Posted by Editoress on 12/22/19
Maghalie Rochette (Specialized/Feedback Sports) had her strongest European result of the season, with a tenth place on Sunday, at Round 6 of the Cyclo-cross World Cup, in Namur, Belgium. Michael van den Ham also had a good day in the Elite Men's race, finishing 32nd, his best-ever European World Cup result.
Riders faced extremely wet, cold and muddy conditions, with lots of crashes affecting results. In the women's race, Rochette had a strong start, riding as high as the top five in the opening laps before dropping back slightly to finish tenth. Dutch rider Lucinda Brand (Telenet Balois Lions) won. After missing the previous round, Rochette's top-10 finish moves her up to fifth in the World Cup standings from seventh, with 252 points.
"It is super fun to be back racing in Europe," said Rochette. "I really had a lot of fun today, and I'm super happy about how I raced. I was actually not feeling great, my legs took a long time to get going, and I had a hard time going as full gas as I usually go ... I'm not certain exactly why, but I hope that will improve as the trip goes on. However, that's actually why I'm so happy. Despite not feeling the best, I still had a great race. I was riding well and didn't make any big mistakes, plus, I had a good fighting attitude, so all that kept me in the race and in the end, it was a solid race."
"The course and the conditions made for a brutal day on the bike, but man do I love that!! I love the chaos and the craziness of a cyclocross race, and today totally delivered. It was awesome!"
"I look forward to the next few races, today gave me confidence that even on a very average day, I can have a good race if I can keep my head straight and minimize the mistakes. So I'm taking that confidence into the next races in Europe."
In other Canadian results, Under-23 champion Ruby West (Team Canada) was 34th, Siobhan Kelly (Team Canada) was 73rd and Juniors Claire Steciuk and Kelly Lawson (both Team Canada) were 79th and 80th, respectively.
The Elite men's race was an epic battle between world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus) and Toon Aerts (Telenet Balois Lions). Aerts had a 18 second gap with two laps to go, but van der Poel clawed his way back up and then attacked. Aerts managed to rejoin him before crashing on a descent, allowing the Dutchman to take his third straight victory. Aerts remains in the overall lead, since van der Poel missed the first three rounds. Van den Ham is 37th in the standings.
"It definitely wasn't a perfect race," admitted Canadian champion van den Ham, "but I managed to keeping on plugging away out there and grind out my best European World Cup to date. I'm really excited to take this fitness and confidence with me for the rest of the Christmas block."
"The course, as always, was completely bonkers. I thought they couldn't make it harder but somehow they did, and in some pretty odd ways. Who'd have thought there would be a 90-degree cobbled climb and a somewhat sand covered staircase descent in a CX race??"
Cameron Jette (Team Canada) was the only other Canadian in the Elite race, finishing 56th. In the Under-23 men's race, Malcolm Barton (Team Canada) was 48th and Brody Sanderson (Team Canada) 52nd. In the Junior men's race, Cody Scott (Team Canada) was 48th and Matthew Leliveld (Team Canada) 63rd.
You can support the CXFever Fund by purchasing a CXFever Neck warmer for $25. To donate directly to Cycling Canada's national team, visit shop.cyclingcanada.ca, with 100% of the proceeds go towards supporting Cycling Canada's National team programming during the Christmas season. As a non-funded program, the National Cyclocross Team relies on the generous support of their partners Paris to Ancaster and the CXFever fund, and donors and volunteers to develop the next generation of athletes.
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