Posted by Editoress on 02/1/09
Cyclocross World Championships Hoogerheide, Netherlands
Photos to come
It may not have been the strongest rider who won the women's title at the Cyclo-cross Worlds, but it was certainly the smartest. Marianne Vos gave host Netherlands their second title of these championships when she out kicked defending title holder Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) and American Katie Compton to win. Wendy Simms was Canada's top finisher in 18th, followed by Natasha Elliot in 21st and Pepper Harlton in 31st.
The race start was marred by a crash in the first 100 metres, when French rider Nadia Triquet-Claude went down in the first corner on cobbled pavement. Unfortunately, Elliott was one of those caught up in the crash.
"She went down right in front of me and there was nowhere to go. I went right over the bars and was last by the time I got started again. It's was really too bad, because up until then I was having my best start ever."
Elliott rode strongly all race, picking off other riders, and her lap splits showed that she was certainly capable of finishing in the top twenty.
Simms and Harlton were both helped by the crash rather than hindered, with Simms just in front of it on Kupfernagel's wheel, and Harlton - with a start position well at the back - able to maneuver around the carnage and pick up a number of spots.
At the front, Compton attacked almost immediately, and had a 7 second gap by the first time the racers hit the stair run-up. Kupfernagel immediately started to chase, taking Vos with her. Up the stairs Simms was in fourth, but the pace proved to be too much, and she gradually slid back.
"When you get an opportunity like that, you have to take it," explained Simms. "But my legs weren't feeling particularly good, and so I just couldn't maintain it."
Kupfernagel and Vos caught Compton late in the second lap, and the trio stayed together from that point on. Both Kupfernagel and Compton tried attacks, but couldn't shake the better sprinter - Vos.
Out of the final corner, it was Vos by a few bike lengths, giving her enough time to sit up and take in the cheers of the Dutch. Kupfernagel took second after Compton didn't have the strength left to challenge her in the sprint.
- The crowd has gotten so large, that the officials have taken the unprecedented step of closing the transfer points from the inside to the outside of the course
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