World cyclocross champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) continued her winning ways Sunday in Diegem, Belgium, taking the sixth round of the Superprestige series, four seconds ahead of teammate Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.
As it was at the World Cup event in Zolder on Friday, where U.S. national champion Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) withdrew to asthma, the race in Diegem was a three-woman battle for supremacy between Vos, Czech national champion Katerina Nash (Luna), and Ferrand-Prévot, the French national champion.
After riding at the front for the first half of the race, Nash crashed heavily, face-first into course fencing when she lost traction on the icy course. She was able to remount and continue, ultimately finishing third, 54 seconds behind Vos, who attacked Ferrand-Prévot on the final lap.
“It was really icy in one section and there was a little bit of shift from Marianne, and I went to the side and my front wheel just went down,” Nash said. “You just can’t turn on the ice at speed, those tires just aren’t made for it. It was a kind of unfortunate thing because I lost the wheel and it took me a while to get back and regroup a little bit…I smashed my leg a little bit, but nothing too bad.”
Both Vos and Ferrand-Prévot raced aboard Giant’s TCX Disc models. Ferrand-Prévot’s bike-handling skills were on display, as she was the only woman to bunnyhop the course barriers, a particularly daunting task given the icy conditions.
“I felt good today,” Ferrand-Prévot said. “Not in the training, but during the race I was quite good. I tried to do the race in the front because I wanted to take my own line. I felt more confident lap after lap. Katerina crashed and we were two in the front and Marianne was stronger. She’s the best teacher for me. I’m very happy, I can learn a lot from her. During the training I was not really good [in the icy conditions], but after, during the race, I tried to be relaxed and take my line and I was quite good. It was also good training for [the worlds] in Tabor, I think, so I was happy with the snow today.”
After three races of the 2014-15 season, Vos now has a second-place at Namur (to Nash), followed by a win at Zolder, and a win at Diegem, with the world championships a month away.
“I’m quite happy with where I am,” Vos said. “Last week I was rally nervous in Namur. It was okay, but I felt I really needed to make an extra step to feel more confident. Now it’s one week later and I already feel I made some progression. So that’s good to go into the next races and go into January.”
Dutch rider Ellen Van Loy (Telenet-Fidea) finished fourth, with Italian Eva Lechner (RusVelo) in fifth.
Belgian national champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP), currently the leader of the World Cup series, did not participate due to illness.
American Elle Anderson (Kalas-NNOF Cycling) finished 14th, 3:23 off the winning pace.
A seven-minute reap video from the women’s race can be found here.