World Cyclocross Championships: Marianne Vos without rival as she solos to sixth title
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

World Cyclocross Championships: Marianne Vos without rival as she solos to sixth title

by Ben Atkins at 12:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
Expected challenge from Katie Compton fails to materialise as American denied by early mechanical

Marianne Vos of the Netherlands was without rival once again as she soloed to a record sixth World cyclocross championship on the frozen, snowy Louisville, Kentucky, course. The 25-year-old, who was defending the title she successfully retained in Koksijde, Belgium, a year before, rode clear of her rivals in the second half of the first of six laps, and never looked back as her lead continued to grow all the way to the finish.

The expected rivalry between Vos and US champion Katie Compton failed to materialise, as the American found herself caught in traffic on the first lap, while a second lap mechanical saw her lose further ground. The home rider managed to fight her way through the chasers one by one, but had too much to do to catch the lone leader, and finished 1’34” behind to take her third career silver medal.

French champion Lucie Chainel Lefevre was the best of the chasers, coming out on top of a battle with the Czech Republic’s Katerina Nash on the final corner of the race; taking France’s first Worlds medal since Laurence Leboucher’s bronze in 2008.

Chainel Lefevre sets the early pace but Vos is soon on her way

The snowy Louisville course had thawed a little since the Junior Men’s race an hour before, with visible tracks left in the snow, but some parts were still to be decidedly slippery. The main challenges would come from the three sets of steps, one that led onto a bridge, and one made of large stones, as well as the ubiquitous set of two plank hurdles in midfield.

Chainel Lefevre led out of the start and onto the snowy field, with the three Netherlands riders bunched up behind her. On only the second corner there was a crash in the middle of the pack, which brought down US riders Meredith Miller and Georgia Gould, and Great Britain’s Helen Wyman, with several others delayed behind it.

Up front Chainel Lefevre, Vos and Itay’s Eva Lechner were a little way clear, with Vos’ Netherlands teammate Sanne van Paassen leading Christel Ferrier Bruneau (France), Jasmin Achermann (Switzerland), Sabrina Stultiëns (Netherlands) and Compton close behind them.

Stultiëns slipped as they hit the off camber straight for the first time, forcing Compton to check, while up ahead Chainel Lefevre pulled Vos, Lechner and van Paassen away. A slip from the French champion allowed Vos to pass, however, and the reigning champion sprinted clear; once ahead, she quickly opened up a lead.

At the end of lap one Vos was 13 seconds clear of her former companions, with Ferrier Bruneau at 19 seconds, and a group containing Compton, Achermann, Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) and Sanne Cant (Belgium) at 27.

Lechner, clearly revelling in the conditions, began to try to gap van Paassen and Chainel Lefevre, but the Dutchwoman refused to let her go. The Frenchwoman too, was holding on to the chasing group, as her compatriot Ferrier Bruneau fought to stay clear of the next group behind her. Chainel Lefevre stumbled a little on the stone steps, allowing a gap to open up to the other two, and Lechner gradually led van Paassen away.

The chasers battle for silver as Compton reels them in

The Italian champion slipped on a corner, which stopped van Paassen and allowed Chainel Lefevre to catch up. In the chase group behind them, Compton was struggling with an apparent technical problem; the American ran through the pits and took a new bike, but had dropped to the rear of the group.

Vos was cruising at the front of the race though, and at the end of lap two her lead had grown to 31 seconds. Nash was now 42 seconds back in fifth place, with Compton in sixth; the US champion’s mechanical problems - and subsequent bike change - meant that she was now 50 seconds behind her big rival.

Chainel Lefevre slipped off again, as she took the tight turn before the wooden staircase and appeared to be limping as she climbed to the top. This allowed Nash to catch up, and Lechner and van Paassen to ride away, so there were now two pairs of riders chasing the lone Vos in front.

The defending champion was taking no risks as she tiptoed up the slippery stone steps, but was still opening up her lead. Teammate van Paassen was still happy to allow Lechner to do all the work in pursuit, but behind them Compton caught up with Chainel Lefevre and Nash and, as the American moved ahead, the Frenchwoman was left behind.

Finally, as Lechner appeared to be tiring a little - and perhaps sensing Compton bearing down on them - van Paassen moved ahead of the Italian and began to set the pace. The two chasers were now 51 seconds behind Vos with three laps down and three to go, but Compton was only ten seconds behind them.

