Cyclocross World Cup 2021-2022 [may contain spoilers]

Asa Post

Small lungs, weak legs
Location
Sheffield
It started today with races in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
The men's race was made interesting by changing weather conditions, but was something of a procession by the end.
The women's race will, I think, be remembered as one the of best races in a long, long time. I certainly can't recall a better one. No spoilers from me. Find the race on GCN or Eurosport and watch all of it, because highlights won't do it justice.
 
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Asa Post

Asa Post

Small lungs, weak legs
Location
Sheffield
Round 2 today in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
It was siling down at the start of the women's race, but the course coped well and there was no deep mud. Dominant performances by the women's and the men's winners.
One unusual feature - the women's race seemed to be a lap too long, with the winning time at 51'46" and the men's a lap too short at 54' 55"
 
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Asa Post

Asa Post

Small lungs, weak legs
Location
Sheffield
Here I am again, apparently talking to myself :rolleyes:

Round 3 at Iowa City on the 17th.
Fine and warm, and the men's race was close until the 8th lap (of 10) when a small group was gradually whittled down to two, and then the winner established a 10-second lead which he held comfortably to the end.
The women's race followed a similar pattern, with three riders away. On the 6th lap (of 8) one of them made a mistake, and never managed to get back to the others. The winner made a big attack on a steep climb on the last lap, and won by 10 seconds.
 
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Asa Post

Asa Post

Small lungs, weak legs
Location
Sheffield
Round 4 today - a dry, sunny day on the sand dunes of Zonhoven.
As nobody else is contributing to the thread, I may as well put a few spoilers in.
The women's race was won by Denise Betsema, who rode away from Puck Pieterse to take a comfortable win. Pieterse tired in the last two laps, and was passed by Lucinda Brand and Ceylin Alvarado who completed the podium.
Dutch women took the first seven places, and it was a good day for the under 23s - apart from Pieterse's 4th place, Fem van Empel was 5th, Shirin van Anrooij 6th and Line Burquier (France) 8th.
The best British finisher was Zoe Backstedt in 20th. The other Brits were all lapped, with Millie Couzens in 29th, Amira Mellor in 35th and Xan Crees in 44th.

The men's race was closer. A small group soon formed, with various riders getting leads of a few seconds which were pulled back. On the penultimate lap, Toon Aerts got the front and managed to ride the whole of a steep, sandy climb. Eli Iserbyt, leading the chase group, had to dismount and run, which slowed everyone else down as well. Aerts stretched his lead and couldn't be caught. Lars van der Haar won race for second and Iserbyt took third.
 
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Asa Post

Asa Post

Small lungs, weak legs
Location
Sheffield
Round 5 in Overijse, on a tricky course made more difficult by recent rain. Lots of slips and slides and I would think every rider had problems at some point.

In the women's race (5 laps) three riders soon established a gap. Denise Betsema made her usual first lap charge, but was closely followed by Blanka Vas and Puck Pieterse. Betsema failed to get the gap she was trying for, and seemed to lose heart. Some small errors let Vas and Pieterse get away, and they fought it out for the rest of the race. Pieterse was maybe not quite as strong, and Vas got a small lead which she slowly increased to take her first ever World Cup win. Pieterse was comfortable in second, and a typical last lap charge by Lucinda Brand saw her pass Betsema. They sprinted for third, and Brand won by a length.
British results: Zoe Backstedt 26th, Amira Mellor 29th, Millie Couzens 32nd, Xan Crees 38th, Josie Nelson 42nd (3+ laps), Abbie Manley 49th (3+ laps), Niamh Murphy 52nd (2+ laps).

It started raining again for the men's race (7 laps), just to make things even more difficult. It resolved into a group of four at the front, with Quentin Hermans looking like the fastest man. But, as has happened a few times this season, he crashed and put himself out of contention. That left Toon Aerts, Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout on their own, with Laurens Sweeck joining them briefly but unable to maintain the pace. On the last lap Iserbyt got to the front, and Vanthourenhout took a few risks to force himself past Aerts into second. That allowed Vanthourenhout to ease slightly and let Iserbyt (they ride for the same team) pull away for the win. Aerts decided he couldn't respond and settled for third.

British results: Cameron Mason 9th (fantastic result), Rory McGuire 31st, Corran Carrick-Anderson 32nd, Joseph Blackmore 36th, Thomas Mein 37th, Daniel Barnes 39th (5+ laps), Ben Chilton 43rd (5+ laps), Lewis Askey 44th (4+ laps).
 

Chislenko

Senior Member
Asa. Just so as you are not talking to yourself I watched both races today and thoroughly enjoyed them.

In both sexes though there does appear to be quite a gulf between the top three and the rest.
 
