So the final round of the World Cup has come and gone. It’s always a strange race when you have one eye on the overall and one on the race itself. Let’s face it, on a course like this there was never going to be a challenge to Vos. The course was wide, fair and pretty tough. Muddy sections led you into little runs and a long road straight. There were small variations to last years event, but you pretty much know what you’re going to get when you come to Hoogerheide. It wears you down as the race goes on and it’s pretty easy to hold a gap, but really hard to close one down. I was changing bikes every lap, and it was pretty noticeable that when riders skipped a change they were losing time carrying a heavy bike around.
Although you try to focus on the race in hand, it’s hard not to try to beat a rider who’s sitting only 2 points ahead of you in the World Cup classification. Those 2 little points equate to one place in a race, so it’s a big incentive. With Sanne van Paassen also not on the start line for this event due to ongoing illness, it meant there was a potential gain of 2 spots on the final classification. I entered the race in 7th overall, with Belgian champion Sanne Cant just in front.
Anyway, the race was pretty much as predicted. Vos set out in the front group, decided to destroy everyone at her chosen moment, she did that with style and grace, and left a race of everyone else behind her (I would like to point out here I’m not happy this is happening and I’m already plotting how I’m going to match her next season. Me and Kona, we are going to set the balance back next year….honest). The only disappointment for me was despite taking the early lead, I made a few silly errors and was lying back in 8th when all this happened. It also meant I missed the front group of 5.
When you break it down I was about 10 seconds too slow on the first lap because of these mistakes. It’s as simple as that. I chased hard to get back but it wasn’t to be and I had to settle for best of the rest. It’s not where I wanted to be and I rode some good laps, but riding around for 6th isn’t really something I enjoyed. I felt OK, some breathing issues I’m still working on, but I should have been in the front group. That’s where the race is, but that’s cross, we all slip and slide a little and if that’s at the wrong point, fair play to those that take advantage.
When I look back on my lap times, I can see some good improvements, and I think I rode an OK race. Looking at those times I can also see where the chase for the front 5 finished and I just settled into an easy rythem to ensure I took 5th overall.
As the whole, the series has gone well. I’ve been around 5th or 6th in every round, and sometime very close to the spot or two just ahead. One bad round where I crashed hard really dented my hopes of a better overall, but I can deal with that and I know that if we aren’t crashing, we aren’t trying hard enough or pushing our limits.
Daphny has been super strong as deserves her title as World Cup winner. I’ve looked up to her in all the years I’ve been involved with the sport and it’s sad to see her leaving the sport in only a few weeks time. I’ve shared many podiums with her, and I’m proud to have beaten her over the years as she’s one tough cookie (And I love cookies). Vos, despite missing two rounds has shown that she’s pretty much the standard setter for us all and we all need to raise our games, so that’s for that…..guess I have a hard summer ahead, and the season isn’t even finished yet.