The return of cyclo-cross racing to the United States and crowds of costumed, horn-blowing fans was in full swing on Sunday at the opening of the UCI World Cup in Waterloo, Wis., Where Marianne Vos (Jumbo- Visma) returned to the top step of the podium.
It was her first race of this year’s cyclo-cross season, having been part of women’s road racing history just a week ago with a second place finish in the inaugural Paris -Roubaix Women.
“At the end of the road season you normally come out with some form which is nice to take with you in cyclocross, but of course it’s a different style of racing,” Vos said. Cycling news after his return to the cross ended in victory.
“It’s amazing that last Sunday it was Paris-Roubaix and now we’re here. So yeah, I can’t do without either. I have to admit that Paris-Roubaix was a bit of cyclo-cross so c ‘was a good warm-up for this race. “
While the cheers were loudest as the head-to-head duel unfolded between Vos and Brand in sight of the finish line, the battle formed from the field of 52 riders on the final lap through the labyrinthine course of winding turns, two flyovers and its iconic ascent, Trek Factory Hill.
“It was a full sprint of the last lap. The whole race was pretty intense. Of course it’s a little hard to keep up the speed, sometimes I needed time to recover, but the last lap was full of “gasoline for some sections. Yes, it was a fast race,” Vos said of adding a second Waterloo win to his solid track record, after winning his last outing in 2018.
The Dutch duo were joined at the start of the final circuit by Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), who had retaliated after a fall in the chain four laps from the finish, and Jolanda Neff (Tek Factory Racing), who had made its way . ahead of a start in 25th position.
The Swiss Olympic mountain biking gold medalist was quickly abandoned in the massive swing, while Betsema lost space after taking her final lead in the twisty technical section before the last pit pass. Then the race was the reigning world champion against the seven-time world champion.
“Lucinda is of course a great runner, and you know you can’t give her a little space, you have to keep riding. When I had a little gap on the last hill, I just gave it my all. what I had, “the 34-year-old Vos says, working to get the best position for one last shot.
“I actually wanted to go down the hill first to be the first to climb Factory Hill, but Lucinda made a great move to overtake me again. So I had to try something else and the next hill I got it. just passed around the corner and then I switched to bigger gear and gave it my all. “
From an inside pass through tight chicanes after the final climb, Vos held the lead for the win, while Brand was second. Betsema would follow five seconds behind Vos for third place.
Vos last raced a full cyclo-cross season in 2018-19, when she won the elite World Cup crown. It comes out of a long road season, where it has seven victories, as well as runner-up places in its last two races, the World Road Championships and Paris-Roubaix.
She will continue her expedition to the United States with back-to-back World Cup races in Fayetteville on October 13 and then to Iowa City on October 17, but has no plans to compete in the full 16-race World Cup schedule.
“I’m not doing the full streak. After that I’ll rest and prepare for the second half of the season,” Vos said, indicating that the second half of the cross country season would resume in December.
“Of course it’s good to take points, but also to take a bit of that cyclocross pace early in the season. It takes a bit of the pressure off for the second half of the season. And of course, a thing is I love to run in America, and it’s good to see the course in Fayetteville “
Fayetteville will host the 2022 Worlds in early February and Vos is all in on a return trip to the United States.
“It’s the atmosphere, it’s the vibe, it’s something different. We race in Europe all the time, so racing in America has a different atmosphere. If you ask European runners, they all love to go here and enjoy the run. The whole event is great – people are watching, running and enjoying the sport. “