It was the welcome return to cyclo-cross for World Champion Marianne Vos that caught most of the attention for the race, and she was quickly up to speed in the technical turns that formed the town centre course.
The 20:45 start is somewhat different to the early starts that many of the women’s races in Europe have, but that didn’t seem to affect the front group of riders as they powered clear of the chasers.
Sanne van Paassen and Helen were the main challengers to Vos, with both van Paasen and Helen taking the lead during the race. However it was the pure speed of Vos that won the day as she managed to get clear on the last lap to finish 12 seconds up on van Paassen.
‘I thought I’d finished with Night racing for the season, but when I was invited to start I thought why not. The course is really good fun and you couldn’t get a much better use of space than this.’ Helen commented after the race.
‘On reflection, the 2 ahead of me are specialists in these conditions, so I’m really pleased to have been challenging them right up to the line. When we get some mud I’ll be happy. We’re getting some pretty warm weather in Belgium right now, so I think even the Koppenberg cross may be a bit dry. But whatever the conditions it’s going to be tough. I can’t wait.’
‘I must add that I’ve never won a huge block of cheese before, so I have to be happy. I feel a little more Dutch now.’
1e Marianne Vos 41:58
2e Sanne van Paassen
3e Helen Wyman – Kona/FSA Factory Team
4e Saskia Elemans
5e Linda van Rijen
6e Arenda Grimberg
7e Reza Hormes
8e Joyce Vanderbeken