Vos and Van Den Brand throw down nationals gauntlets
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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Vos and Van Den Brand throw down nationals gauntlets

by Ben Atkins at 1:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
 

On the final races before the Dutch National Championships in Heerlen next weekend, World champion Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) and current Dutch champion Daphny Van Den Brand (ZZPR.nl) both took the opportunity to stake their claim as favourite. The pair has exchanged results in races this season. Vos took victory in Boxing Day’s World Cup race in Zolder, Belgium after Van Den Brand had taken the Kalmthout race the weekend before.

Whether by accident or by design, the two rivals took the start in different races today with Van Den Brand one of only two Dutch riders at Tervuren, and Vos lining up alongside the rest of their compatriots at the GP Richard Groenendaal in Sint-Michielsgestel.

Vos attacked the rest of the main contenders with four laps remaining and seemed to effortlessly stay away to take a solo victory. Van Den Brand’s ZZPR.nl teammate Sanne Van Paassen was second and Reza Raven Stijn took third.

"I've noticed that my form is still in order,” Vos told De Telegraaf, “but I have no complaints in recent weeks about it. In Heerlen [the result] will probably go between me and Daphny and much is dependent on how the course is. If muddy, it is a very heavy lap. If it’s freezing, it will be more slippery. I have no preference.”

Despite being reigning European and World champion (her second rainbow jersey at just 22 years of age) Vos has yet to win the red, white and blue jersey of the champion of the Netherlands. Something she wants to put right this year.

"Daphny and I have battled for victory many times this winter and will next week be no different,” she said. “I hope at least after my European and World ones I can finally win the national title."

At Tervuren, Belgium Van Den Brand escaped a slightly more international field to take victory by more than a minute and a half. In second place was British rider Nikki Harris (AVB Cycling Team), who looks to have her best chance yet of ousting four-time British champion Helen Wyman at Sutton Coldfield next weekend.

Also staking her claim for a first ever national title next weekend will be Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus). The 19-year-old came in less than 30 seconds behind Harris and has been the Belgian in most races this season.

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