ZEVEN, Germany—The 2016 UCI World Cup returned to action on Saturday in Zeven for the first World Cup race in Germany in 13 years and the first held at the venue in Zeven, which is located in northern Germany about halfway between Hamburg and Bremen.
The new venue lacked an iconic feature that many European races are known for and more resembled a course that many amateur American riders are familiar with. The layout was largely a bumpy grass circuit that featured a large hill that in the latter half of the course that was peppered with technical off-camber turns and punch uphills. Mixed in with the technical features was a man-made sandpit that would eventually play an important role in the Women’s race.
After a slow start to the season, Sanne Cant (IKO Enertherm-Beobank) has been consistently winning races since the beginning of October, but a World Cup victory has eluded her up to this point in the season. That would change on Saturday as Cant withstood an fast start from Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF) and Thalita de Jong (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) and a strong challenge from Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek-Panache) late in the race to win her first World Cup of the 2016 season. Cant was a step quicker than the other riders on the running sections of the afternoon, and she would be able to use that quickness to open up a small gap on the last trip through the sandpit that she would not relinquish.
The Women’s race on the chilly morning got out to a hot start with De Boer and De Jong charging out to an early lead. Also in the mix at the front was American Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing), who took advantage of the opportunity to mix it up with the reigning world champion and current World Cup leader at the front of the race. Unfortunately, Noble’s time at the front would be short lived, as a bobble by Cant at the top of a steep uphill punch forced the American to dismount and broke her early rhythm. De Boer and De Jong sprinted off the front after Cant’s bobble caused a bottleneck on the hill, but a slew of riders would quickly close their six second gap and the race settled down with a group of seven forming after the first lap.
The Women’s race at Zeven became animated during the third trip through the circuit. With Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions) taking a turn dictating the pace at the front of the race, Cant pounced on an opportunity to slingshot past Van Loy and establish herself at the front of the race. A three second gap opened up by the move would be seven seconds by the end of the lap, and the Belgian rider look poised to take control of the race.
Notably missing from this action at the front thus far was American Katie Compton. Earlier this Fall, the Pan-Am Champion expressed her regret over deciding to skip the Valkenburg World Cup, and early on in the race Saturday it appeared that the trip to Zeven would be a disappointment as well. However, Compton was able to slowly make her way towards the front, earning herself some mid-race television time, and eventually worked her way back to third. By the fourth of six laps, she took over second place from Van Loy. Compton would complete her journey back to the front over a series of short uphills and bumpy descents and at the end of the fourth lap to make contact with Cant and signal that it was game on between the two.
The two battled to a standstill during the penultimate lap while they slowly extended their lead over the chase group. In the chase, De Boer, young Italian Alice Marie Arzuffi (Lensworld-Zannata), and De Jong jockeyed for the upper hand in the competition for the third podium spot.
After Compton made contact with Cant, the American spent her time on the front driving the pace and putting pressure on her Belgian rival. Early in the final lap, Cant decided that it was her turn to dictate the pace and pulled around Compton to take the lead. With no decisive features, but a number of tricky technical features where a slight hesitation could provide the winning margin, Cant seemed to decide that first wheel was the best place to be on the last trip around the circuit.
One of those tricky technical features was the sandpit located just before a tricky climb. Compton had been able to ride the pit during previous laps while Cant had opted for the dismount halfway in during the previous few laps. On the last lap, Compton was unable to ride the full length of the sandpit, and Cant used that opportunity to open up a small three second gap as the riders cleared the sand section.
Said Cant about the sand, “It wasn’t my best one of the race but I think it was important. If you had enough speed, you could ride through it. I think for the men it’s less important, but not all women can do that. I think it was the key moment of this race."
Sanne Cant continued to apply the pressure with her small gap in hand, and Compton could not take advantage of the hilly, technical climb as she had earlier in the race to close the gap. The Belgian came across the finish line with a six second victory and a hint of a smile to celebrate her accomplishment.
Cant was excited to show that she could be the top woman against a full World Cup start list, “They always told me if the World Champion and the Americans aren’t there it’s easy to win. Today I proved I can do it if they’re at the start.”
Compton took second to complete the World Cup podium triple crown after her win at Jingle Cross and third place finish in Las Vegas. In the battle for third, De Boer took the lead heading into the last lap, but the Marie Arzuffi was able to outpace the World Cup leader in the last lap and take the third podium spot. De Boer finished fourth, and De Jong rounded out the top five, 28 seconds off the leader’s pace.
Ellen Noble hung tough after her early fast start and finished in tenth place, just one minute behind Cant. With the performance, she retained the Women’s U23 jersey for the World Cup series.
De Boer is back in the World Cup leader's jersey, a jersey she earned after her World Cup opening win at CrossVegas.
Check out the full photo gallery below the results table.
2016 Zeven, Germany UCI Cyclocross World Cup Results: Elite Women
|2||11||COMPTON Katherine||USA||39||KFC Racing p/b Trek - Panache||+00:06||70|
|3||27||ARZUFFI Alice Maria||ITA||23||LENSWORLD-ZANNATA||+00:22||65|
|4||2||DE BOER Sophie||NED||27||+00:23||60|
|5||1||DE JONG Thalita||NED||24||RABOLIV WOMENCYCLINGTEAM||+00:28||55|
|7||18||VAN LOY Ellen||BEL||37||TELENET FIDEA LIONS||+00:40||48|
|8||22||* VERDONSCHOT Laura||BEL||21||+00:41||46|
|10||12||* NOBLE Ellen||USA||22||ASPIRE||+01:00||42|
|11||36||MANI Caroline||FRA||30||RALEIGH CLEMENT||+01:09||40|
|12||6||* BAKKER Manon||NED||18||+01:14||39|
|14||25||* RICHARDS Evie||GBR||20||+01:24||37|
|15||31||* NOSKOVA Nikola||CZE||20||+01:32||36|
|16||42||MAJERUS Christine||LUX||30||BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM||+01:32||35|
|19||28||* TEOCCHI Chiara||ITA||21||BIANCHI COUNTERVAIL||+02:12||32|
|20||23||VERHESTRAETEN Karen||BEL||26||LARES-WAOWDEALS WOMEN CYCLING TEAM||+02:18||31|
|22||37||* CLAUZEL Helene||FRA||19||+02:41||29|
|23||7||* VAN DER HEIJDEN Inge||NED||18||+02:44||28|
|25||34||NUNO PALACIO Aida||ESP||34||+02:55||26|
|26||45||* LAMBRACHT Jessica||GER||22||+03:03||25|
|27||59||* HEIGL Nadja||AUT||21||+03:11||24|
|28||41||* GRIMAULT Anais||FRA||22||+03:14||23|
|29||5||VAN DEN HOEK Bianca||NED||41||+03:22||22|
|32||13||ANDERSON Elle||USA||29||ELLE ANDERSON RACING||+03:54||19|
|33||15||MCCUTCHEON Melinda||USA||33||DNA PRO / COTTON SOX||+04:05||18|
|39||35||ERLANDSSON Asa Maria||SWE||43||+05:07||12|
|40||4||* DEL CARMEN ALVARADO Ceylin||NED||19||+05:12||11|
|41||40||* WIEL Jade||FRA||17||+05:14||10|
|43||33||* BAJGEROVA Nikola||CZE||20||+05:20||8|
|48||53||* LORKOWSKA Patrycja||POL||19||+06:56||3|
|51||52||* LUTTUSCHKA Larissa||GER||20||-1LAP|
|52||56||* GLAJZOVA Erika||SVK||19||-1LAP|