Earlier this season, Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) had her supremacy in the sand challenged by Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles). The young Dutch rider took wins at Zonhoven and Koksijde and outdueled Cant in the sand at the Superprestige Niels Albert CX. Cant was shaking off the effects of a stomach illness in October, but she has since recovered and is back riding like the defending World Champion.
On Saturday under the lights at Superprestige Diegem, Cant reestablished her spot as queen of the sand pit. After two and a half laps of fending off attacks from Kaptheijns and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon SRAM). Cant’s silky smooth sand skills made the difference.
In the third of five laps, she entered the sand pit first and glided through. Behind her, Ferrand-Prevot dismounted halfway in and had to run out. Cant had a gap, but with several technical features and muddy sections in the last part of the lap, she had to wait to exploit it with a big effort. Her lead was six seconds with two to go, and then inside the penultimate lap she upped the pressure.
Seemingly tired from the blistering first half of the race, Kaptheijns and Ferrand-Prevot faded while Cant only got stronger. Cant soloed the second half of the race to take home her latest victory. Unofficially it was her 12th of the season, but her first in the Telenet Superprestige series.
Fast Action Under the Lights
The beginning of the circuit at Diegem can be chaotic and getting out to a fast start is a must for riders with podium ambitions. Traffic got tangled in a series of 180s and then riders had to navigate a treacherous, oft-muddy off-camber. One rider who got out to a hot start was Kaptheijns. She grabbed the holeshot and then ripped off the front after the off-camber. Laura Verdonschot (Marlux-Napoleon Games), who will be one of the favorites in the U23 at Worlds a month from now, followed her off the front.
After having to come back from bad grid spots during her comeback, Ferrand-Prevot scored a second-row starting spot. She took advantage of the good starting spot to get into the lead chase group early on.
Kaptheijns eventually got chased down by a group that included Ferrand-Prevot, Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling), Annemarie Worst (ERA-Circus), Cant and Verdonschot. The young Dutch rider again got off the front when Vos tipped over at the end of the sand pit. It was already a tough day at the office for the seven-time World Champion.
Early in the second lap, Kaptheijns again kept the pressure on. As she did when Lucinda Brand attacked early on at Zolder, Cant was more than happy to follow. The chase splintered and Ferrand-Prevot eventually bridged to the front. Kaptheijns had her work cut out for her, surrounded by two world champions. Was she afraid though? No, no she was not.
The attacks from Kaptheijns and Ferrand-Prevot were frequent during the next trip around the long nine-plus minute lap. Cant seemed content to let her two mates in the lead selection throw down the attacks and tire themselves out. For now the action at the front was exciting, but with the long laps, there was still almost half an hour of racing to go.
Cant Makes Her Move
The third of five laps was Cant’s time to move, even if that move was not necessarily planned. Cant pulled into the first spot next to the soccer fields, shortly before the sand pit. As Sanne Cant does, she glided through the sand pit with relative ease. Sitting second wheel, Ferrand-Prevot was not as smooth. She had to dismount halfway through, holding Kaptheijns up and allowing Cant to get a gap.
Cant looked back and saw she had some space. The last part of the lap featured some technical turns, a slick off-camber and a muddy run, so Cant had to wait to fully commit to her lead. She had six seconds on Kaptheijns with two laps to go.
Sensing that the other two women were tired from the early-race fireworks, Cant started to turn up the heat inside the penultimate lap. She again picked up some time through the sand pit after Ferrand-Prevot again slowed at the exit. Her lead was 15 seconds at the bell.
Cant coasted through the last lap to take home her latest win. Cant has now won 8 of her last 11 races, but Saturday’s race at Diegem was her first Telenet Superprestige win of the season.
Behind Cant, Ferrand-Prevot took over the second spot early in the last lap and pulled away from Kaptheijns.
Elle Anderson (Cycling.be – Alphamotorhomes Ladies) had a solid ride under the lights with a sixth-place finish. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (SAS Macogep Aquisio) finished 13th, Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Racing) 17th, Magdeleine Valleries Mill 30th, Corey Coogan Cisek (The Fix Studio) 46th, Stacey Riedel (ASFRA Racing Team) of Australia 47th, Natalie Tapias (JAM / NCC) 49th, Helena Coney 51st and Siobhan Kelly 52nd.
