The 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige series made its third stop at Ruddervoorde cyclocross race outside Bruges, Belgium on Sunday. Despite several shining moments thus far in the 2016 season, Dutch rider Sophie de Boer has struggled in the first two 2016 Superprestige races. De Boer erased those struggles with a superior technical effort on the slick Ruddervoorde track and kept a healthy gap over Sanne Cant and Ellen Van Loy to become the first Dutch rider to win at Ruddervoorde since Richard Groenendaal in 2000.
Last year’s Ruddervoorde track was described by Sven as a “maze.” The 2016 layout was more open, with the technicality created by several run-ups and short, punchy bumps that riders had to accelerate up and over. It also featured a “mini-Zonhaven” downhill sand pit that was made more difficult by a tough uphill lead-in. Conditions on the course were slick at the start of the race, with a drizzle eventually giving way to the sun as the ground tacked up and the race speeds increased. Although the rainbow stripes of 2016 World Champion Thalita de Jong were missing, the colors weren’t missed:
The early animator in Sunday’s race was Ellen Van Loy. The Telenet Fidea Lion took the lead early in the first lap and helped quickly string the race out. A lead selection of Van Loy, Sophie de Boer, Sanne Cant, and Christine Majerus quickly emerged with a chase group including American Elle Anderson emerging about ten seconds behind the leaders.
On a course with short, punchy climbs and slick conditions, technical handling was at a premium in the race. Van Loy learned this the hard way as she struggled on the uphill into the mini-Zonhaven sand pit and relinquished the lead to de Boer through the thick sand. This move to the front would prove to be the winning move as de Boer would ride at the head of the race for the remainder of the next four laps.
With Sanne Cant riding the way she has of late, it was fair for spectators to expect the Belgian to close the six second gap de Boer opened up through the second lap and make the race the latest two-up treat. She appeared poised to do so early in the third lap through the grassy “maze” section, but by the time de Boer cleared the sand, she held a 10 second lead that she would only build on for the rest of the race.
De Boer closed her ride by continuing to prove that she was the technically superior woman on the afternoon. She opened up a nearly 40 second gap heading into the last lap, and cruised home with her first Superprestige victory of the 2016 season.
— Hubert De Meulder (@HubertDeMeulder) November 6, 2016
Despite Cant’s challenge to de Boer and Van Loy’s early struggles with the sand, the Telenet Fidea Lion was determined to show that she would not be counted out of the afternoon’s conversation. Van Loy battled back to make contact with Cant at the end of the penultimate lap, and actually took the lead heading into the bell lap.
The two seemed destined for a battle for second, with Cant perhaps holding a slight advantage heading into the sand. However, despite the emerging sunshine, Van Loy took a tough spill on a slick corner – eliciting an “Ay yay yay” from the Dutch announcer – and gave Cant the gap she needed to take home the second spot on the podium. Van Loy shook off her tough spill and took third.
After Majerus was dropped from the lead group during the second lap, the chasers were never really a factor in the race. The young Italian Alice Marie Arzuffi ended up winning the chase, finishing fourth (1’22”) and Majerus rounded out the top five (1’36”). American Elle Anderson had a very strong ride on the afternoon, finishing in 7th, 1’50” behind the leader.
Cant’s second place performance and the scrambled results behind her in the previous two races has given her a large lead in the Hansgrohe Superprestige standings. She currently sits at 44 of a total 45 points, with Van Loy in second at 33 points, and de Boer in third with 28.
Hansgrohe Superprestige fans will not have to wait long for the next battle between Cant, de Boer, Van Loy, and company. The next race is next Sunday at Superprestige Gavere in Flanders.
2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Ruddervoorde Results - Elite Women
|1||Sophie DE BOER||NED||27||43:29:00|
|3||Ellen VAN LOY||BEL||37||44:33:00|
|4||Alice Maria ARZUFFI||ITA||23||44:51:00|
|12||Bianca VAN DEN HOEK||NED||41||46:47:00|
|13||Kim VAN DE STEENE||BEL||31||46:59:00|
|15||Inge VAN DER HEIJDEN||NED||18||47:16:00|
|16||Lindy VAN ANROOIJ||NED||21||47:20:00|
|18||Eva Maria PALM||BEL||20||48:57:00|
|23||Monique VAN DE REE||NED||29||50:37:00|
|32||Anke VAN ROMPAY||BEL||18|