For the fourth time in history the women race their worldchampionships cyclocross. In the first two editions it was Hanka Kupfernagel wo won the gold medal and last year Laurence Leboucher took home the rainbowjersey. For this edition the main favorite is Daphny van de Brand. She will get severe competition is to be expected from the two former worldchampions.
The start. Kupfernagel looses short contact with her pedal. Debby Mansveld (Hol) is the first in the field. Mansveld is one who too races a lot on the road and competed at the world championships on the road in Zolder too. It is windy near the Adriatic ocean, which makes the wet surface dry fast.
Van den Brand this season so far won everything there was to win. In the world championships so far she reached every year to the podium. The tiny Daphny (living together with mountainbiker Johan van der Ven) takes the lead in the first lap. The gap is 3" with Kupfernagel. In some of the lower parts it is very muddy after a whole day of rain yesterday, which makes it slippery and difficult. When it was expected to be sort of a roadrace on a very fast course it now is really a cyclocross with a muddy slippery field.
On the road Kupfernagel comes closer to Van den Brand. Third to cross the line after the first lap is Danish
Andersen followed by homerider Stropparo and
Leboucher (Fra. When though the riders enter the field it is again the strong Dutch who takes of and breaks away. The 24 year old keeps a souple pace.
10.13 CET, in the second lap
Van den Brand tumbles down and Kupfernagel passes her by. Van den Brand now has to try to recatch her. Kupfernagel has some problems on the more technical parts of the course, which helps the Dutch to come closer. The women have to ride five laps. When Hanka Kupfernagel can stay near Van den Brand her chances on gold increase.
With two laps to go we see two women in the lead. Van den Brand sets the pace, Kupfernagel follows. For French Laurence Leboucher the course is too flat to be her favorite.
Kupfernagel reached for the podium also on the road, at the world championships in Valkenburg (Hol). Van den Brand increases the gap with Kupfernagel showing her abillities in ride well on slippery surfaces. The canadian Lynn Bessete, another woman to be expected in the front, is nowhere to be seen. The gap between Van den Brand and Kupfernagel is 5", still not big enough to be sure. In the background Stropparo, Leboucher and Andersen fight their fight for the last remaining medal.
Kupfernagel suffers some bad luck and sees her opponent now 15" ahead. Van den Brand takes advantage of this fortune and builds her way to the podium carefully but steady. The Dutch woman is one who can very well read the field and find her best way towards the finishline. She now looks on her way to the fourth Dutch medal this weekend (with junior Lars Boom winning gold, just before his countryman Eddy van IJzendoorn. U23 rider Thijs Verhagen took home the bronze in the second race yesterday). Leboucher has her eyes on the third place and leaves Italian Stropparo more and more see her rear wheel.
The battle for the gold is still open. Van den Brand changes bikes in the pitlane and sees her opponent join her when they enter the last lap. In seven minutes we know if Van den Brand now can take home another medal than the three bronze ones she has so far. Leboucher still is on her way to the bronze medal.
The tension can be felt. Van den Brand places a demarrage and tries to leave Kupfernagel a bit more behind. The gap still is very small.
Kupfernagel looks the strongest of the two. With lessn than one k. to go it is still unclear who will be world champion.
Kupfernagel tumbles down, Van den Brand has to go off her bike too. It is going to be a sprint. Van den Brand holds of tghe attack of Kupfernagel and beats the German Kupfernagel on her speciality. With tears in her voice and on her cheeks Van den Brand comments right after the finish: "I made it difficult for Kupfernagel in the race, I knew her condition was less. I had to pay very close attention. But I won, even not in my best own way. But winning is winning!!"
After three bronze medals and again a very strong season now Daphny van den Brand may step on the highest step on the podium. She beats Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany), who takes home the silver medal. Last years world champion Laurence Leboucher (France) is happy with the bronze.
1. Van den Brand (Hol)
2. Kupfernagel (Ger)
4. Stropparo (Ita)
5. Andersen (Dan)
6. Turcutto (Ita)
7. Salvetat (Fra)
8. De Bie-Leijten (Hol)
9. Dorland (Hol)
Kathleen Vermeiren (Belgium) suffered a bad fall and broke her tailbone.
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