cyclocross

Kona Quebec Grassroots CX Rider Laurie Arseneault Wins Twice in one Weekend

Switching discipline isn’t an easy task. When local Quebec athlete Laurie Arseneault got into Cyclocross as an attempt to stay competitive in the cross-country offseason, we couldn’t have known just how tough she would be.

Between the rain, ankles injuries, school, and work, she proved everybody that she is one tough woman and that nothing can get in her way.

Laurie has made her way to the podium a few times during this CX season, but this weekend at the 7th and 8th rounds of the Série de CycloCross Maglia Rosa, everything came together, not only did she take the win at Saturday’s Round 7 event, she went back the next day with her Jake the Snake and won her second gold medal at Round 8.

With only three races to wrap up this season, she sits firmly on the second step of the overall Elite women in the provincial championship.

Allez Laurie !!

Photos: @judjudjud

Kona Cyclocross star Helen Wyman takes her first season win

Kona’s newly redesigned carbon Super Jake found its way onto the top step of of a Swiss podium in the weekend, piloted by legendary Kona CX superstar Helen Wyman. It’s her third podium of the season and sure sign she is back in top form!

“This weekend was a first major European road trip as I got to experience the EKZ Cross Tour for the first time after a long drive to Switzerland. It’s a series I’ve heard a lot about and have wanted to start for a long time. The race was a C1 in Aigle, the home of the UCI, and I’m happy to say to I won. It’s been a year since my last CX win, and it’s a relief, and shows I’m getting back to my pre-accident form. The next big race is the first European World Cup of the season in Koksijde”Helen Wyman

Helen Wyman and the Kona Super Jake Find the Podium in Belgium

Helen Wyman is off to a strong start this season after a broken collarbone dashed her hopes of staying at the top of the European cyclocross pack last year. Riding the new Super Jake, Helen’s picked up her first podium back on European soil after the 2017-2018 World Cup season got started in the US.

Scroll down for Helen’s report from Neerpelt and Gieten, and her quick 1-minute CX Diaries videos from those races.

“A big weekend of racing to get the body back into the European season, I took on two events in Belgium and Holland.  Neerpelt UCI C2, and the first round of the Superprestige series.  I’m happy with the performance and results and it’s always really nice to be on the podium.  Next weekend is another two-race weekend with both events in Belgium this time as we return to the DVV series.”  – Helen Wyman

Kerry Werner Reports from KMC Crit Fest

Coming off the two world cups I was feeling good about my form and looking forward to battling at the front of the race rather than hanging on to the wheels of Euro cross bosses.

Doug and I made the 5hr drive from my parent’s house in southeastern Pa to Thompson, CT where we had an Airbnb on Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. This was less than five miles from the venue, which was super convenient, Doug went searching for fitness and ran to the course one day.

Friday was race day, which is unusual. We typically race Saturday and Sunday but for some reason the promoters saw it necessary to schedule the weekend like so. The course was pretty similar to last year except 200% drier and dustier, more rock and stone exposure, and much more pavement.

We kicked off at 6:30pm and I found myself in a good spot. Tobin and I had a bit of a gap on the rest of the field, nothing super substantial but enough that if we worked together we could have stayed away for a few laps. We came through the half lap and to our surprise, an official was crossing the course. He was looking at his clipboard heading form the start grid to the pit zone and was oblivious to the rapidly decreasing distance between Tobin and him, until Tobin yelled out. He did some stutter stepping then pulled deer in the headlights and stood there. Tobin managed to sneak through to his right. I barreled right for him and landed a direct hit. He went down and I simply unclipped and went on my way, though our hopes of staying away were demolished. (All is well. He apologized and we both agreed that it was good he or I didn’t get hurt, or my bike was fine, and it the grand scheme of things it didn’t affect the race.) I am excited to see the crash highlight video.


We settled into the group and started playing the games. No matter who went to the front it resulted in the same thing, coming back together.

It came down to the last lap and a group of six of us went to the line together. Tobin, Jack K, Spencer Petrov, and Hyde were in front of me and they lulled for a split second before a decisive set of corners leading to the finish. I should have jumped but I didn’t, Tobin did and lead it to the line. I rolled in for 5th.

