Our Giro della Donna special guest, Marianne Vos, is back in The Netherlands and ready to kick off her cyclocross season.
Similar to the last year, the seven-time cyclocross world champion will complete a short but ambitious campaign, starting at Scheldecross in Antwerp on Saturday, December 16.
Last year, Scheldecross was Vos’ first international cyclocross race in two years after struggling with injuries. Making up for lost time, Vos went on to win seven out of the eight races she entered, including the Dutch national championships and three straight world cup events. At the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in February, a dropped chain robbed her from what could have been her eighth world title. She had to make do with silver instead.
This season she hopes to do the same, albeit with a different medal at the end.
“My season will be similar to last season, with hopefully a slightly different outcome,” Vos told Ella CyclingTips with a smile.
When asked about the chain incident in Bieles, Vos admitted that it kept her up at night for a while
“I had a good race, so in that regard I was pretty satisfied, but indeed, it was a mistake on my part. I entered the corner wrongly and my rear wheel slipped. Normally, the chain wouldn’t drop so perhaps it wasn’t as dialled in as it should have been, and perhaps I should have done something differently beforehand,” she said.
“So of course, it kept me up at night, but I could take comfort in knowing I had ridden a good race. And that’s sport. Things can happen in a fraction of a second.”
In February of 2018, Vos hopes she’ll get a do-over, and in front of a home crowd no less. The 2018 UCI Cyclocross World Championship will be held in Valkenburg, The Netherlands, the same city where Vos so memorably won the UCI Road World Championships in 2012.
“I’m fired up for this year,” she said. “It’s a World Championships on home soil so that’s always special.”
Vos competed in her last road race the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway, on September 24, where her compatriot Chantal Blaak secured the rainbow jersey.
She then spent much of the off-season in Australia where she participated in the Tour of Margaret River and several events surrounding our Giro della Donna.
“My time in Australia was amazing, which I won’t easily forget,” she commented on her team’s website, but she’s itching to jump into cross racing.
“Prior to leaving for Australia, I had already trained on the cross bike. It already started itching then. I was able to complete a set of decent trainings, specifically for the cross. Upon my return, a beautiful new Ridley cross bike was waiting for me, giving me an instant confident feeling,” she said. “I feel fit.”
Former world champion and Vos’ former RaboLiv teammate, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, is back to racing cyclocross as well. She made her comeback the first weekend of December, after having been away from the cyclocross scene for two years.
Ferrand-Prévot showed great form as she took fourth at DVV Troffee in Essen on Saturday, and upset current world champion Sanne Cant in winning a very muddy Druivencross in Overijse.
With these three rivals back to racing, we may just see a repeat of the 2015 season.
“What strikes me, is that the field amongst the women is getting closer,” commented Vos, who in the off-season has been keeping a close eye on her competitors.
“I’m not sure yet what place has been reserved for me. The first race is always exciting, only afterwards, you are better aware of your level and where you stand.”
After making her debut on Saturday at Scheldecross Antwerp, Vos is scheduled to compete at Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas on December 23, World Cup Heusden-Zolder on December 26th and the Superprestige Diegem on December 30th.
After Vos hopes to defend her national title and qualify for the world championships.