Sanne Cant navigated Zonhoven's sand to take the victory. © Bart Hazen

File photo: Sanne Cant, shown here winning Superprestige Zonhoven, made it it two years in a row, winning her second consecutive European Cyclocross Championship. © Bart Hazen

HUIJBERBEN, Netherlands – Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) successfully defended her title taking the win at the 2015 European Cyclocross Championships ahead of fellow Belgian Jolien Verschueren (VZW Young Telenet Fidea) and Britain’s Nikki Harris (VZW Young Telenet Fidea).

It was the Czech Republic’s Pavla Havlakova (VZW Young Telenet Fidea) who took the holeshot, riding most of the race in the top three positions before being overtaken by Harris in the last lap. Also at the front early on were Belgian’s Ellen Van Loy (VZW Young Telenet Fidea) and Britain’s Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team). Van Loy settled into fifth place after a fast start, holding steady for the remainder of the race. Wyman, who generally excels at running, appeared to be the top contender most affected by the course’s long, sandy double run-up, immediately losing ground on the steep slopes after coming to the front of the pack in the first round.

Cant made her move late in the second lap gaining distance on her competition. Verschueren, who put in an impressive performance, coming up the ranks to take up the chase, was nearly able to reconnect in the waning minutes of the race. But it was the defending champion that proved the strongest, looking very smooth on the runs and using her technical abilities and power through a steep section that forced others off the bike.

Harris turned up her game in the second half of the race, after catching Havlakova in the fifth lap, in what turned out to be the battle for third place. Harris used one of the course’s unique features, a steep drop with optional routes referred to as the “chicken run,” choosing the harder of the two in the last lap to distance Havlakova for the last podium spot.

European Cyclocross Championships Elite Women’s Brief Results

  1. Sanne Cant
  2. Jolien Verschueren
  3. Nikki Harris
  4. Pavla Havlikov
  5. Ellen van Loy
  6. Thalita de Jong
  7. Helen Wyman
  8. Sofie de Boer
  9. Loes Sels
  10. Martina Mikulaskova

Be sure to read our European Cyclocross Championships Elite Men’s race report here.