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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #1 - CDM
Kalmthout, Belgium, October 19, 2008
Race 2 - October 19: Elite Women, 40 minutes
Van den Brand dominates in Kalmthout
By Brecht Decaluwé in Kalmthout
Daphny van den Brand's blonde plaits were dancing again in Kalmthout where she won the World Cup opener for the third consecutive time. Dutchwoman Van den Brand took the initiative during most of the race, but she had to wait for the ultimate lap to create a decisive gap over World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel. The German woman easily held off young Pavla Havlikova of Czech in the sprint for second place.
Canadian Wendy Simms rode a steady race and finished eighth while pre-race favourite Katie Compton of the USA pulled out during the first lap.
Thirty seven riders started the women's race in Kalmthout where the sun was shining and the course had dried up, making it a fast race. Saskia Elemans (Team Flexpoint) claimed the best start in front of van den Brand, Hanka Kupfernagel, Maryline Salvetat and Helen Wyman (Swift Racing).
During the first lap van den Brand and Kupfernagel jumped away, with Wyman struggling to follow the pace and with the rest struggling still more. By then, Katie Compton had pulled out of the race, possibly because of the same muscle injury that spoiled her World Championships in Treviso at the end of last season.
By the end of the first lap, the two leaders paced themselves once they noticed that it was too soon to create big gaps. A group of six leaders crossed the finish line for the first time. This group consisted of van den Brand, Kupfernagel, Wyman, Nadia Triquet-Claude (Team Pro Feminin Les Carroz), Pavla Havlikova and Elemans, and they were followed by young Belgian Sanne Cant and another group of about ten riders that included Simms.
Van den Brand couldn't hide her strong legs and halfway the second lap, she attacked in the forest. Only Kupfernagel and Havlikova could follow.
Kupfernagel had a go during the third lap, but again it was van den Brand who attacked in the forest; clearly the technical corners and the short climb suited her racing style to perfection. The Dutch champion took five seconds out of Kupfernagel and about ten seconds on a group led by Havlikova. The series of acceleration was causing serious casualties behind, and Wyman was among them. The British rider dropped back.
During the fourth and fifth lap, no serious attacks were launched. A group of six women rode together with Kupfernagel and van den Brand leading the way. The pair were kept company by Elemans, Havlikova, Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Team Lot-Et-Garonne) and Triquet-Claude. Five women including, Simms chased at twenty seconds and Wyman was a little further back. From the lead group of six, the ultimate lap would decide the winner in Kalmthout.
World champion Kupfernagel led during the first part of the last lap. Ferrier-Bruneau took over from the German woman before the forest with van den Brand riding in second and Kupfernagel right behind the Dutch champion. In the forest, van den Brand took over from Ferrier-Bruneau and attacked. Kupfernagel couldn't get passed the French woman, who in turn couldn't follow van den Brand.
"That was a mistake," Kupfernagel said to Cyclingnews after the race. "I knew Daphny was better in the technical sections but I thought I could make up for that elsewhere."
When Kupfernagel finally got past Ferrier-Bruneau, the gap was too big to close and van den Brand rode towards her third consecutive victory in Kalmthout. "And that while I wasn't very good," van den Brand said.
Despite winning for the fourth consecutive time in Kalmthout [one event was not a World cup - ed.], the Dutch champion pointed out that the course didn't suit her. "I prefer rain and mud. Today I could speculate on my sprint, but in the last lap I figured to try it on my own anyway," van den Brand said. Behind her it was Kupfernagel who grabbed a well-deserved second place ahead of Havlikova.
Kupfernagel concluded that she did a good job for the day. "I'm happy with my performance because I wanted to finish in the top-six but now I'm on the podium."
Czech talent Havlikova had a chance to win but had to settle for third. When Cyclingnews talked with the Czech 25 year-old, she couldn't hide her happiness. "For me this is very good," Havlikova said," as this is my first podium finish in a World Cup race."
Next weekend Havlikova will aim for an even better result on home turf in Tabor in the Czech Republic.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Brecht Decaluwé
1 Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned) 39.48 2 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) 0.05 3 Pavla Havlikova (Cze) 0.06 4 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Team Lot-Et-Garonne 5 Nadia Triquet-Claude (Fra) Team Pro Feminin Les Carroz 0.13 6 Saskia Elemans (Ned) Team Flexpoint 0.14 7 Maryline Salvetat (Fra) 0.32 8 Wendy Simms (Can) 0.34 9 Veerle Ingels (Bel) 0.35 10 Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Team DSB Bank 0.37 11 Caroline Mani (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope 0.38 12 Helen Wyman (GBr) Swift Racing 0.59 13 Arenda Grimberg (Ned) 1.54 14 Susan Butler (USA) 15 Sanne Cant (Bel) 1.55 16 Linda Van Rijen (Ned) Team DSB Bank 17 Veronica Alessio (Ita) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox 18 Gabriella Day (GBr) Swift Racing 1.56 19 Abke Francissen (Ned) 2.30 20 Birgit Hollmann (Ger) 2.32 21 Jana Kyptova (Cze) 3.05 22 Elke Riedl (Aut) 3.13 23 Mika Ogishima (Jpn) 3.17 24 Nancy Bober (Bel) 3.45 25 Gertie Willems (Bel) 3.46 26 Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Ned) 3.54 27 Lise Müller (Swi) 4.43 28 Francis Keizer (Ned) 4.55 29 Jana Suess (Ger) 5.03 30 Christine Vardaros (USA) 31 Suzie Godart (Lux) Fenixs 32 Jennifer Sagesser (Swi) 6.30 33 Katrien Vermeiren (Bel) 7.01 34 Dorien Raeymaekers (Bel) 7.19 35 Kim Van Renterghem (Bel) 7.56 36 Zuzana Vojtasova (Svk) 8.17 DNF Katherine Compton (USA) DNS Nicole De Bie - Leyten (Bel)
1 Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned) 60 pts 2 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) 50 3 Pavla Havlikova (Cze) 45 4 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Team Lot-Et-Garonne 40 5 Nadia Triquet-Claude (Fra) Team Pro Feminin Les Carroz 35 6 Saskia Elemans (Ned) Team Flexpoint 30 7 Maryline Salvetat (Fra) 28 8 Wendy Simms (Can) 26 9 Veerle Ingels (Bel) 24 10 Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Team Dsb Bank 22 11 Caroline Mani (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope 20 12 Helen Wyman (GBr) Swift Racing 19 13 Arenda Grimberg (Ned) 18 14 Susan Butler (USA) 17 15 Sanne Cant (Bel) 16 16 Linda Van Rijen (Ned) Team Dsb Bank 15 17 Veronica Alessio (Ita) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox 14 18 Gabriella Day (GBr) Swift Racing 13 19 Abke Francissen (Ned) 12 20 Birgit Hollmann (Ger) 11 21 Jana Kyptova (Cze) 10 22 Elke Riedl (Aut) 9 23 Mika Ogishima (Jpn) 8 24 Nancy Bober (Bel) 7 25 Gertie Willems (Bel) 6 26 Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Ned) 5 27 Lise Müller (Swi) 4 28 Francis Keizer (Ned) 3 29 Jana Suess (Ger) 2 30 Christine Vardaros (USA) 1