Mud was the name of the game today at Gavere, and Sanne Cant proved herself to be the master player. The 24-year-old rider opted to wear the Belgian flag of her championship skinsuit over the blue and gold as the European champion. At this stage of the season, she deserves to make these decisions: her winning streak at this high level has pounced up to five in a row, leaving us wondering if there will be a dramatic showdown between her and riders like Katerina Nash, who are building up their own winning streaks.
Cant and the United Kingdom’s Nikki Harris fought tooth and nail for most of the race, with Harris creating great opportunities for herself during the runs. Cant, with a perfectly executed move through the mud on the last lap, was able to create a little daylight between them and maintain it until the end, beating Harris by nine seconds.
Ellen van Loy, meanwhile, stayed within sight of the two leaders for part of the race, but appeared as if she knew her limits and eased off the gas just as she came close to reconnecting with the duo. This tactic would eventually guarantee her third place over a minute behind Cant.
Sophie De Boer is maintaining top five finishes, crossing the line after fourth place Jolien Verschueren today.
Elle Anderson was the lead American as she finished eighth. She started the season in Europe off with a string of top fives, although sickness over the last two weeks has been brutal on her training, and a top ten finish in horrid weather is certainly a victory. If anything, she is gaining valuable experience in her quiver that she will be able to use in the future, with the European mud offering a much more draining ride than the mud found in all but the most unusual conditions in America.
Cyclocross Magazine contributor Christine Vardaros was the second finishing America, beating half the field for an impressive 14th.
In the Men’s Elite Race, Klaas Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels, Mathieu Van der Poel and Tom Meeusen were the early leaders that powered their way through the slog later that day. Like Cant, Vantornout has been having a great season, and has certainly carved his name into the riders to beat. Meeusen’s recent win seemed to spur him on early in the race, and he rode technically well through the mud to offer Vantornout a challenge.
Van der Poel appeared to suddenly be riding on empty in the last half of the race as the three other leaders stormed away, leaving a chasing group of Sven Nys and Lars van der Haar with a lot of work left to do in the race.
Before one lap to go, mistakes by both Pauwels and Meeusen effectively changed the dynamics in two big ways: first, it allowed Vantornout enough time to play the final lap conservatively, taking thoughtful corners in the mud and running where he needed to instead of risking a mechanical. Second, it allowed a big effort by Nys to stick during the length of the final minutes.
Vantornout was able to ride in for first, with Pauwels coming within sight of the leader for the finishing stretch to take second.
Meeusen was the biggest casualty of these events, not only taking him out of the running for the lead, but also giving up his podium spot to Nys.
Men’s Elite Race, Video:
Men’s Elite Race Video of Superprestige Gavere provided by Cycle Cycle
Superprestige Four, Gavere Women's Elite Race
|3||Ellen VAN LOY||BEL||34||42:15:00|
|5||Sophie DE BOER||NED||24||43:52:00|
|10||Olatz ODRIOZOLA MUJIKA||ESP||31||46:12:00|
|11||Stephanie DE CROOCK||BEL||35||46:25:00|
|12||Bianca VAN DEN HOEK||NED||38||46:27:00|
|16||Lindy VAN ANROOIJ||NED||18||48:25:00|
|17||Femke VAN DEN DRIESSCHE||BEL||18||48:42:00|
|19||Monique VAN DE REE||NED||26||50:22:00|
|20||Lierni LEKUONA ETXEBESTE||ESP||19||51:45:00|
|23||Chris VAN DORSSELAERE||BEL||29|
Superprestige Four, Gavere Men's Elite Race 2014
|5||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||23||1:08:43|
|6||Mathieu VAN DER POEL||NED||19||1:09:11|
|11||David VAN DER POEL||NED||22||1:10:29|
|12||Corne VAN KESSEL||NED||23||1:10:31|
|17||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||28||1:11:48|
|20||Eddy VAN IJZENDOORN||NED||29||1:12:46|
|23||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||25||1:13:11|
|25||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED||29||1:14:01|
|26||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL||26||1:14:14|
|28||Javier RUIZ DE LARRINAGA IBANEZ||ESP||35||1:15:06|
|31||Asier ARREGUI DOMINGUEZ||ESP||36|
|32||Kevin VAN HOOVELS||BEL||29|