Saturday was a rest day. I participated in leading out the gran fondo and got my ride in early so I had the rest of the day to relax and mess around on the lake at the Airbnb. I got out for a little cruise on the Kayak then Doug and I took the paddle boat out. Naps were had and Netflix was watched before calling it a night.

Sunday we raced at 4pm but arrived at the venue around 12 to get on the course and scope out any changes/ dial in pressures, etc. I decided to run a little higher tire pressure because of all the rocks and bumps. I didn’t want to flat and there was plenty of traction on course so there wasn’t a down side to running a little more. Better safe than sorry.

The gun went and once again, due to the long start on the race track oval, mid pack riders swelled to the front mixing in with the top 10. This is often frustrating because it is only a matter of time before the pin on the grenade is pulled and they are going backwards, usually opening gaps and sometimes leaving crashes in their wake.

By mid race there was a group of 8 of us all doing our darndest to get away, to no avail. It came down to the last lap. Stephen jumped and Tobin set on his wheel. I managed to find myself in the wrong place at the wrong time and was left clinging on to the chase group about 5 sec back.

I came into the final corners and barriers in 3rd place leading Curtis White. I hopped the barriers and he ran giving me a bit of a gap. He shut it down by the time we u-turned into the finish straight and we went to the line together. He managed to nip me with a bike through and squash my hopes of a podium by a tire knob.

Coming out of the weekend I wanted more, but I am not too broken up about my results. I currently sit 3rd in the US Cup CX overall and while Charm City doesn’t look like it will be any wetter than KMC there is a hill and sand pit to help break things up. As coach Jim Lehman laments, “You have to be able to perform in all conditions, under all kinds of circumstances.” Therefore, while I favor some mud and grit and a less tactical race, I’ll have to make due and figure out a recipe for success to take McTubbin down.

Kerry Werner’s World Cup Waterloo Sizzler

After Jingle Cross Doug and I were graciously invited to spend Monday-Wednesday in Chicago, hanging at the Tenspeed Hero Studio. Luke, of Tenspeed Hero showed us a rad time. We ate a good deal of great food (including the meat sweats at Publican, highly recommend the charcuterie) and saw a lot of the sights!

I also kicked off my modeling career and I am currently accepting agent applications…

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We left the Chicago skyline in the review and headed to the Trek HQ in Waterloo, WI on Thursday. After setting up at the venue I got a quickie sunset spin in followed by dinner at the host house.

Friday was a C2 at 3:30pm, undeniably the hottest part of the day. I had an unfavorable start and pitted halfway through the first lap. The course was so hard and bumpy my chain was bouncing everywhere, which coupled with the sprinting caused my front derailleur to twist.

I was further back than I wanted to be at this point and thus put some efforts in to bet me back up to a group fighting for 8th. This, however, was a mistake.

The explosive efforts in the heat took the same toll on me as previous experiences at altitude had. I was in the red early and quickly found myself going backwards with nothing much I could do but soft pedal. The heat, which was already causing elevated heart rate, should have cued me to change my racing style towards more conservative and consistency. However, I was peeved with my start and didn’t want to miss the early gaps so I made it happen all at once, which pushed me over the edge. I found that out about 3 laps in.

I was chuffed, new word I learned from Helen and the Brits which means frustrated, to DNF on my own accord. Though, after I started going backwards I immediately shifted focus to Sunday afternoon making more sense to save it for the world cup rather than finish for pride’s sake.

Doug and I headed home to a dinner of burgers and roasted veggies, provided by our hosts, can’t thank Peter and Connie enough. I even managed to beat Doug in pool though he put many more W’s on his record. So the day wasn’t a complete disappointment.

Saturday I got out on the World Cup course, which was much better than Friday’s C2 setup. A few more off camber sections, a mandatory run up, and some tricky nose wheelie turny bits!

I tried to minimize time outside so after riding we planned a big multi team movie night. Kingsman 2 came out so we invited a bunch of people and went to a swank movie theater with plush leather recliner seats, push button food/drink service, and air conditioning, for only $11!

