Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) and Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) won at the Trek Cyclocross Cup in Waterloo on Friday. The C2 race precedes Sunday’s final World Cup round, also in Waterloo.
Neff uses mountain bike skills to her advantage
Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) went solo from lap four of seven to take the win by almost 40 seconds.
Neff, Katie Keough (Cannondale), and Caroline Mani (Pactimo) were all aggressive during the first laps of the race before the pace at the front of the action eased and a group of six came together, made up of Neff, Mani, Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Baloise Lions), Lucia Gonzalez (NESTA), Clara Honsinger (S&M) and Jenn Jackson (Easton).
Mountain biker Neff was able to use her multi-discipline skills to hop the barriers throughout the race, and in lap four, she used this to base her attack as she distanced the group and accelerated away.
“We had a really big group until the middle of the race, and then at the barriers I got a bit of a gap because I jumped,” she said afterward. “That was cool, and then I just went for it.”
As Neff continued to grow her gap, the five she left behind were left battling for second. Mani attacked on lap six but was unable to drop her chasers. Honsinger countered the move immediately, drawing out Mani, leaving the rest of the group behind.
Mani was able to hold on to Hosninger until mid-way through the final lap, but when the S&M rider accelerated again, she successfully dropped the Frenchwoman and rode in to take second place.
“I’m just coming off the whole World Cup season. I think that was helpful here,” Neff said about her win. “I still have some legs left from that whole season. It was good to get back on the cyclocross bike.”
- Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing): 45:33:00
- Clara Honsinger (S&M): 46:12:00
- Caroline Mani (Pactimo): 46:19:00
Sweeck unstoppable from the holeshot
Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) dominated the hot, dry men’s race. Having placed third in last week’s Jingle Cross World Cup, Sweeck attacked from the start and led the race until he crossed the finish line.
Sweeck took the holeshot and no rider was able to match his acceleration, and within a few minutes, he was 10 seconds off the front.
Felipe Orts (Teika), Nicholas Cleppe (Telenet Baloise Lions) and Steve Chainel (Chazal Canyon) chased, but they were never able to gain ground as Sweeck edged out his lead throughout the race despite relentless pressure from Cleppe.
“I just wanted to be in front in the beginning because it was a fast lap,” Sweeck said after the race. “It was maybe not the best thing to do, to ride the whole hour alone in the front. But when you are there, you’re not thinking about that.”
Although Cleppe started gaining a little time in lap five, he was forced into the pit and was never able to gain back his lost time on Sweeck. Cleppe continued to ride hard nonetheless, and was rewarded for his efforts by placing second as Orts chased from several seconds back. Orts ended the race in third place.
“The feeling was good today,” Cleppe said. “The second lap I saw Laurens full gas and thought, ‘The legs are feeling good,’ so I tried to catch him, but Laurens was too strong for me. So I got second place.”
- Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): 58:48:00
- Nicolas Cleppe (Telenet (Baloise Lions): 58:59:00
- Felip Orts (Teika): 59:06:00