Even European cyclocross cannot escape a “grass crit” cyclocross race from time to time.
On a very dry, very fast afternoon in Hamme at the Flandriencross DVV Trofee / Sack Zelfbouw Ladies Trophy race, eight women entered the last lap together. Eight minutes later, it ended with a group sprint.
Alice Maria Arzuffi (Steylaerts – 777) took the lead at the end of Lap 4 and led most of the bell lap. As the riders exited the series of 180-degree off-cambers and headed toward the open straight along the pond, it was clear that positioning entering the rip-n-ride section in the woods was going to be of utmost importance.
Arzuffi’s teammate Annemarie Worst (Steylaerts – 777) moved up a spot to second and tried to pass Arzuffi, Sanne Cant (IKO – Beobank) made a strong move past Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions) to move into third.
The stage was set for an exciting finish.
Arzuffi hit the finishing straight first, but Worst powered past her to get the jump on the sprint. Cant tried to chase Worst’s wheel, but the Dutchwoman’s timing was too good for the world champion to overcome.
Group racing produced a group sprint, and Worst finished as the best.
The exciting finish in Hamme left the riders wishing they could have one more lap to race. Worst’s finishing time was 39:06, which was below the “40 to 50 minutes” required by UCI rules. After Saturday’s race finished in 40:19, one of the riders made note of the issue that has risen to prominence at the 2017 Namur and 2016 Jingle Cross World Cups. More in the notes below.
Pack it Up, Pack it in
In this season where there has seemingly been a different winner each race in the Elite Women’s field, the one thing that has been consistent is fast starts from Van Loy and Eva Lechner (Cerafin TUV Sud). Van Loy took the holeshot, and then midway through the lap, Lechner moved into first.
Conditions in Hamme were very dry and fast, allowing riders to line up one-by-one behind the early leaders. A long train of riders snaked its way through the 180-degree off-cambers and up and down the mountain-bike-esque rip-n-ride section through the woods.
After one lap, nine riders were in the lead group. Five more were within a few seconds.
In the second lap, Cant moved to the front and did her best to break up the massive lead group.
Her efforts were successful, and by the midpoint of Lap 2, there was a bit of split. Cant, Worst, Van Loy, Laura Verdonschot (Marlux – Bingoal) and Loes Sels (Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice) made the selection. Arzuffi closed the gap at the off-cambers, and at the end of the lap, Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight) and Lechner were within striking distance as well.
At the start of Lap 3 of 5, Compton and Lechner attached to the group. It was now eight and would stay that way almost to the end.
— DVV Trofee (@DVVtrofee) November 18, 2018
A Group Finish
Sels led the way through the rip-n-ride section at the end of Lap 3 and kept the lead for much of Lap 4. Arzuffi took the lead spot shortly before the technical section in the woods and crossed the line at the bell leading a blob of eight riders.
It was a similar situation to Saturday’s World Cup Tabor before Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) blew the group apart with her powerful attack on the embankment. Sunday’s course seemingly lacked such a section—and the field lacked Brand as well.
Arzuffi led the way through the first half of the course. Before the 180 off-cambers, Worst moved up into second, knowing that positioning was going to be key to the race finish.
After exiting the 180 off-cambers, riders turned onto a long straight along a pond before entering the rip-n-ride in the woods. There was a sense of urgency through the section, as Worst tried her best to pass Arzuffi for a clear look at the technical section, and Cant made a strong pass of Van Loy at the entrance to the rip-n-ride.
Entering the woods, it was Arzuffi then Worst then Cant then Van Loy. Save a mistake from a rider, there was no room to make a pass in the woods, so this would be the order entering the final sprint.
Arzuffi popped out onto the pavement first, but it was quickly apparent she did not have the pop for the sprint.
Worst, however, did.
Worst quickly accelerated past her teammate and powered down the finishing straight. Cant was on her wheel entering the pavement, but Worst’s timing gave her enough space on Cant to guarantee her win.
Worst took the win with a time of 39:06. Cant crossed in second, and Van Loy topped Arzuffi at the line to take third.
— DVV Trofee (@DVVtrofee) November 18, 2018
Compton finished 7th, and Elle Anderson (Milwaukee – Alpha Motorhomes) took 16th.
“I think it’s a pity that we only have 40 minutes in the last races.”
“We try to get the equality with the men, the prize money is being raised, but they leave us 20 minutes shorter.”
“Today they could have driven us for a lap longer, the rules are between 40 and 50 minutes, today we drive for 39 minutes and we do not even get the rules. With an extra lap that would have been successful. “
“Today it was 7 to 8 minutes, I think it’s easy to get a round in. If we spin 10 minutes, I understand that it’s hard to count, but this cannot be that difficult, I think.“
Full results are below.
Featured image: Bart Hazen
Elite Women's Results: 2018 Flandriencross Hamme
|14||13||VAN DE STEENE||Kim||BEL||0:40:07|
|19||27||VAN DER BURG||Esther||NED||0:41:31|
|39||37||DE ROECK||Naomi||BEL||-1 LAP|