Sunday I was feeling good and ready to rock. We took a lot of icy precautions, stuffed many panty hose with ice to put inside the skin suit for warm up and race time. Lots of ice cold water for pouring everywhere. Sitting in the start grid it looked like we were at a water park! Everyone doing their best to stay cool in the sweltering sun, hiding under umbrellas and passing around cold water to pour on ourselves.

I managed to sneak past a crash at the start and found myself come through the first lap in the mid 20’s. I worked my way up slowly and eventually was in 18, rallying with Stephen Hyde and creeping up on Tobin, Americans uniting for Euro domination.

However, about half way through I lost some traction on a corner that lead into the pit entrance. I corrected and didn’t unclip but this put my trajectory wider on the exit and I hooked the pit entrance pole with my bars. I should have ran backwards on course to enter the pit and get a new bike, my bars were “turnt!”. However, something about racing and always going forward caused the though to never cross my mind. I did a half a lap with my bars pointed at 2 o’clock until I got a new bike.

I would like to take this time to apologize to Stephen. He was on my wheel during this slip up and crashed as well. He managed to claw back into the group and even finished at the front of it. If only I would have pitted…

I lost some spots doing this and found myself in the midst of shattered souls and those determined to keep on fighting. Fragmented groups of 2 or so hanging on by the skin of their teeth rather than the big group of 5 or 6 I was in, which was focused on top 20 placing.

I held it together mentally and didn’t continue to go backwards. So I finished 26th. Not too shabby but I was confident I could have finished better, which nagged the back of my mind.

The last two World Cup weekends were awesome. It’s always great to have the world’s best come over and put on a clinic. I am also happy with where my fitness and psyche is coming out of it. Really looking forward to next weekend in Thompson, CT at the KMC Cross Fest where temps are expected to be high’s in the high 60’s! About time, still no rain though. But it is a start.

As always big thanks to Dougems for keeping things running

CX Diaries: Kona Pro Helen Wyman to Produce Short Video Series All Season Long

Words by Helen Wyman.

CX Diaries are my way of bringing you closer to the action as I take on the 2017/18 season. Cyclocross is one of the most accessible forms of cycle sport, but you can’t always be events, so I want you to be able to see the true ups and downs of racing through a professional season in USA and Europe.

This season I’ll be taking on the world’s best riders in the UCI World Cup series as well as key events throughout Europe. Aiming to return to the top 10 of the ranking, my video diaries will be an honest account of my race season and I through them I will give you race updates, technical features and an insight into the life of a pro racer.

After a low-key kick off in Eeklo, Belgium, the season gets serious quickly with back-to-back World Cups in the USA. My race in Eeklo was curtailed with a corner 3 crash. That’s racing, but it was a frustrating start and meant a solo ride for me from nearly 2 minutes down. I rode back into the top 20, before packing the equipment up and taking off for the USA only a few hours later.

The USA campaign kicked off with a UCI C1 event in Iowa City, where I finished 4th, and recorded the first CX Diary, quickly followed up by the second:

Riding the newly released Super Jake, I’m looking to gain progressive results throughout the season, as I put the 2016-17 season of crashes and injuries behind me. I’ll be based in Oudenaarde, Belgium, during the main part of the season, with the European World Cups taking me to Denmark, Germany, Holland, France and of course the CX heartland of Belgium. Czech Republic is the venue for the European Championships, in early November as we build towards the World Championships in January.

Keep up with the CX Diaries series on Helen’s Vimeo page.

CX Magazine Rides the All New Kona Jake: “A worthy successor in the company’s long history of cyclocross bikes…”

Andrew Yee from Cyclocross Magazine joined us for our drop bar launch in Squamish last month. With the all new Jake series out in the wild, we’re happy to share Andrew’s in-depth look at our completely revamped cyclocross platform.

“Kona has kept the Jake line simple: an elegant, race-worthy three-bike line-up that is a worthy successor in the company’s long history of cyclocross bikes.”

