Posted by Editoress on 01/31/10
Stybar and Vos claim World Champion titles
Coverage of the 2010 Cyclo-cross World Championships provided with the support of Shimano
The Czech Republic finished the Cyclo-cross World Championships on Sunday in Tabor the way they began it, with a very popular home win by Zdenek Stybar in the marquee elite men's race. Marianne Vos salvaged Dutch pride by taking her third title in the elite women's competition. Canada's only competitor of the day was Vicki Thomas in the elite women's race, who finished 41st.
The day began overcast, with a light snow, which made the already slippery course even more treacherous. However, it did not seem to affect Vos, who rode off the front of the field on the first lap, and proceeded to record the fastest laps for every one of the five laps of the race. Behind Vos, former word champion Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany chased valiantly, but consistently lost ground.
Kupfernagel hung on for second, ahead of Vos' team mate Daphny Van Den Brand, who began to reel the German rider in on the last lap. The rider expected to be Vos' main competition, American Katie Compton, had to retire from the race after the first lap, plagued by leg cramps.
Thomas, in her first world championships, was pleased to avoid being caught by Vos, and counted the race a success. "It was an amazing race, with the course and the huge crowd. It's the best time I've ever had on a bike, and I'm ecstatic to finish on the lead lap."
The sun came out for the men's race, which contained the who's who of pro cyclo-cross riders, led by the perennially strong Belgian team. However, Stybar, who had just won the World Cup title, was racing before a very enthusiastic home crowd, and it lifted both him and the rest of the Czech team to a higher level, with the home team placing four riders in the top eight.
After a fast start, Stybar dropped back when he front flatted and had to go into the pit for a bike change on the first lap. His team mates helped pace him back to the leaders by the third lap, and he attacked one lap later to take control of the race. His lead was such on the final lap, that he was able to high-five fans along the final 500 metres of the course.
The Belgian team chased, led by Sven Nys and Klaas Vantornout, but continued to make small mistakes in the slippery turns, allowing Stybar to pull away. The Belgians were also marked by Stybar's team mate Martin Bina, who was glued to Nys. Vantornout jumped away, while Bina continued to mark Nys, who was getting visibly frustrated and crashed twice.
Vantornout and Nys took the silver and bronze medals (with Nys having to outsprint Bina), to finally put Belgium on the podium. However, the day belonged to Stybar, as thousands of cheering fans packed the finish area and sang along to the national anthem.
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