This weekend, Team FBUK riders Gabby Day and Helen Wyman travelled to Pijnaker in Holland for the 3rd round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup.
With winter really setting in Belgium and Holland, it was sure to be a ‘real’ cross compared to the sunshine and hard packed courses in recent weeks.
Having ridden the event several times before, in all different kinds of conditions, Helen Wyman was again confident she could get a good result and keep herself in contention for the overall World Cup crown and also ensure she kept the pressure on the early leaders in the UCI rankings.
The race started very quickly on a road section, and dived straight into a very short sand bank across a drainage ditch. These ditches are one of the main features of the flat windy course in Pijnaker.
Helen, starting from the front row lead the race across this first technical section and onto the open grassland sections, before a very determined Hanka Kupfernagel took to the lead and set about putting time into the chasing riders.
World Champion, Marianne Vos made an error on the first lap from which she struggled to recover and ended up well down the field, finishing in 9th place.
The chase group was formed of Helen, Birgit Hollman (3rd in the last round of the world cup in Italy) and former world champion, Daphny van den Brand. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to regain contact with Hanka, and Helen eventually finished in 4th place. With Vos only coming in 9th, the World Cup lead now sits with Hanka Kupfenagel who has had a sensational start to the season.
FBUK rider Gabby Day had a fantastic start and took her place in a good group of riders competing for 12th place. However in such trying condition, when riders at the front of the group make errors, the knock on effect for those in the wheels can mean constantly chasing gaps. This took its toll on Gabby who finished in a very impressive 24th place in good company.
This weekend, Gabby will return to England to defend her lead in the National Trophy series in England, while Helen will travel to Italy for a UCI race north of Milan.
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