There’s a ton of information in this article: geometry considerations and comparisons, spec talk and ride impressions, and a huge gallery with images of all three Jake models. Head on over to CX Magazine to check it out!

Journalists and the Kona Endurance Team gather to ride new 2018 cyclocross bikes. 2018 Kona Jake cyclocross bikes. © Cyclocross Magazine

 

Cross/Roads with Kerry Werner and the All New Kona Jake

Cross/Roads

Kona Pro cyclocross racer Kerry Werner knows that ‘cross is always coming. He sees his everyday training rides as an opportunity to get rad. In Cross/Roads, we take you into Kerry’s world prior to the 2018 cyclocross season. We apologize in advance if you find yourself digging out your cowbell after this one.













20 Years of Jake

The Jake has a long pedigree here at Kona – twenty years to be exact. It began as a race-bred cyclocross bike but was quickly identified by those who rode it as an excellent all-arounder. ‘Cross racing, commuting, backroad adventuring, the Jake is one of the most versatile bikes in the Kona lineup.

Kerry is riding the Major Jake, one of three all-new models in the Jake series. You can find detailed information on the new Jakes at Konaworld.com, and in our development story with technical video and photo details on our Innovation page.

Video: Life as a Pro Cycling Mechanic

Kona Pro Cyclocross racer Kerry Werner is a force to be reckoned with, but his accomplishments between the tape don’t come without support. Enter Doug Sumi, Kerry’s mechanic on the road. And, at many of the US ProCX stops, Ricoh Riott. Ricoh and Doug teamed up to create this video from a veteran mechanic’s perspective on wrenching on the road.

Keep up with Ricoh Riott Photography on his website, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Three Bikes in One: Pedal Bicycles on the Kona Major Jake

We’ve always known that our Jake series of cyclocross bikes is highly versatile. Something about confidence-inspiring geometry and room for higher volume tires makes for a bike that naturally gets put to use outside the tape of the ‘cross course. For many years, riders have chosen the Jake for club rides, winter training, everyday commuting, around-town, and of course, gravel (before it was even called that).

With a simple swap of the tires, Tim Krone from Pedal Bicycles in Kalamazoo, Michigan shows off the Jake’s versatility perfectly. From the high volume and grip of the WTB Nano 40c to the cushy 30mm Roubaix slicks to the 33mm Clement MXP ‘cross tire, the multiple faces of Tim’s Jake only prove what we knew all along. Some might say that our Rove series is more suited to broader purposes, but we won’t argue with people who just want to use their bike to its fullest. Here are Tim’s thoughts on his Jake: 

I was talking to my Kona guy yesterday (yes, it does make me feel special to have a Kona guy) and somehow got to bemoaning the way the bike industry feels like it has to slice everything super-fine so there are a million different products and no one knows what the hell they’re talking about or how to differentiate them. I was specifically complaining about adventure vs. gravel vs. cyclocross bikes. “Cripe!” says me. “It’s nothing you can’t fix with some tires, and my Jake will take all sorts of tires.”

That’s how we started talking about Carbon Drop Bar Bikes in which you could (and might!) have a bike upon which you could mount slicks and get out there for the Wednesday Night Ride or something knobbier for CX racing or something burlier still if you just want to get out there and take what nature serves up.

This afternoon I figured I’d demonstrate this premise on equipment that I own. First, here’s Jake with the setup I used all last summer: WTB Nano 40s set up tubeless. Pros: bring-it-on width and tread pattern + smooth ride with low pressure. Cons: pretty heavy even when tubeless, so acceleration is less than thrilling.

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Next up: road ride. Same bike and wheels with some 30mm Specialized Roubaix tires. This is terrific setup if you’re gonna use your cross bike for road riding in the summer. Tons of grip, smooth ride and only a bit heavier than the race tires you’ve been using on your road bike.

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When CX season rolls around, Bang! 33mm cross tires. I found these Clement MXPs tucked away somewhere and was instantly reminded of the fun times I had racing on them in years past.

