Posted by Editoress on 12/26/19
The traditional Boxing Day Cyclo-cross World Cup at Heusden-Zolder, in Belgium, was Round 7 for this season's series, with Canadian and Continental champion Maghalie Rochette (Specialized/Feedback Sports) finishing 14th in the Elite women's field. Canadian men's champion Michael van den Ham (Team Canada) was 37th in the Elite men's race.
For the second World Cup in a row, Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions) won the women's event, riding as part of a lead group of four for much of the race before dropping everyone but Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon Circus) on the last lap. Brand took the win by a slim one second, with Annemarie Worst (777) finishing third at 13 seconds. Rochette with the lead group on opening lap, with the leaders, but fell back on the second lap to the mid-20s, before recovering in the final lap to finish 14th, 1:41 down. Under-23 national and Continental champion Ruby West (Team Canada) finished 28th, while Canadian Junior women Kelly Lawson and Claire Steciuk (both Team Canada), were 72nd and 74th, respectively, and Siobhan Kelly (Team Canada) was 82nd. In the overall standings, Alvardo leads with 360, one point ahead of Katerina Nash, with Rochette dropping one spot to sixth place, with 289 points - one point out of fifth. West moved up to 29th from 32nd.
"The course in Zolder in renown for making extremely fast racing," said Rochette. "I felt much better today than I did in Namur. However, I had a really bad start. No excuse, as I was on the first row ... It was a fast start and I kind of got a little scared as people swarmed around me really fast. I should have gone faster but instead I slowed down a bit and that was a mistake. After about one minute, I was in 25th-plus, so I lost a lot of time on the first lap running sections where the top girls could ride."
"After that, I was on chasing mode. I was catching people, but then again, the speed was so fast, so making up five seconds is pretty hard ... and everyone in the top-20 is really fast. But, as I said, I was feeling good and riding well enough, so I fought all the way and managed to finish 14th."
"I'm pretty happy about my performance, but I'm a little mad at myself for messing up at the start. On the bright side, I know what I have to do next time I'm in a position like that at the start. So I'm happy, but definitely curious about where I could have finished without my big mistake at the start :) "
World champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus) took his fourth straight World Cup win, dropping the rest of the leaders on the fifth lap, finishing six seconds ahead of Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal). Van den Ham rode as high as 24th before dropping back in the final three laps. Cameron Jette (Team Canada) was the only other Canadian in the Elite race, finishing 59th. Van den Ham moved up one spot, to 36th, in the overall standings, which are still led by Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions), despite racing with cracked ribs from acrash at the previous World Cup.
In the Junior men's race, Cody Scott (Team Canada) was 42nd and Matthew Leliveld (Team Canada) was 56th, while in the Under-23 men's race, Brody Sanderson (Team Canada) was 38th and Malcolm Barton (Team Canada) was 46th.
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