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2007 Cyclo-cross World Championships - CM
Hooglede-Gits, Belgium, January 27-28, 2007
Race 3 - January 28: Women
Salvetat surprises in Belgium
Top favourite Kupfernagel reigns early before dropping away
By Brecht Decaluwé in Hooglede-Gits
In a major surprise in the women's race, German Hanka Kupfernagel was unable to convert her pre-race favourite status into a world title while Maryline Salvetat nailed an unexpected win. Kupfernagel had a great start, but halfway through the race she suffered a pedal-related mechanical and then dropped back from the lead. Defending champion Marianne Vos from The Netherlands was never in contention for the title either, and when her compatriot Daphny Van Den Brand crashed, it was clear an outsider would grab the title.
US national champion Katie Compton came close to the win, but faced an unfair battle against two French ladies. Laurence Leboucher dropped the pace while riding in second position thereby forcing Compton to close the gap in the final moments of the race. Compton made a valiant effort, but could not regain the wheel of Salvetat before the final straight. An emotional Salvetat won the gold in front of Compton and compatriot Leboucher.
"I had a bad start as an Italian girl blocked the road. It took me more than a lap to come back. I only started to believe in my chances when there was only 400 metres to go. I didn't raise my hands as I didn't know where Compton was, but I can assure you that I'm really excited," Salvetat said.
Tomorrow the newly crowned world champion drops back into the real world though as a day at the office awaits, Salvetat works as an osteopath. Last year, the 32-year-old almost decided to quit racing but luckily a visit to Africa gave her a revived view of the sport. "I arrived here with a mind to do well. I had energy and form," she said.
The French women exploited their numerical advance to keep Compton from the victory. "Actually we didn't talk before the race, we know each other so well that everything automatically happens," Salvetat explained.
Just like junior Danny Summerhill yesterday, Katie Compton managed a silver medal for the US. "I watched yesterday's race, and I thought about it during the race, learning that I should be patient," Compton said. The 28-year-old Colorado woman made her debut at the worlds. Previously, she declined to race the worlds because she was the pilot of a tandem for a disabled rider competing in the Paralympics. "I'm the first US woman grabbing a medal at the worlds, this is hard to believe!" Compton said to Cyclingnews. "I flew in last week and competed in my first World Cup race where I learned a lot, choosing when to move up and when to be patient," she explained.
The newly crowned world champion Salvetat said she knew that Compton could be a threat at the worlds. "I never raced with her, but I checked her results on the web and I saw she had beaten Lyne Bessette quite often, and she's a big name in women's cycling."
Twice a world champion, in 2002 and 2004, Leboucher was happy with the bronze. "I wanted to secure the gold for France and placed myself behind Compton. Our force is that we're together in front and we exploit that, as we're both not that fast at the finish line," Leboucher explained. It was a tactic that paid off for the French women, who, together with the sixth place from compatriot Christelle Ferrier-Bruneau, dominated these women's worlds.
How it unfolded
German Hanka Kupfernagel managed the hole shot followed by defending world champion Marianne Vos and Daphny Van Den Brand. Helen Wyman was held up by a crash involving an Italian woman, but Kupfernagel led the bunch through the first part of the course until the sand sector where she was the only woman to ride through the 35 metre long stretch.
By the end of the opening lap, Kupfernagel had a lead of eight seconds on Leboucher, Vos, Compton, Ferrier-Bruneau and Salvetat. Kupfernagel looked to be suffering during the second lap as Leboucher came closer. Nobody made it riding through the sand sector this time while Kupfernagel seemed to find her second wind. Six women trailed at fifteen seconds with Birgit Hollmann not too far behind them.
Salvetat and Compton took the initiative during the third lap; Leboucher nestled herself at the rear end of the group. Kupfernagel succeeded in riding through the sand again, disappearing out of sight from the pursuers.
Going into the penultimate lap, Kupfernagel had a lead of eleven seconds on Van Den Brand and Compton; by that time Vos was out of contention for the victory trailing at 25 seconds.
When Kupfernagel suffered from mechanicals relating to her pedas, Van Den Brand bridged up to the German champion together with Leboucher, Salvetat, and Compton. The Dutch woman led the group throughout this lap while Kupfernagel kept losing ground dropping out of the group. A crash from Van Den Brand at the end of the fourth lap resulted in a group of three women at the front, the French duo and one American. Van Den Brand trailed at eight seconds. Kupfernagel had crashed, too, and rode together with Ferrier-Bruneau in fifth and sixth positions.
During the ultimate lap, Salvetat led the two other women throughout the course and when Leboucher dropped the pace, Salvetat gained a few metres on both. Leboucher dropped off even more in the final run of the sand sector, offering Salvetat the world title. Compton did all she could to make it back to Salvetat but her efforts were in vain, as Salvetat managed to keep the slight gap until the finish. The American came close but had to settle for second while Leboucher completed the podium. Van Den Brand ended up in fourth and Kupfernagel came in fifth, together with Ferrier-Bruneau in sixth. Defending champion Vos could only manage seventh place.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Brecht Decaluwé/Cyclingnews.com
Images by AFP Photo
Images by Russ and Nancy Wright/www.abbiorca.com
Images by Mitch Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com
Images by PhotoSport International
Images by Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews
Images by John Pierce/PhotoSport International
Images by Mark Legg
1 Maryline Salvetat (France) 42.57 2 Katie Compton (USA) 0.01 3 Laurence Leboucher (France) 0.09 4 Daphny Van Den Brand (Netherlands) 0.31 5 Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) 0.41 6 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (France) 0.43 7 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 1.12 8 Birgit Hollmann (Germany) 1.33 9 Helen Wyman (Great Britain) 2.26 10 Linda Van Rijen (Netherlands) 2.42 11 Rhonda Mazza (USA) 2.49 12 Loes Sels (Belgium) 3.01 13 Susanne Juranek (Germany) 3.17 14 Reza Ravenstein (Netherlands) 3.27 15 Kerry Barnholt (USA) 3.36 16 Nadia Triquet (France) 3.46 17 Stephanie Pohl (Germany) 3.56 18 Sanne Cant (Belgium) 4.11 19 Vania Rossi (Italy) 4.14 20 Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands) 21 Rosa Maria Bravo Soba (Spain) 22 Milena Cavani (Italy) 23 Caroline Mani (France) 24 Gabriella Day (Great Britain) 25 Ayako Toyooka Japan 26 Veerle Ingels (Belgium) 27 Arenda Grimberg (Netherlands) 28 Claudia Siedel (Germany) 29 Tara Ross (Canada) 30 Rocio Gamonal Ferrera (Spain) 31 Alessandra Fatato (Italy) 32 Deidre Winfield (USA) 33 Christine Vardaros (USA) 34 Francesca Cuccinello (Italy) 35 Hilde Quintens (Belgium) 36 Daniela Bresciani (Italy) 37 Ruth Moll Marques (Spain) 38 Nicol Kampeter (Germany) 39 Katrien Pauwels (Belgium) 40 Mika Ogishima (Japan) 41 Michiko Shimura (Japan) 42 Ikumi Tajika (Japan) 43 Tatjana Kaliakina (Lithuania) 44 Kristiana Strachovic (Lithuania)