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The above pics highlight why Jake is probably my favorite drop bar bike of all time. It’s a very versatile bike, and gobs of tire clearance is one of the things that contributes to the versatility. Another thing is the way it’s built, with a comfortable ride. I’ve ridden cross bikes that were so stiff that they crossed the line into the kingdom of Harsh. While those were pretty darn good cross bikes, they weren’t something that I’d get all fired up about riding all day on skinny tires pumped up to big psi.

Last thing on this subject, Jake has good geometry. Due to their need to provide clearance for pretty big tires and mud, cross forks are “taller” than road bike forks, so the bars on cross bikes tend to be higher relative to the bottom bracket than road race bikes. In fact, they get pretty close to the endurance road geometry that’s so popular these days.

Does this mean that I advocate against “pure” road bikes. Absolutely not. I have a road bike in my garage that I enjoy enormously. What I am suggesting is that, with ample tire clearance and disc brakes, the idea of “one bike” is perhaps more attainable with less compromise. I’m also suggesting that it’s not a bad idea to look beyond the way a bike is spec’d on the floor, and think about what might actually work, tire-wise.

While I’ve gone on about my carbon Jake, the argument works just a well for aluminum bikes. Further, I think plus size mountain bike tires and bikes are doing the exact same thing for the “one bike” crowd who desire something with a flat bar and single-track capacity.

Throw Back to Tokyo with Kerry Werner

Words and photos by Kerry Werner.

It all started when I decided it wasn’t a good idea to do the China CX races at the beginning of the season. I started thinking, “What else can I do?” and then it hit me… I remembered Timmy J., Jeremy, and Zac McDonald all had done the CX Tokyo!

I had recently, even before thinking about CX Tokyo, grown a keen interest in Japanese culture, food, and the city lights. It blows my mind how their traditional views within society can keep 40 million people in line. You would think that crime would run rampant in the streets, it would be dirty and littered, and people would be jerks. Everything was quite the opposite.

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People were nice, even though I was a little shocked to learn that many people spoke little English. I guess I am too use to the melting pot of Europe where everyone speaks 3-6 languages. Apparently, the Japanese study English in school but then never have an opportunity to use it so they lose it (if you don’t use it you lose it).

The city was eye popping and with so many tall buildings! The only way to build as a contractor is up. The streets were clean and respect for the space of others was apparent everywhere I went.

I was most excited about the food scene. I had been watching “Mind of a Chef” on Netflix and David Cheng was really getting me excited for some ramen. I had tried to make it myself and I thought it was ok, however, my ignorance was immediately realized upon digging into my first bowl of tsukemen.

So after the post World Championship races Doug and I flew through Istanbul and then into Narita, 30miles west of Tokyo. The next morning we met up with Ryoji Aybeki, the CX Tokyo promoter. He was privy to my quest for the best bowl of ramen consequently we stopped for lunch on the way into Tokyo. In hindsight this was a blessing because when you walk into a ramen shop there is a vending machine type thing that you pick your ramen on, you pay, it prints your ticket, you hand it to the waiter and then wait for a steamy bowl of love.

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The problem was that all the text on the machine was in Japanese and completely indecipherable to Doug or I. We tried to shoot from the hip later in the trip and it wasn’t a complete failure, we still got great ramen, but Doug ordered the biggest bowl on the menu by accident and didn’t eat until the next day at dinner.

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Doug and I spent the first two days in the Tiato-Ku district, NW of Downtown, in Hotel Kurame. We walked everywhere, which may not have been great for the race but I have no regrets! We checked out historic Asakusa and the Skytree.

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And from 350 meters up…

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We had ramen all over and great coffee at “Bridge” recommended by my good friend Hans. We loitered in shop windows, picked up authentic handmade Japanese knives, bought souvenir chopsticks, frequented multi level malls, ate mochi on the road, and tried to blend in. We should have bought some medical masks to do this, maybe next time.

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We wandered through temple grounds…

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And were inspired by the intricate bike parking garages.

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Pre-ride was Saturday. The course was all sand, which didn’t make me particularly excited. There was no need to do openers, simply riding the course was hard enough.

