Three British women finished in the top 10 of the final round of the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup in the Netherlands yesterday (22) in what could be a precursor to a strong showing at the world championships this Sunday (29).
Helen Wyman (Kona-FSA) finished sixth, ahead of seventh-placed compatriot, Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea). And mountain biker, Annie Last, riding her first round of the world cup as preparation for next week’s world championships, finished eighth. All three women while race for Great Britain on Sunday (Jan 29).
Yesterday’s final round of the season-long world cup was won in convincing style by the Dutch world champion, Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team), who finished 1:28 ahead of compatriot Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink-Leontien.nl), whose second-place brought her overall victory in the series. Harris and Wyman led the field for the first half of the opening lap, before succumbing to an acceleration from race winner, Vos. Annie Last delivered another impressive performance to follow her third place at the National Championships in Ipswich earlier this month.
Vos will start as the overwhelming favourite to successfully defend her title at next Sunday’s world championships. Her victory yesterday stretched her unbeaten run to 15 races.
In the final round of the men’s world cup, Great Britain’s Ian Field (Hargroves-Trant-Next-Specialized) finished 27th in a world class line-up. The newly-crowned national champion was 3:43 down on race and series winner, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor), who will start among the favourites for the world championship next weekend. Pauwels had fought a season-long battle with compatriot Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and reigning world champion, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), but won by a convincing margin from both yesterday, with Stybar second, eight seconds down, and Nys a distant sixth at 39 seconds.
Pauwels followed Nys after his compatriot attacked from the start line, and stayed with him during subsequent attacks. But when Stybar launched his own bid for victory, Pauwels responded, riding away from the Czech and the chasing pack to record an impressive win. Stybar declared Pauwels a deserving winner of the race and the series, while Nys blamed his performance on a race ridden the previous day. “Kevin was the strongest rider today, and he has been for the entire World Cup. He deserved to win the World Cup without a doubt,” he said.
The UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships will be held at Koksijde, Belgium on January 28 and 29.