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UCI Cyclocross World Cup Lignières-en-Berry

photo credits @ UCI

The sixth round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup round in Lignières-en-Berry, in the heart of France, delivered four great races on a cold but sunny Sunday. The slightly muddy course at the ‘Horse and Donkey Center’ mixed numerous technical obstacles with a few power sections. On this challenging course World champion Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) and European champion Sanne Cant (Belgium) were able to display their excellent form with solo victories in the Elite Men’s and Women’s categories respectively. 

Race Highlights 

During the first half of the race in the Elite Men category Van der Poel was trying to move up through the field. He lost a lot of ground at the beginning of the race despite a front-row start position. Once up front there were only eight riders left to battle for the victory in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Young Clément Venturini (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) was the only French rider who featured in this front group but he faded during the second half of the race. When Van der Poel set a fierce pace in front of the group in the fifth lap only his compatriot Lars van der Haar (Team Giant-Alpecin) briefly managed to keep up. World Cup leader Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice Continental Team) missed the decisive move after losing all speed at a tricky short off-camber climb. In the remaining laps Van der Poel kept riding away from his rivals. He had time to show off his BMX-skills at the fly-over. He added some more spectacle to his one-man-show by completing the finishing straight with a one-handed wheelie. It’s the third World Cup victory in a row for Van der Poel but due to his knee injury at the beginning of the season the 20 year-old is no factor for the overall victory in the World Cup. Van Aert and Van der Haar are the top-ranked riders in the World Cup standings and they battle for second place in Lignières-en-Berry. Van Aert was able to drop Van der Haar in the final lap, extending his World Cup lead ahead of the final World Cup round with five additional points up to 21 points. Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games Cycling Team) won the battle for fourth place at 45 seconds from winner Van der Poel. He’s third in the World Cup standings at fifty points from Van der Poel. On the podium Van der Poel received a hug from cycling legend Raymond Poulidor, the grandfather of Van der Poel, who lives nearby Lignières.

Top 20 Elite Men 

1 Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP – Corendon 1:00:50
2 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice Continental Team 0:00:13
3 Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant – Alpecin 0:00:17
4 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:00:45
5 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:56
6 Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era – Murprotec 0:01:01
7 Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink 0:01:03
8 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:01:10
9 Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
10 Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:01:26
11 Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:01:42
12 Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice Continental Team 0:01:57
13 Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team
14 David Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP – Corendon 0:01:58
15 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:02:20
16 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:02:31
17 Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era – Murprotec 0:02:36
18 Marcel Meisen (Ger) 0:02:40
19 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:02:45
20 Simon Zahner (Swi) 0:02:49

In the elite women’s race, Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) vanquished her rivals at the inaugural UCI World Cup round in Lignières, France today.

The Belgian rider commenced a long solo effort to win ahead of compatriot Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Italian champion Eva Lechner (Luna Pro Team).

“It wasn’t my best feeling. I had a good race. I just rode on my own so I didn’t have mistakes. It was a nice course. I’m happy that I could win. If I can train two more weeks really well, then maybe I can win in Zolder. I’ve worked the whole year for that. I hope I can win,” Cant said.

Race Highlights

Both Cant and Van Looy got off to a great start today, with the latter claiming the hole shot.

Shortly thereafter,  Lechner briefly followed the two Belgian leaders, but once Cant took over the lead from Van Loy a slight gap started to emerge.

Indeed, by the end of the first lap, Cant had opened up a three-second gap over Van Loy, while Lechner trailed at seven seconds back, while Pavla Havlikova (MRM-Avalon) closely marked her wheel.

“I wanted to make the least possible mistakes while riding at the limit for most of the race. It’s been a while since I did that. Ellen rode really fast during the opening lap. Then I took a pull. It’s too bad Ellen wasn’t able to keep up. It would’ve been a good race with the two of us,” Cant said.

From there, Cant continued to ride away from Van Loy halfway through the final five laps, while Lechner managed to ride clear of Havlikova, but continued to lose ground on the two Belgian leaders.  

As the lead duo entered into the final two laps, Cant was so far ahead of her rival, the Belgian champion was seen cleaning off her World Cup jersey, as she prepared to cross the line in a solo finish.

Meanwhile, Lechner continued to close in on Van Loy, but the Belgian rider had enough left in her reserves, that she was able to hold-off the Italian rider during the final lap. 

In the meantime, the French champion Caroline Mani was able to win the battle for fourth place on her home turf, while Kaitlin Antonneau was fifth, well ahead of Sophie De Boer, Helen Wyman and Havlikova. 

As result of her victory today, Cant now holds 282 points in the World Cup standings, a 32 point lead over Lechner’s 250, with only next week’s final World Cup round in Hoogerheide, Netherlands left to race.

In addition, Van Loy moved up from fifth to third place with 205 points today, while British rider, Nikki Harris, remains fourth with 184 points – an 11 lead over US champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective).

Top 20 Elite Women

1 Sanne Cant (Bel) 0:44:03
2 Ellen Van Loy (Bel) 0:00:21
3 Eva Lechner (Ita) 0:00:24
4 Caroline Mani (Fra) 0:00:43
5 Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Twenty16 – Ridebiker 0:00:49
6 Sophie De Boer (Ned) 0:00:55
7 Helen Wyman (GBr) 0:01:07
8 Pavla Havlikova (Cze) 0:01:15
9 Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) 0:01:20
10 Nikki Harris (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team 0:01:23
11 Chiara Teocchi (Ita) 0:01:28
12 Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team 0:01:39
13 Femke Van Den Driessche (Bel) 0:01:44
14 Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-Zannata 0:01:54
15 Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) 0:01:59
16 Nikola Noskova (Cze) 0:02:04
17 Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) 0:02:10
18 Mical Dyck (Can) 0:02:36
19 Elle Anderson (USA) Rally Cycling 0:02:44
20 Laura Verdonschot (Bel) 0:02:50

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