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Doug and I spent all nights riding the train to somewhere new and checking out new districts. The night before the race was no different. We headed to Shibuya to check out the hustle and bustle. If I sat in the hotel room with my feet up, while in Tokyo, I would be looking back on the trip with regret.

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We raced Sunday afternoon, which was nothing special for me. I felt as though I had the fitness just not the finesse. The sand was raping me. Aerobically, I wanted and felt as though I could pedal harder but, technically, my constantly shifting body weight was hindering any power output. I finished 6… I wanted that podium, but instead I pulled out my notepad (literally I pulled up the “Notes” app on my phone and wrote“sand practice”) next year will be better. Notice I had to cut the sleeves off my long sleeve jersey. Sun’s out guns out in February.

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Big thanks to the Shimano boys for letting us take up room in their tent and all their help.

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Doug and I headed back to the hotel, packed bikes, and hit the town. We were going to check out the Imperial Gardens, but were stopped by a guard. I think they close at dark. We had some Gyoza, dumplings, and sake. Then to soak up the nights festivities we had Yakatori in the bowels of the subway station and it was marvelous.

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Monday we embarked on a sobering Journey to find “The Great Buddha”. This entailed a short 5k trail from Kita-Kamakura station to Hase Station. We saw Mount Fuji on the way, which was epic.

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We found it!

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We even checked out the beach then trained it back to the hotel.

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Tuesday we woke early to walk 3 miles to the Tsujiki fish market.

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We were greeted with fishermen who looked annoyed to see tourists wandering around their domain but who cares.

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We plopped down for sushi in the markets next to the auction area and enjoyed. The raw fish had a texture I had never experienced before. It melted in my mouth and the flavor was enhanced that much more as I was watching the Sushi master hand craft my sashimi no more than 3 feet away.

A ball of mochi for the walk back and that was all she wrote. Doug and I grabbed our bags and trained it to the airport.

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I can’t thank Ryoji and CX Tokyo enough for the experience. I don’t think I have a regret or a bad thought about my experience in the city, interacting with the people, or the culture. Though, the jet lag was brutal!

Follow Kerry on his blog and on Instagram.

Helen Wyman Goes 2nd at UCI C1 CX in Hoogstraten, Belgium

Kona’s Helen Wyman Claims Podium Result in Belgium

Words by Helen Wyman, photos by Marcel Hilger and Kristof Bruers.

It’s hard to believe that’s it’s February and I’m only just getting into my first weekend of races in Belgium; it was great to be back however. Saturday we raced in Lille, which is full of sand and if I’m honest I don’t really like sand. So I was thrilled the weekend was a doubleheader and I got to race in the mud of Hoogstraten on Sunday.

Helen - Hoogstraten - Credit Kristof Bruers

My “incident” in October has set me back in the World Ranking, so the start of the race is a new challenge for me now, coming through traffic, albeit world class traffic. Ellen van Loy got her trademark rocket fast start making it all the harder to get back in contention, but after a couple of laps I was moving through and picking up spots. I got on the back of the Katie Compton Express, direction finish line, held on for grim death, then we started to see the next riders.

Highlights Video: 

Passing the greatest rider ever, Marianne Vos, kind of gives you wings. Then I passed the World Champion, Sanne Cant, and the podium was on. I had young gun Maud Kaptheijns chasing me down, but I wanted 3rd. I wanted to finish the season with something to remember aside from disaster. With only 300 metres to go, Maud passed me, but I immediately passed back, and we saw Ellen on the final running section. That was it, I went into Usain Bolt mode, and pushed my tired legs to catch Ellen and pass her for second on the line.

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I’m not back to where I could have been, but I’m certainly further forward than predicted. I’m back racing wheel for wheel with the worlds best. I can now look forward to next season with excitement and anticipation.

Result

1 – Sophie de Boer
2 – Helen Wyman
3 – Ellen van Loy
4 – Sanne Cant
5 – Maud Kaptheijns
27 – Amira Mellor

Event – Superprestige Hoogstraten 5 February 2017

Keep up with Helen on Twitter and Instagram.