The slippery mud of Hoogerheide, the Netherlands could not slow down Dutchwoman Sophie De Boer, who dominated Sunday’s UCI World Cup finale to grab her first-ever victory on the circuit. De Boer (Kalas-NNOF) surged away from her chasers on two separate occasions, and eventually left them for good on the second of four laps.
Behind De Boer, World Cup leader Sanne Cant overcame a slow opening lap to finish fifth, which preserved her lead in the final World Cup standings. Cant, the 2014/15 World Cup champion, now joins Daphny van den Brand, Hanke Kupfernagel and Katie Compton as a multi-time winner of the series.
UCI World Cup Hoogerheide results:
- 1. Sophie De Boer ,40:30
- 2. Thalita De Jong ,41:05
- 3. Nikki Harris ,41:08
- 4. Caroline Mani ,41:31
- 5. Sanne Cant ,41:36
- 6. Jolien Verschueren ,41:39
- 7. Helen Wyman ,41:41
- 8. Eva Lechner ,42:03
- 9. Christine Majerus ,42:19
- 10. Sabrina Stultiens ,42:31
“Last year I was very happy [to win the World Cup] and I never thought it would be the same this year,” Cant said. “So I’m very, very happy.”
Cant and Compton suffered from the gun, with the American losing valuable positions due to a missed pedal. Ahead, De Boer grabbed an early lead, and quickly distanced herself from chasers Talitha de Jong (RaboLiv) and Nikki Harris (Boels Dolmans Cycling). The two eventually caught De Boer near the end of the first lap, but the 25-year-old De Boer distanced herself for good on the ensuing lap.
De Boer appeared to increase her gap throughout the race’s second half, eventually crossing the line with a 35-second buffer on De Jong, with Harris another three seconds in arrears.
De Boer said the home-turf advantage gave her extra motivation and played to her skills.
“I really liked this course. It’s a hard mud course, and luckily it rained the last two days,” she said. “I had a lot of people on the sideline who were screaming, ‘This is the gap!’ so I knew the gap wasn’t getting smaller and I could do my own race.”
The victory thrusts De Boer onto the short list of potential winners at next weekend’s UCI World Championships race in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.
American riders struggled in the mud of Hoogerheide, with Compton finishing as the top U.S. rider in 12th, 2:29 down. American racer Meredith Miller completed the final World Cup race of her career, crossing the line in 26th place.
“I always want better but I can say that I am happy with what I’ve accomplished over the last 8 years,” Miller wrote on Twitter. “And when I hear my name all the way around the course it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished more than just being a cyclist.”