During her impressive run since early November, Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) has shown she knows how to pick her spots to get the win. Her latest late move was on Tuesday at Zolder, when she attacked in the ups and downs to escape from Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek/Knight Composites) and Eva Lechner (Clif Pro Team).
On Thursday at the IJsboerke Ladies Trofee Azencross in Loenhout, she again planned her winning attack. This time, however, it came much earlier in the race than usual.
During the second of five laps, Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) shook things up by attacking into the mud pit that formed at the start of the circuit. Cant followed and the two got a gap on the rest of the chasers. The chase came back, but Cant took note of the space she could gain in the section.
The next lap, Brand again attacked out of a group of six. Cant followed and while Brand’s attack faded, Cant’s stayed strong. Her aggressiveness gave her ten seconds on Brand and Compton.
Cant took a page out of teammate Mathieu van der Poel’s book and went solo for the rest of the race. With one to go, Brand remained within striking distance, but after she dismounted thanks to a mud hole at the base of the flyover, Cant was gone to her latest victory. Tuesday’s win was the 100th of her career, so after Thursday it is 101 and counting.
Brand Animates Early
Thursday’s race in Loenhout started with an old (young) face on the front of the race. After a hot start to the season, including a win at the Koksijde World Cup, young Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles) has faded as the season has progressed. During her early run, Kaptheijns consistently started races fast. At Azencross, she reprised her fast-starting role by taking the holeshot and leading the way early on.
The rest of the first lap had several leaders, including Helen Wyman (Kona Factory CX Team) and Lechner. When it was complete, a lead selection of Cant, Wyman, Kaptheijns, Brand, Lechner and Loes Sels (Crelan-Charles) was at the front, with several other riders including Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans) and Compton chasing.
The first half of the Azencross course was more or less a giant mud pit on Thursday. Brand decided to get dirty early by attacking in the second lap. Cant followed and the two got a five-second gap midway through the circuit. Their lead lasted for the better part of the second lap before the chasers brought them back. The lead group was now Cant, Brand, Sels, Kaptheijns, Compton and Wyman.
Cant Goes Solo for the Win
Not content with one attack, Brand attacked again in the third of five laps. Cant followed the Dutch rider’s move, but this time Cant had the legs to keep the effort going. She stayed aggressive and committed to the attack. Her reward was ten seconds on the chase of Brand and Compton with two to go.
With Cant solo off the front, it was up to Compton and Brand to sort out the chase. Brand moved into a solo second with her running through the mud pit early in the penultimate lap. After the race, Compton said she was struggling to breathe, so at that point, she was just trying to maintain a gap back to fourth. Nothing would come easy at Azencross.
Although Cant was solo off the front, her victory was by no means guaranteed, and her lead at the bell was just six seconds. It was certainly not insurmountable for Brand, although Cant had an advantage with her running in the thick mud.
Brand’s challenge to Cant ended when she had to dismount at the base of the flyover after losing traction in a small mud hole at its base.
Cant was gone to victory, the 101st of her career, while Brand was left in a tussle for second.
Compton caught up with Brand after the Dutch rider’s ay-yay-yay and the two engaged in a duel for second. Compton led the way into the finishing straight, but the road standout Brand outsprinted the Compton to take second.
Compton’s reward for her third-place finish was an extension of her lead in the time-based IJsboerke Ladies Trofee Series. She now sits 4:44 ahead of Brammeier and 4;46 ahead of Wyman. Two races remain in the eight-race series. The next one is Monday’s GP Sven Nys in Baal.
Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (SAS Macogep Aquisio) finished 17th, Rebecca Fahringer (Stan’s NoTubes p/b Maxxis/gofahr) 18th, Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Racing) 20th, Canadian Magdeleine Vallieries Mill (Club Cycliste de Sherbrooke) 29th, Australian Natalie Redmond (Port Adelaide CC) 31st, Natalie Tapias (JAM / NCC) 47th, Corey Coogan Cisek (The Fix Studio) 52nd, Helena Coney 54th and Siobhan Kelly (To Wheels Epic Sports Performance) 64th.
Women's Results: 2017 Azencross Loenhout
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|10||20||VAN DE STEENE||Kim||BEL||0:47:55|
|14||14||DEL CARMEN ALVARADO||Ceylin||NED||0:49:06|
|30||33||VAN DER BURG||Esther||NED||0:52:05|
|32||43||VAN DE REE||Monique||NED||0:52:18|
|52||41||COOGAN CISEK||Corey||USA||-1 LAP|
|53||56||VAN BOVEN||Hannah||NED||-1 LAP|
|56||48||DUBAU PREVOT||Axelle||FRA||-1 LAP|