Free of her mechanical problem the US champion was powering across the gap to Lechner, van Paassen and the podium places, but still had a mountain to climb to catch up with Vos.

Compton moves into second place but gold is Vos’ to lose

Lechner was back in front again as she tried to hold off Compton, with van Paassen clinging doggedly to her wheel. A brief stumble saw the Dutchwoman push past her, however, with the US champion breathing down their necks as they climbed the stone steps. Another small slip from Lechner saw Compton squeeze past her, as van Paassen tried to ride away.

Compton was soon up to van Paassen, however, as Lechner gradually began to lose touch; the Dutchwoman refused to let the American pass on the twisty section at the end of the lap, however, but, once past, Compton surged away on pursuit of the lone Vos.

Across the line with two to go, however, Compton had 1’09” to make up, with Lechner and van Paassen being joined by Nash and Chainel Lefevre a few seconds further back.

The penultimate lap was turning into another mano a mano battle between rivals Vos and Compton, with neither seemingly able to make any impression on the other. Compton had long since left the other chasers behind, but Vos was holding her off; the five-time champion took the bell, seemingly headed for a certain sixth title, with the American now 1’24” behind.

In the group behind van Paassen was beginning to struggle with the conditions and began to slip back; Nash was now at 1’36”, with Chainel Lefevre just behind her, while van Paassen and Lechner were now almost two minutes behind.

Number six for Vos as a tight battle decides the bronze medal

Vos passed through the pits for her first time in the race, to take a fresh bike for the final two-thirds of a lap, and continued her smooth progress towards the line. The champion-elect was taking absolutely no risks now, as she carefully took on the course’s steep drop offs and the slippery stone steps. Compton seemed sure of silver behind her, but Nash was chasing determinedly with Chainel Lefevre on her wheel, and so the American could not afford to relax for a moment.

Rounding the final corner Vos blew kisses, pulled of her sunglasses, and theatrically bowed to the crowd before raising both arms in the air as she crossed the line to take her record sixth World cyclocross title. Compton took the applause from her home crowd as she punched the air to take another silver, a full 1’34” behind.

Chainel Lefevre had come back on Nash and passed the Czech rider on a run up but a final corner incident saw Nash emerge first onto the finishing straight, on foot. As Nash remounted, however, it was clear that she had a mechanical problem and, as Chainel Lefevre came around on her own, working, bike, the Frenchwoman sprinted past, jubilantly punching the air as she took bronze.

Nash, scooting her bike along, managed to hold on to fourth, just ahead of van Paassen in fifth place, with Lechner just behind her.

Result World Cyclocross Championship Elite Women
1. Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
2. Katie Compton (United States) @ 1’34”
3. Lucie Chainel Lefevre (France) @ 2’10”
4. Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) @ 2’12”
5. Sanne van Paassen (Netherlands) 2’15”
6. Eva Lechner (Italy) @ 2’17”
7. Jasmin Achermann (Switzerland) @ 2’36”
8. Sabrina Stultiëns (Netherlands) @ 3’06”
9. Ellen Van Loy (Belgium) @ 3’18”
10. Kaitlin Antonneau (United States) @ 3’19”
11. Amy Dombroski (United States) @ 3’26”
12. Annie Last (Great Britain) @ 3’36’
13. Helen Wyman (Great Britain) @ 4’02”
14. Alice Arzuffi (Italy) @ 4’09”
15. Jade Wilcoxson (United States) @ 4’14”
16. Emily Batty (Canada) @ 4’17”
17. Georgia Gould (United States) @ 4’24”
18. Sanne Cant (Belgium) @ 4’26”
19. Mical Dyck (Canada) @ 4’39”
20. Pavla Havlikova (Czech Republic) @ 4’46”
21. Christel Ferrier Bruneau (France) @ 4’48”
22. Wendy Simms (Canada) @ 4’56”
23. Francesca Cauz (Italy) @ 5’07”
24. Pepper Harlton (Canada) @ 5’22”
25. Gabriella Day (Great Britain) @ 6’36”
26. Ayako Toyooka (Japan) -1 Lap
27. Julie Lafreniere (Canada) -1 Lap
28. Genevieve Whitson (New Zealand) -1 Lap
29. Martina Mikulaskova (Czech Republic) -1 Lap
30. Chika Fukumoto (Japan) -2 Laps
DNF Meredith Miller (United States)
DNS Madara Furmane (Latvia)


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