WSe1UknuLH
— SuperprestigeCX (@SuperprestigeCX) February 10, 2019
Cant, who took her 11th win of the season today, only has a two-point advantage on Worst, so it is the race next week in Middelkerke that will determine who will win the Superprestige overall trophy.
Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) finished 15th, Erica Zaveta (Garneau – Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare) 23rd, Emily Werner (Amy D. Foundation) 31st, Corey Coogan Cisek (Amy D. Foundation) 35th and Rebecca Gross (Zero D Racing) 45th.
Full results are below.
Featured image: Jeff Curtes
Elite Women Results: 2019 Superprestige Hoogstraten
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|5||31||ALVARADO||Ceylin del Carmen||NED||0:42:53|
|8||34||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Inge||NED||0:43:24|
|37||68||VAN DER ZWAAN||Laura||NED||0:49:35|
|42||46||VAN WUNSEL||Lise||BEL||-1 LAP|
|43||38||PARAJON FUENTES||Maria||ESP||-1 LAP|
|50||28||DE VOS||Nele||BEL||-2 LAPS|