The final round of the final round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup was held on 20 Jan in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. The Women’s competition was already decided in Rome, where Katie Compton did enough to secure the overall victory before today’s race, which was won by Dutchwoman (Superwoman?) Marianne Vos. Sven Nys had a poor race in Italy, possibly due to sickness, and had fallen out of contention for the men’s title . It was a shoot-out between Albet and Pauwels for the win: Albert had to stay within a couple of places of Pauwels at the finish to secure the overall victory.
Conditions around the parcours were difficult with a lot of snow and ice making things interesting. Riders struggled to stay upright at corners, and run ups/offs. One down-up switchback provided entertainment as everyone had problems with footing. Albert hit the ground very painfully here toward the end, he will have a bruised tail-bone in the morning.
There were problems with the feed I was using and I caught the 2nd half of the race, just as things were hotting up. Not literally of course, it looked very chilly! Homeboy Van der Haar was trying hard to escape from a group including the Czechs Bina & Simunek, the Swiss Zahner & the two title candidates Albert & Pauwels. With several laps to go Bina made his move to the front of the group and was off, quickly building up a lead of 10 seconds. Van der Haar was determined to win on home soil and did his best to chase Bina down, but the Czech pedalled and slithered and at once stage bounced his way around, all the while staying ahead of the Dutchman and the chasing pack.
It soon became clear that Bina was going to win this round, but it was still uncertain as to who would complete the podium and who would win the overall. With around three laps to go Pauwel made his move on a floundering Albert and suddenly found himself in 2nd place, with Albert lying in 5/6th and going back. Pauwels was the virtual series leader and was looking good for the win. However on the penultimate lap he overcooked the icy drop off by the tiniest of margins and clipped a barrier, which caused him to drop his chain. Within seconds Albert flashed past and was on his way to winning the World Cup.
The final podium places for today’s men’s race:
2/ Van der Haar
The next major race is the World Championships in Louiseville USA
And they don’t come much bigger than this!