Navigating a course of ups and downs, mud, barriers, and a healthy dose of sand, Sanne Cant rode into the Bpost Bank Trofee series lead Saturday with a win at Scheldecross in Antwerp. The 25-year-old Enertherm-BKCP rider overcame a relatively slow start to nab a hard-earned second straight victory in the series, with Helen Wyman (Kona) nabbing runner-up honors and Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF) taking third.
Pavla Havlikova (MRM-Avalon) jumped out to the early lead in the opening lap in Antwerp, with Telenet-Fidea teammates Nikki Harris and Ellen Van Loy in hot pursuit. Wyman finished lap one 11 seconds behind Havlikova, with Cant and De Boer more than 15 seconds behind the leader. But Havlikova’s lead crumbled in the second lap.
Although she handled the treacherous sand with aplomb, Havlikova was unable to hold off her chasers on the straightaways. Harris overtook Havlikova near the end of the second lap, and then Wyman, De Boer, Van Loy, and Cant sailed past as well. Harris’s time out front did not last either.
Wyman took the lead moments after the second crossing of the finish line, and led through the end of the third lap, but Cant dispatched the other pursuers and started gaining ground, toughing it out on the varied terrain and taking advantage of every opportunity to close the gap to Wyman.
Cant charged past Wyman late in the fourth lap, and after Wyman struggled in the sand on the fifth lap, things appeared to be all wrapped up for Cant, but Wyman wouldn’t give up so easily. Despite finishing the fifth lap seven seconds behind Cant, Wyman clawed her way back and retook the lead near the end of the sixth lap.
But Cant was not to be denied in her pursuit of the win and overall series lead. She overtook Wyman early in the seventh and final lap, and then put on a clinic in the sand, finally putting Wyman behind her for good. She crossed the line eight seconds ahead of Wyman with both arms held high. De Boer came across the finish line 20 seconds behind Cant for third place.
Cant now holds a lead of one minute and 11 seconds in the Bpost Bank Trofee series over second-placed Jolien Verschueren (Telenet-Fidea), who could only manage a seventh place in Antwerp, finishing over a minute behind Cant.