Seven-time world cyclocross champion Marianne Vos (Waowdeals) extended her lead in the UCI World Cup overall with a win Wednesday at Heusden-Zolder, Belgium. Vos took her third World Cup of the 2018-’19 season, right ahead of fellow Dutchwoman Lucinda Brand (Sunweb). Reigning world champ Sanne Cant (Corendon-Circus) was third.
On a cold, dry day after Christmas, Vos went to work right away, taking the holeshot on the high-speed paved start straight on the Zolder auto racing track.
A three-rider crash on the first corner and her fast start off the line saw Vos with an early solo lead. Though she tried to ride away on the first lap, the race was bound to regroup given the conditions.
When it did, Vos found herself joined by Cant and her Corendon teammate Carmen Alvarado, Brand, and Niki Brammeier (Mudiiita-Specialized).
While the race for the win came down to Vos and Brand, the two had to overcome setbacks early in the race.
In the first two laps, Brand crashed while Cant was piling on the pressure. This forced the Dutch champion, winner of the previous World Cup round, to chase along with Alvarado and Brammeier, who had been held up by the crash.
When they returned to the front of the race, around two laps to go, it was Vos’s turn to lose touch with the leaders. In her case, the issue was mechanical.
However, despite Cant’s best efforts to shred the front group apart, Vos was back in the mix by the final lap of racing and she still had plenty of matches to burn. She attacked and only Brand could follow. Brand made a small bobble in the closing moments of the race, opening the door for Vos to win. It was her seventh win at Zolder over the course of her decorated career.
The World Cup resumes January 20 at Pont-Château, France.