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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #9 - CDM
Hoogerheide, Netherlands, January 20, 2008
Race 3 - January 20: Elite Women
Kupfernagel wins convincingly
By Brecht Decaluwé in Hoogerheide
Last week's World Cup race in Liévin already showed that Hanka Kupfernagel will be a favourite for a fourth cyclo-cross world title next weekend, and today she stepped more fully into that role of major favourite by claiming her second consecutive World Cup victory.
"This morning I was still feeling nervous, but I was looking forward to the competition," Kupfernagel said that she wasn't too convinced that she could do well in The Netherlands. "Today I feel that everything we worked for in the past few weeks is starting to deliver."
Delivering is the right word, but it doesn't describe how much the German woman has been dominating the last couple of races. In Hoogerheide she overpowered the other women and put a minute on runner-up Maryline Salvetat. "I'm very strong right now," Kupfernagel said. "I could win, even though I don't like this course and I'm not looking forward to seeing the World Championships on this course next year," said Kupfernagel, not hiding her distaste.
World champion Salvetat wasn't a serious threat for Kupfernagel in Hoogerheide, and after the race she wasn't too happy. "I didn't want to start too fast on this tough course. As a result I was riding a race where I was moving up positions all the time," Salvetat said to Cyclingnews. Eventually the French woman caught everybody except winner Kupfernagel.
"I'm unhappy, but that's mainly because I hurt myself on the same place where I was already injured," Salvetat said, pointing to the side of her chest. "Hanka [Kupfernagel] is very strong, but everything remains possible for Treviso," said worlds hopeful Salvetat nonetheless.
Third place was filled by a woman with similar spirit although this was the first race in a while in which her confidence translated into a good result. Helen Wyman finished third after leading the race for a short while and said she had no doubts about her capabilities. "I knew that I'm capable of this, because technically I'm better than ever," Wyman said. "I'm, let's say, quite happy," Wyman said in a restrained way and then smiled to show that she was really happy with her morale boosting performance. When asked if she was a real threat for Kupfernagel, Wyman demurred, "She is so strong on a course like this."
Just like UCI men's points leader Sven Nys, the women's UCI-leader Daphny Van Den Brand is suffering doubts about her form one week before the most important race of the season. Nys rode almost the same race as the Dutch 29 year-old.
Van Den Brand had a good start, and then also dropped back to twelfth position at the finish line. Unlike Nys she knew what the problem was her poor performance. "I'm struggling with the air over here," Van Den Brand said about the pollen which are bothering her. "I had a good start, but I felt the others were going too fast. I couldn't go as deeply as I wanted since my heart rate was too high, and I couldn't breathe properly. I must admit there is some panic now," Van Den Brand said to Cyclingnews.
Canadian Wendy Simms added another strong performance and a good result to her European tour with a fifth place in Hoogerheide. At the finish line she explained her race. "I had a bad start, and I ended up riding in a group with the Belgian champion Sels, Melchers and Pohl who rode for fourth place. Sometimes I gained positions on a section, but then [I] messed up at another one; it was always backward/forward. I tried to drop the other at the start of the last lap, but they stayed within reach. Eventually I finished second in the sprint," Simms said.
Katie Compton was present but didn't start in Hoogerheide due to health reasons. The runner-up at the World Championships 2007 indicated she is suffering a muscular problem and is in serious doubts about her chances for Treviso.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mark Legg
1 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Focus 38.50 2 Maryline Salvetat (Fra) VSLL Castres 0.57 3 Helen Wyman (GBr) Global Racing Team 1.08 4 Stephanie Pohl (Ger) Team Getränke-Hoffmann 1.40 5 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona-Yor Key Mortgage Team 6 Loes Sels (Bel) Vlaanderen - Capri Sonne - T Interim 7 Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Ned) Team Flexpoint 1.43 8 Pavla Havlikova (Cze) KC Kooperativa SG Jablonec n.N 1.48 9 Nadia Triquet-Claude (Fra) UC Bassin Houiller 1.51 10 Veerle Ingels (Bel) AVB/USspa Cycling Team 11 Saskia Elemans (Ned) WV de Meteoor 12 Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 2.06 13 Caroline Mani (Fra) CR Franche Comté 14 Birgit Hollmann (Ger) Team Getränke-Hoffmann 15 Christelle Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Les Pruneaux D'Agen 16 Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) ZZPR.nl 2.14 17 Laurence Leboucher (Fra) Sarthe-Gasseau 2.17 18 Susanne Juranek (Ger) RSC Oldenburg 1965 2.23 19 Sue Butler (USA) River City Bicycles 2.39 20 Rachel Lloyd (USA) Proman/Paradigm 21 Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Team DSB Bank 3.17 22 Sanne Cant (Bel) ASD Selle Italia Guerciotti 23 Kerry Barnholt (USA) Tokyo Joes/Van Dessel 3.20 24 Amy Dombroski (USA) Webcor Builders Cycling Team 3.22 25 Wendy Williams (USA) River City Bicycles 3.59 26 Abke Francissen (Ned) Team Brabant 2000 4.04 27 Arenda Grimberg (Ned) Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports - OdySis 4.19 28 Ludivine Henrion (Bel) AA-Drink Cycling Team 4.40 29 Gabriella Day (GBr) Global Racing Team 4.46 30 Loes Markerink (Ned) Team Flexpoint 4.57 31 Elke Riedl (Ned) Restore Cycling 5.08 32 Katrien Aerts (Bel) Benelux Team 5.22 33 Kelly Jones (Can) Sugoi/Cannondale/Bontrager 5.28 34 Mika Ogishima (Jpn) UWTC de Volharding 35 Jasmin Achermann (Swi) VC Rain Toshiba 6.08 36 Gertie Willems (Bel) Wielerpromotieclub Jeugdteam 6.10 37 Ayako Toyooka (Jpn) 6.26 38 Katrien Van Looy (Bel) Vlaanderen - Capri Sonne - T Interim 6.36 39 Lise Müller (Swi) Cyclophile Sédunois 8.26 40 Christine Vardaros (USA) Team Vanderkitten 9.01 41 Masumi Sakai (Jpn) 9.43 Behind one lap 42 Joanie Caron (Can) DNS Katie Compton (USA) Spike Shooter DNS Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team