Women's Results: 2017 Superprestige Diegem
|2||16||FERRAND-PRÉVOT Pauline||FRA||BAZANCOURT REIMS||0h48´43.0"|
|4||4||VERDONSCHOT Laura||BEL||MARLUX - NAPOLEON GAMES||0h49´30.0"|
|5||7||BRAMMEIER Nikki||GBR||BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM||0h49´42.0"|
|6||10||ANDERSON Elle||USA||CYCLING.BE - ALPHAMOTORHOMES C||0h49´54.0"|
|7||6||VERSCHUEREN Jolien||BEL||PAUWELS SAUZEN-VASTGOEDSERVICE||0h49´55.0"|
|8||9||WORST Annemarie||NED||ERA REAL ESTATE - CIRCUS||0h50´13.0"|
|9||15||VOS Marianne||NED||WM3 PRO CYCLING TEAM||0h50´20.0"|
|10||25||VAN DER HEIJDEN Inge||NED||ORANGE BABIES CYCLING TEAM||0h50´39.0"|
|11||8||ARZUFFI Alice Maria||ITA||STEYLAERTS-BETFIRST||0h50´58.0"|
|12||14||NOSKOVA Nikola||CZE||DONEN-VONDELMOLEN CX TEAM||0h51´20.0"|
|13||56||FERRIER BRUNEAU Christel||CAN||CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAM||0h51´36.0"|
|14||57||TERPSTRA Anne||NED||GHOST FACTORY RACING||0h52´00.0"|
|15||3||VAN LOY Ellen||BEL||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||0h52´17.0"|
|16||13||VERHESTRAETEN Karen||BEL||DONEN/VONDELMOLEN CX-TEAM||0h52´24.0"|
|17||50||GILBERT Sunny||USA||VAN DESSEL FACTORY TEAM||0h52´40.0"|
|18||19||KAY Anna||GBR||EDCO CONTINENTAL RACE TEAM||0h52´50.0"|
|19||38||VANDERBEKEN Joyce||BEL||TEAM MAHIEU - KONA - VANDERMEE||0h52´55.0"|
|20||12||NAGENGAST Fleur||NED||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||0h52´59.0"|
|21||28||CRUMPTON Bethany||IVB||STOREY RACING||0h53´05.0"|
|22||68||SAFAROVA Adela||CZE||NUTREND SPECIALIZED RACING||0h53´09.0"|
|23||20||TRUYEN Marthe||BEL||AA-DRINK JONGERENTEAM||0h54´18.0"|
|24||43||BULLERI Alessia||ITA||TRENTINO CROSS GIANT SMP||0h54´23.0"|
|25||66||DELHAYE Pauline||FRA||QUICK MTB RACING TEAM||0h54´27.0"|
|26||36||BELLAERT Axelle||BEL||DONEN/VONDELMOLEN CX-TEAM||0h54´32.0"|
|27||49||GOOSSENS Veerle||NED||TEAM BREEPARK||0h54´34.0"|
|28||47||MEISTROK Susanne||NED||MIJN BAD-LIV/GIANT||0h54´43.0"|
|29||22||JANSSON Ida||SWE||SPECIALIZED RACING||0h54´46.0"|
|30||54||VALLIERES MILL Magdeleine||CAN||CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAM||0h55´15.0"|
|31||48||HARNDEN Harriet||GBR||GBR NATIONAL TEAM||0h55´23.0"|
|32||30||MISONOVA Magdalena||CZE||ADASTRA SOKOL VELTEZ||0h55´52.0"|
|33||46||ERNGREN Ida||SWE||UPSALA CK||0h56´10.0"|
|34||62||VAN DER ZWAAN Laura||NED||DRC DE MOL||0h56´17.0"|
|35||21||MAES Shana||BEL||DONEN/VONDELMOLEN CX-TEAM||0h56´30.0"|
|36||69||VANíKOVá Tereza||CZE||IVAR CS-AITHOR TEAM||0h56´59.0"|
|37||32||GERRITSEN Irene||NED||AR&TV DE ADELAAR||0h57´33.0"|
|38||41||VAS Kata Blanka||HUN||HUNGARIAN NATIONAL TEAM||0h57´43.0"|
|39||44||ZONTONE Asia||ITA||TRENTINO CROSS GIANT SMP||0h57´47.0"|
|40||23||AMMERLAAN Rozemarijn||NED||WESTLAND WIL VOORUIT||0h57´59.0"|
|41||70||PIERRE Camille||FRA||VTT SAINT-AMAND-LES-EAUX||0h58´05.0"|
|42||67||JAN Kamila||CZE||CEZ CYKLO TEAM TABOR||0h58´48.0"|
|43||63||ZWAENEPOEL Tessa||BEL||VAN ASSCHE - VERTRONICS CT||0h59´28.0"|
|44||24||VERMEIR Aurelie||BEL||BIKE ADVICE CT||0h59´58.0"|
|45||42||DUBAU PREVOT Axelle||FRA||BIZKAIA||1 r|
|46||34||COOGAN CISEK Corey||USA||THE FIX STUDIO||1 r|
|47||71||RIEDEL Stacey||AUS||ASFRA RACING TEAM||2 r|
|48||65||COMMISSARIS Caren||BEL||WSC HOOP OP ZEGEN - BEVEREN VZ||2 r|
|49||29||TAPIAS Natalie||USA||JAM / NCC||2 r|
|50||40||NIKOLOPOULOS Julia||GER||TV BAD ORB||2 r|
|51||18||CONEY Helena||CAN||CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAM||2 r|
|52||55||KELLY Siobhan||CAN||CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAM||2 r|
|53||37||THACKRAY Sophie||GBR||OLDFIELD/PAUL MILNES ERT||2 r|
|54||51||DELECOURT Lucie||FRA||VC ST OMER||2 r|
|55||39||BLANCHAERT Jo||BEL||INDIVIDUEEL||2 r|
|56||64||FORRESTER Jennifer||GBR||WWW.ZEPNAT.COM - LAZER HELMETS||2 r|
|57||53||MITCHELL Erin||AUS||BLACKBURN CC||2 r|
|58||17||GODART Béatrice||LUX||CCI DIFFERDANGE||2 r|
|59||52||BERKANE Sarah||FRA||BOULZICOURT||2 r|
|DNF||31||DE HEIJ Maaike||NED||ZZPR-HANCLEAN ORANGE BABIES|
|DNF||58||BETSEMA Denise||NED||HR EN TC D.O.K|
|DNF||59||DOBBELAERE Jana||BEL||KLEUR OP MAAT - BNS TECHNICS|
|DNF||60||KASTELIJN Yara||NED||WM3 PRO CYCLING|
|DNF||61||DELHAES Joelle||BEL||FLUEFOG´S CRIT NASTY|