Dutch rider Thalita De Jong came from behind on the third of four laps to win her first UCI cyclocross world championship in Zolder, Belgium on Saturday. It was a fine day for the Dutch with four riders in the elite women’s race top-ten and a U19 men’s title.
In the earlier races, British dynamo Evie Richards, who had won all 11 of her season’s cyclocross races, took the first ever U23 women’s title in the pouring rain. Dutch rider Maud Kaptheijns claimed bronze while the top Canadian was Ruby West in 33rd. Jens Dekker of the Netherlands prevailed in the U19 men’s race with Gunnar Holmgren the top Canadian at 47th, Brody Sanderson in 52nd and national champion Quinton Disera in 62nd.
With reigning champ Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (France) and seven-time winner Marianne Vos (The Netherlands) out through injury, Saturday’s winner would be a new one. The rain and wind had died down from the earlier contests. Mical Dyck was wearing number 34.
— Canadian Cycling Mag (@CDNCyclingMag) January 30, 2016
At the gun Ellen van Loy of Belgium led the pack, with Katie Compton (USA) falling on the first turn. Helen Wyman (Great Britain) overtook van Loy on the first flyover. Van Loy retook the lead on a muddy hill with Nikki Harris (Great Britain), World Cup champ Sanne Cant (Belgium) and Sophie de Boer (The Netheralands) behind her.
At the end of three consecutive run-ups de Boer had the lead, with Harris on her wheel at the end of the first lap. The judges decided at that point that it would be a four-lap race. Caroline Mani of France then came to the forefront. Mani, Cant, Harris and de Boer separated themselves from the rest. Cant wanted to ride the muddy hills the others ran and fell back as Mani worked through her repertoire of Thomas Voeckler race faces.
With the foursome compact at the beginning of Lap 3, Harris nabbed the lead. The Dutch had reinforcements as Sabrina Stultiens crept closer to the quartet. Harris’s attack created a gap but a little mistake on a tight turn brought Cant back into the frame. De Jong was the next Dutch rider to edge closer and by the consecutive run-ups, she had made it a leading quintet.
Mani led into the bell lap. Suddenly, Cant woke up, seized the lead and began to dish out the pain. De Jong was now the freshest Dutch rider and closest to the Belgian’s wheel. When Cant dabbed De Jong took the reins. De Jong’s attack was too powerful for the other riders, Cant’s head bobbing in the effort to close the gap. It would be Mani and Cant scrapping for podium places as De Jong spun away.
Mani surged forward to take silver, while Cant barely held off De Boer for the bronze. Cant, the pre-race favourite, was inconsolable after her second year of missing out on the rainbow jersey. Mical Dyck of Canada placed 16th, where she was for most of the race.
— UCI Cyclocross (@UCI_CX) January 30, 2016
1) Thalita De Jong (The Netherlands) 41:03
2) Caroline Mani (France) +0:14
3) Sanne Cant (Belgium) +0:24
16) Mical Dyck (Canada) +2:30