Czech mountain biking specialist Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) may have soloed to a sixth-round Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup victory over Italian teammate Eva Lechner and overall series leader Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF), however, it was anything but an easy win in Belgium on Sunday.
The 39-year-old Nash, who launched to an early race lead with Lechner in a blistering opening lap (7 minutes 53 seconds) – 28 seconds faster than last year’s opener on what is considered the most difficult course in the series, overcame a problem with her pedal, a surging de Boer and a puncture on the final lap to claim her second win in Namur.
“Today was pretty epic,” said Nash, who also registered the fastest lap time of the day (7:38) with an average speed of 19.88kph (12.35mph). “Sophie and Eva were was really strong … just a really good and exciting race.
“I couldn’t get in my pedals and actually got a flat on the last lap, so I came in for a clean bike and I think that really helped me.”
Nash also took the win over Marianne Vos and Katie Compton in 2014, and had previously finished second behind Compton in 2012.
“This place is special,” she said. “I don’t have a ton of world cup victories, so each one is very special.”
Pre-race favourites, including reigning world champion Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv) and round 5 winner Sanne Cant (IKO Enertherm-Beobank), were plagued by early race struggles due to mechanicals and crashes, while Nash and Lechner launched an early attack on the front. Nash rode clear to take a 20-second lead over de Boer, who managed to rally on the fourth lap as Nash had difficulty clipping in after remounting the bike following a steep climb.
After nearly two full laps of swapping leads, Nash pulled away on the latter half of the last lap when de Boer also suffered a flat tire, which relegated the Dutch rider to third behind a charging Lechner.
Reigning women’s under-23 world champion Evie Richards (GBR) crossed the line (48:44) as the first U23 rider – 11th overall.
- 1. Katerina NASH, (CZE), 47:14
- 2. Eva LECHNER, (ITA), 47:26
- 3. Sophie DE BOER, (NED), 47:35
- 4. Alice Maria ARZUFFI, (ITA), 47:42
- 5. Christine MAJERUS, (LUX), 47:48
- 6. Ellen VAN LOY, (BEL), 48:06
- 7. Amanda MILLER, (USA), 48:13
- 8. Nikki BRAMMEIER, (GBR), 48:17
- 9. Lucinda BRAND, (NED), 48:27
- 10. Maud KAPTHEIJNS, (NED), 48:27
- 11. Evie RICHARDS, (GBR), 48:44
- 12. Kaitlin ANTONNEAU, (USA), 49:04
- 13. Sanne CANT, (BEL), 49:11
- 14. Chiara TEOCCHI, (ITA), 49:37
- 15. Pavla HAVLIKOVA, (CZE), 49:46
- 16. Ellen NOBLE, (USA), 50:13
- 17. Jolien VERSCHUEREN, (BEL), 50:16
- 18. Nadja HEIGL, (AUT), 50:32
- 19. Nikola NOSKOVA, (CZE), 50:37
- 20. Lucie CHAINEL, (FRA), 50:45
- 21. Ffion JAMES, (GBR), 50:52
- 22. Emma WHITE, (USA), 51:14
- 23. Loes SELS, (BEL), 51:26
- 24. Aida NUNO PALACIO, (ESP), 51:40
- 25. Joyce VANDERBEKEN, (BEL), 51:46
- 26. Inge VAN DER HEIJDEN, (NED), 51:48
- 27. Karen VERHESTRAETEN, (BEL), 51:50
- 28. Laura VERDONSCHOT, (BEL), 51:53
- 29. Hélène CLAUZEL, (FRA), 51:55
- 30. Evita MUZIC, (FRA), 51:59
- 31. Manon BAKKER, (NED), 52:13
- 32. Yara KASTELIJN, (NED), 52:44
- 33. Elle ANDERSON, (USA), 52:48
- 34. Kim VAN DE STEENE, (BEL), 52:51
- 35. Fanny STUMPF, (FRA), 53:04
- 36. Perrine CLAUZEL, (FRA), 53:10
- 37. Maelle GROSSETETE, (FRA), 53:12
- 38. Hannah PAYTON, (GBR), 53:31
- 39. Amira MELLOR, (GBR), 53:46
- 40. Lisa HECKMANN, (GER), 54:02
- 41. Pauline DELHAYE, (FRA), 54:30
- 42. Olatz ODRIOZOLA MUJIKA, (ESP), 54:37
- 43. Åsa-Maria ERLANDSSON, (SWE), 55:31
- 44. Lindy VAN ANROOIJ, (NED), DNF
- 45. Luisa IBARROLA ALBIZUA, (ESP), DNF
- 46. Nikola BAJGEROVA, (CZE), DNF
- 47. Christine VARDAROS, (USA), DNF
- 48. Lena BISCHOFF-STEIN, (GER), DNF
- 49. Suzie GODART, (LUX), DNF