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Asa Post

Asa Post

Small lungs, weak legs
Location
Sheffield
Round 6 in Tabor, Czech Republic.
The women had a close race on a dry track - I didn't see any bike changes at all. A group of nine established a lead, and was only slowly whittled down. On every lap Puck Pieterse was jumping the barriers when everyone else was running them, so she built a few seconds lead but was always brought back. At the start of the final lap (of six) there were still seven riders together. Lucinda Brandt attacked, and Blanka Vas and Shirin van Anrooij fell away. Brandt kept her advantage, and even though Pieterse gained some time at the barriers she couldn't make contact with Brandt and was absorbed by the other chasers.
Brandt won by 3 seconds, and a close three-way sprint for second place was won by Pieterse, with Annemarie Worst in third.
British result: Millie Couzens 24th. [Zoe Backstedt chose to ride, and win, the Junior Race].

The men's race followed a similar pattern. A group got away, and despite attacks by various riders stayed together until near the end of the 5th lap (of 8), by which time the group had reduced to five. Then Eli Iserbyt attacked, and only Lars van der Haar could go after him. Van der Haar caught up, and continued to attack. Toon Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout dropped away, leaving van der Haar, Iserbyt and Quenten Hermans to fight for the win. Hermans was a couple of seconds off the back, and despite threatening to catch up several times could never get there. Van der Haar slowly increased his lead and won by 11 seconds, with Iserbyt second and Hermans third.
No British riders today.
 
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Asa Post

Asa Post

Small lungs, weak legs
Location
Sheffield
Round 7 on the sandhills of Koksijde.
The women's race saw a group of seven soon establish a lead. By the end of the third lap (of 5), Annemarie Worst and Denise Betsema had a lead of 16 seconds over Lucinda Brand, with the rest of the field riding solo with no groups fighting for places. On lap 4 Worst speeded up very slightly and Betsema slowed down, so by the end of the lap Worst had a comfortable lead and Brand was threatening to catch Betsema for second place. It didn't happen. The final lap saw Worst increase her lead, Betsema held on for second and Brand took third. This course really spaced out the field, with 8th place Inge van der Heijden over two minutes behind the winner and more big gaps behind her.
British results: Anna Kay 21st, Zoe Backstedt 22nd, Josie Nelson 42nd, Xan Crees 46th (lapped), Millie Couzens DNF.

There were rain showers for the men's race, which made the non-sand sections greasy and caused a few early crashes. Although a group established a small lead, nobody could get away and it wasn't until the 6th lap (of 7) that Eli Iserbyt managed to ride a sand climb that all the others had to run, and got a gap that he increased to 8 seconds at the end of the lap. He couldn't extend the lead any further, but the chasers couldn't close it. Toon Aerts slipped while running up a hill, and was passed by Laurens Sweeck who held on for second place, with Aerts third and Quentin Hermans a few second back in fourth.
British results: Cameron Mason 16th, Joe Blackmore 30th (lapped), Ben Chilton 31st (lapped), Toby Barnes 34th (lapped).
 
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Asa Post

Asa Post

Small lungs, weak legs
Location
Sheffield
Round 8 in Besançon.
Temperature just above freezing, and a wet, very muddy, very slippery course with lots of bad cambers and short runs on climbs. Many rider fell at some point as the grip was minimal.
The women's race (5 laps) was over soon after the start. Lucinda Brandt took the lead, extended it, and never looked like being caught. A small chasing group of Denise Betsema, Fem van Empel, and Puck Pieterse were joined by Canadian Maghalie Rochette. Rochette worked her way through to establish herself in second place, with the others fighting for third. Betsema got a small lead and held on, with van Empel fourth and Pieterse fifth. On a good day for North America, Clara Honsinger (after her usual slow start) worked her way up the field to finish seventh.
British result: Anna Kay 22nd - she fell on the start line and did well to catch and pass so many riders.

The men's race was fantastic. Toon Aerts and Eli Iserbyt soon got away from the pack, with Toon Vandebosch just about staying with them. Then Vandebosch has some problem with his gears, and although he managed to ride round to the pits for a new bike, he'd lost contact with the front of the race. Aerts and Iserbyt threw everything at each other, with the lead changing hands many times, and Iserbyt seemed to be tiring as Aerts built a small lead. But, while dismounting to run round a tight and muddy corner, Aerts slipped and fell. Iserbyt went past, and Aerts had to take lots of risks to try to catch him. The risks resulted in more small errors and Iserbyt extended his lead. Then, on the final lap (of 7) Iserbyt rode up a slippery climb and dismounted near the top to run the last few yards, but his shoes couldn't find a grip and he slid back down the slope. He managed to haul himself up, having lost quite a few seconds, but Aerts had nothing left to give and couldn't take advantage of the mistake. Iserbyt won with Aerts second, and they both looked totally spent. Meanwhile, since the midpoint of the race Pim Ronhaar and Michael Vanthourenthout were also neck and neck in a fight for third place. Another tremendous battle saw Ronhaar take his first ever World Cup podium.
No British riders today.
 

normgow

Veteran
Location
Germany
Sunday's World Cup Race at Antwerp has been cancelled but Saturday's race at Boom in the Superprestige Series is still on.
Tom Pidcock and Wout van Aert make their 'cross season debuts there.
 
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