Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) won the seventh round of the 2017 Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Zolder, Belgium on Tuesday.

Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) emerged victorious on Tuesday at the seventh round of the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Zolder, Belgium after putting in a powerful last lap attack to escape from Katie Compton (KFC Racing-Trek-Panache) and Eva Lechner (Clif Pro Team). Compton was able to finish second and Lechner was third.

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Despite heavy rains overnight, the course on the grounds of the Formula 1 track in Zolder was fairly dry on Tuesday and saw fast lap times. The rolling course has changed over the last few years with an added stair section on what used to be a steep run-up and a few steep final climbs and descents before hitting the pavement.

Cant grabbed the holeshot and was followed quickly by seven-time cyclocross world champion Marianne Vos (WM3), as Ellen van Loy (Telenet Fidea) and Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans) completed the top four.

Lucinda Brand (Sunweb), who had a dominant victory on Saturday at Waaslandcross, soon came to the front and added a bit of pace. Her increase in tempo saw a lead group of five at the end of the opening lap. Vos, van Loy, Lechner, and Cant joined Brand in the front. Americans Compton and Katie Keough (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) were together in a chase group behind.

Former cyclocross world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon-SRAM) and Jolanda Neff (Kross Racing) were both making their way through the pack, as due to a lack of UCI points they were forced to start near the back of the grid. The elite women’s race saw 66 starters from 17 countries in Zolder.

Brand continued to push the pace in the lead group early in the second lap and soon gapped the others. Just as Brand was moving off the front of the group, Brammeier, who had been riding alone in sixth, was able to bridge to the leaders. Soon Cant set off in pursuit of Brand, realizing the danger of letting the Dutchwoman slip away early after she did the same at the race on Saturday.

Toward the end of the second lap, Brand fell while dismounting on a steep run-up and lost her lead. Cant and Lechner passed the Team Sunweb rider, but a reforming on the pavement to end the lap saw the group come together. The leaders were now Brand, van Loy, Cant and Lechner with Compton chasing a few bike lengths behind. The 13-time U.S. national cyclocross champion made contact with the lead group just as they entered the grass section of the course.

The third lap of five saw the world champion put in a massive attack and shatter the lead group. When the dust settled, she held a slim lead over Compton and Lechner with van Loy and Brand both chasing solo in fourth and fifth. A large chase group followed in the fight for sixth. Vos led the chase powerfully down the finishing straight with Annemarie Worst (ERA-Circus), Laura Verdonschot (Marlux-Napolean Games), Neff, Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles), and Brammeier right on her wheel. Ferrand-Prevot was in the next group behind.

Compton left Lechner behind early on the penultimate lap and was able to connect with Cant midway through the round. She went straight to the front and put Cant in a bit of trouble with her tempo. Despite not being able to follow Compton’s pace in initially bridging to Cant, Lechner would find a strong rhythm and join the other two in the lead just before the final lap began.

The chase group behind had shrunk to van Loy, Brand, Vos, and Verdonschot. Prevot was still in the third group on the course, but the gap between her and the riders in front of her had shrunk massively.

The final lap saw an intense battle between Compton, Cant, and Lechner for the win. Compton seemed content to race from the front and appeared to not want to relinquish the lead at all. Cant was able to pass the American in the second half of the lap and led into the stair section. While she slipped at the bottom of the stairs, she was able to recover quickly and still came out of the section with a slight advantage over the other two.

Cant powered the rest of the way to finish and though Compton tried desperately to reach the European champion, she was unable to do so and had to settle for second. Lechner rounded out the podium a few seconds behind Compton.

Ferrand-Prevot put in a blistering final two laps to finish alone in fourth, only 16 seconds behind the winner. There was a moment in the final lap when it appeared she may reach the leading trio, but it was not to be. The top-five was completed by Vos.

The Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup series continues on January 21 in Nommay, France.

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