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Carsten Schabacher

Sanne Cant Cyclocross World Champion!

The Belgian Champion defends her World title after a hard fight on a very difficult course – Tom Lindner of STEVENS Racing Team finishes a strong fourth in the Juniors’ - Wout van Aert also repeats his success.

Sanne Cant, Cyclocross World Champion 2018, foto: Cor Vos
Sanne Cant, Cyclocross World Champion 2018, foto: Cor Vos

On a difficult and very muddy course in Valkenburg/Netherlands, Sanne Cant successfully defended her World Champion title. This way she will keep all the championship jerseys there are to win – the World and European Champion’s, the Belgian Champ’s and the World Cup leader’s.
In Valkenburg, the first time Sanne Cant took over the lead was at the end of the first of four laps. Before Christine Majerus (Lux), Ellen van Loy (BE) and Eva Lechner (IT) also had been at the front of the race.

Until the end of lap two the 28-year old held a 12-second lead over Katie Compton (USA), who also had advanced to the front. Yet, Compton managed to catch up. The American rode a fast pace and by the middle of the third lap she had opened a gap of up to eight seconds between her and Cant. Meanwhile Christine Majerus und Lucinda Brand fought a nevertheless captivating duel for place three. ”I had made a mistake so there was a significant gap between us. I knew that I needed to close it on the long descend to have a chance in the finale.”

In lap four, Cant who at some point had her doubts if she would ever be able to close that gap, slowly caught up with Compton. At the penultimate bike change – all riders changed their bikes twice per lap – they were head to head. In the finale Cant didn’t make any mistakes and broke away first by a small, then a significant margin. On the finish line she was ahead by 10 seconds and had all the time to celebrate. ”This was the toughest race I have ever ridden,” the old and new World Champion said after the race.

Katie Compton wins the Silver Medal after a strong effort, Lucinda Brand wins Bronze, who out-duelled Christine Majerus in the final lap. The only German starter, Elisabeth Brandau, rode a good race to finish fifth – congratulations! Annemarie Worst of ERA-Circus had a hard time dealing with the difficult course with its many carrying sections. The former U23 World Champion came in 14th.

Tom Lindner Finishes A Strong Fourth
Earlier in the U19 Juniors’ competition Tom Lindner of STEVENS Racing Team, who had started way outside the top ten, rode a technically and consistently strong race to advance to place four. In the end the German U19 Champion missed Bronze by only four seconds, which was won by Ryan Kamp from the Netherlands. New U19 World Champion is Ben Tulett from Great Britain, Tomas Kopecky from the Czech Republic wins Silver. By coming in fourth Lindner achieves the best result for Germany (not only) in the Juniors’ category in years. Congratulations!

On Sunday the U23 racers were the first to compete. Eli Iserbyt repeats his success from the 2016 and wins ahead of 2017 champion Joris Nieuwenhuis from the Netherlands and Yan Gras from France. Timo Kielich of Team ERA-Circus started his first U23 Worlds from the fifth grid to bravely and steadily advance to the front and eventually finish strongly in place 10. ”Starting from the fifth grid is always stressful. Luckily everything went smoothly,” said a pleased Kielich after the race.

His team mate Laurens Sweeck though had to deal with more stress at the Worlds. The Belgian vice champion suffered no less than five flats. Therefore his eighth place is even more impressive. ”Coming in eighth is not so bad but without these problems a lot more would have been possible,” Sweek said. ”I felt good and without these setbacks I certainly had finished in a better position.” In the fifth of seven laps Sweek who had aspired for a top-5 finish still was close to eventual fourth-placed Toon Aerts and during the race repeatedly clawed himself forward to position five. 2018 World Champion again becomes Wout van Aert of Crelan-Charles.

The course made difficult by heavy mud and 160m (524ft) of climbing per lap obviously suited him better than Mathieu van der Poel who in the end ”only” comes in third. Silver goes to Michael Vanthourenhout.

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