The last race of the Christmas Cross season in Belgium came down to solo victories in both the men and women’s races. With blue skies making their appearance for a short time, with still thick mud on the ground German Champion Hanka Kupfernagel and Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) claimed the victory at the Fidea Cyclocross in Tervuren.
Already at the front, Kupfernagel took advantage of a crash by Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) on the first lap to open up a gap. Behind her, Dutch Champion Daphny van den Brand and Belgian Champion Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus) took up the chase but soon it was only Cant as van Den Brand pulled out.
But wait, Vos was coming. The World Champion put in an amazing ride, after being last, DFL, after the first lap where not only she crashed but then had a mechanical forcing her to run half a lap to the pit, she never gave up and chased back, all the way to 7th by the bell lap. But she wasn’t done, she kept on going and finished in 3rd, 20 seconds behind Cant.
After a break, Amy Dombroski is back in Europe and was the highest American in 7th with Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill/Seven) taking 9th. (Watch the race summary in Flemish)
A lot of movement at the front of the men’s race. Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) was the first to get a gap, pushing the pace at the front. Albert made junction with less than 5 laps to go and quickly dropped Peeters. Behind them, Belgian Champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) was coming. After a slow start, Nys was picking off riders including Peeters but a crash slowed him down and he finished second. After working for his teammate Peeters in the chase group, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) worked for himself when passed by both Albert and Nys and finished third.
After leading the chase for the first few laps, tired after the battle in Baal, World Champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) faded to finish 7th. American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) finished 12th. (Watch last lap and race summary)
National Championships. Next weekend are the National Championships for most countries (except the USA and Canada). One of the hotly contested battles should be between 7-time Belgian Champion Nys and Albert.
Can he beat Nys? “I hope so this year,” replied Albert after winning at Azencross, “I want the jersey more than the World Championship so we will see what happens in Antwerp.” The 24-year old has never won the National Championships at the elite level but has already won the rainbow stripes.
As for Nys, well he wants to win. “Niels is also a big favorite because he won two races this week and also second in Zolder. It could be Niels but it could be me also, we’ll see what happens and then you have Tom Meeusen, Klaas Vantornout, it’s not only two guys, it’s a special day with a lot of nervous moments so we’ll see what happens but I have the experience and I think I can win again.” Nys said after winning Grote Prijs Sven Nys.
Who will take the jersey?
Another interesting battle will be between Vos and van den Brand. Surprisingly, the multi-time World Champion Vos has never won her national championships with van den Brand claiming 10 titles, so far.
Top 10 Women
1. Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) 0:35:38
2. Sanne Cant (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus +01:06
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit +01:26
4. Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Brain Wash +01:37
5. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) APB Cycling Team +01:39
6. Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) WV Schindel +02:12
7. Amy Dombroski (USA) +02:15
8. Gabriella Day (GBr) The ChainStay-RENNER +02:28
9. Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles +02:51
10. Linda Van Rijen (Ned) +03:14
Top 10 Men
1. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:59:10
2. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet +00:21
3. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team +00:55
4. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team +01:24
5. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus +01:26
6. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor +01:31
7. Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team +01:43
8. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
9. Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor +01:46
10. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus +02:28
12. Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike +03:14
36. Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder -3laps
38. Ryan Iddings (USA) Redline
39. Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized
42. Sean Babcock (USA) Kona
45. Shaun Adamson (Can) Cycle-Smart -5laps