Natural hat trick: Cant defeats Dutch armada at world championships

Rochette 23rd in Bogense, Denmark

February 2nd, 2019 by | Posted in Cyclocross, News | Tags:

Belgian Sanne Cant took her third consecutive elite women’s world championship on Saturday in Bogense, Denmark, defeating a quartet of Dutch riders in the lead group. Runner-up Lucinda Brand had her ride disturbed by her own father, acting as mechanic. Marianne Vos earned the bronze. Canada’s sole entrant Maghalie Rochette placed 23rd.

In the earlier races, the Junior men kicked off affairs, with Brit Ben Tulett staying ahead of a handful of Belgians to repeat as the world champion. The top Canadian was Conor Martin in 46th, while Paul Mysko was 63rd. The Under-23 men‘s race saw the 2017 Junior champion Tom Pidcock of Great Britain beat the title holder Eli Iserbyt of Belgium. Canada’s Gunnar Holmgren was 18th and Tyler Orschel came 43rd.

The elite women‘s field was wide open, with Cant of Belgium; Dutch riders Vos, Brand and Denise Betsema; and Americans Katie Compton and Kaitlin Keough all possible medalists. In the final World Cup of the season last week, Brand won her third race of the series, Compton was runner-up and Vos raised her first ever World Cup titlist’s trophy after coming third. Canada’s Maghalie Rochette wore number 23.

They faced a 2.6-km lap with a long uphill that required running and a section exposed to the winds off the sea. Just before the start, a cold rain blew in. It was 2 degrees celsius.

Vos sprinted out the gate, with Rochette in the top-20, but having to dab in a pinched corner. Betsema led a long line with plenty of Belgians and Dutch riders at the front. Betsema, who won the Koksijde round of the World Cup, established a little gap, but it came back together in the second half of Lap 1. Vos, Cant, Betsema and Annemarie Worst led over the line.

It was Cant versus three Dutch riders for most of Lap 2. Swiss mountain bike world champion Jolanda Neff came from far down the field to join them. Brand, Keough and Brit Nikki Brammeier laboured to make the junction on Lap 3 of seven. Vos and Brand were a little behind at the end of that circuit.

At the start of Lap 4, there were four Dutch riders, Neff and Cant, with Brammeier still coming. Cant led the way over the hurdles and Neff fell back. The Belgian pulled four orange jerseys behind her going into Lap 5.

Brand started to crack the whip, unhitching Worst and Vos. Worst made it back before heading into the penultimate lap. Rochette was 24th. Brand’s dad caused her to fall in the pits on a bike change. With Vos working to bring Brand back over, Cant accelerated and took her gap. Vos and Brand were the closest Dutch riders.

Cant had six-seconds when she heard the bell. Brand then become the sole pursuer. But Cant would not be denied and was delighted with her accomplishment.

Brand, who was third in 2018 and fourth in 2017, was forgiving of the pits mishap.

1) Sanne Cant (Belgium) 47:53
2) Lucinda Brand (The Netherlands) +0:09
3) Marianne Vos (The Netherlands) +0:15
23) Maghalie Rochette (Canada) +3:33