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The first World Cup of the Cyclocross season took place in the Czech Republic with two exciting elite races. On the road side of cycling, Enrico Gasparotto announced he will retire from professional cycling.
Read on for more …
| Lucinda Brand wins Tabor World Cup
Lucinda Brand won the elite women’s race in Tabor after a successful mid-race move. The World Champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado finished second behind Brand, and Denise Betsema rounded out the podium in third.
The 3,200-meter long course in Tabor favored a powerful rider, with long stretches and less technicality than X2O Trophy Kortrijk a day previously.
Maghalie Rochette led out the sprint from the start, but an aggressive move into the first corner by a 777 rider caused a large crash before the race hit the dirt.
Denise Betsema led a splintering race through on the first lap, followed by Alvarado, Annamarie Worst, Brand, Betsema, and Blanka Kata Vas. The same group crossed the line together again after the second lap with Yara Kastelijn and Puck Pieterse. Behind them, a chasing group of seven worked to make their way to the front.
Lucinda Brand put the hammer down as the third lap began and through a technical section shook loose the rest of the lead group. Alvarado led the group behind, but more space began to show between riders as the World Champion chased down Brand.
Alvarado managed to catch Brand on the stairs, but they did not stay together for long and Brand continued to shake Alvarado loose throughout the rest of the lap. Into the fourth lap of the race Brand led Alvarado by only two seconds, with Betsema, Worst, and Vas 19 seconds behind Brand.
Alvarado continued to lose seconds to Brand throughout the fourth lap and by the time she had cleared the start-finish, she was 12 seconds behind the leader. The three chasers of Betsema, Worst, and Vas had also lost time to Brand and were looking at a 32-second chase to the lead. The situation was almost unchanged as the final lap began with Brand leading by 22 seconds over Alvarado, and Worst and Betsema 20 seconds from Alvarado. Vas was just behind her two-chasing mates after a tumble a few hundred meters from the start-finish straight.
After a very strong ride, Brand was able to hold on to first place, Alvarado crossed the line 24 seconds later to take second place, and Betsema bested Vas in the sprint for third place, 8 seconds behind Alvarado.
1. BRAND Lucinda (Telenet Baloise Lions) 53:43
2. ALVARADO Ceylin del Carmen (Alpecin – Fenix) +0:24
3. BETSEMA Denise (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal) +0:32
4. VAS Blanka Kata (Doltcini – Van Eyck – Proximus Continental Team) +0:32
5. WORST Annemarie (777) +0:50
| Vanthourenhout wins Tabor World Cup
It was an exciting race between teammates in the final half of the Tabor World Cup, with Michael Vanthourenhout taking the victory and the European Champion Eli Iserbyt taking second. Behind the two, Wout van Aert rounded out the podium.
Quinten Hermans led the race through the first corner after a fast start. Once the dirt came into play, Laurens Sweeck set the pace, but no gaps emerged until the first passage of the start-finish when ten riders crossed with a slight advantage, led by Vanthourenhout.
Into the third lap, the lead group remained the same with the exception of Sweeck who went down on some barriers. Later in the third lap came the first real move by Vanthourenhout, van Aert followed close behind. The move was unsuccessful and the race for victory was still between the eight riders leading.
Vanthourenhout tried to get away again on the fourth lap and was able to get a three-second lead over the rest of the leading group. At first, Daan Soete led the chase to bring back the Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal rider, but with four laps to Van Aert moved to the front of the group. With two laps to go Vanthourenhour had increased his lead to 15 seconds.
The next move came from Vanthourenhout’s teammate, Iserbyt. The European Champion almost immediately got a gap from the rest of the chasers and was visibly making up ground on the lone leader. With two laps to go Vanthourenhout was not letting up on the pace with Iserbyt only 3 seconds behind.
The catch was made in the 7th lap, as the race for third also heated up between Van Aert and Toon Aerts 14 seconds behind the leading two riders.
In a technical section on the final lap, Iserbyt slipped, opening the door for Vanthourenhout to once again make a solo attempt at the win, at least for a second. On the same section, Van Aert swung from low to the high line, grazing Aerts front wheel. Aerts tumbled slightly and in doing so was distanced from Van Aert.
Vanthourenhout closed every corner on Iserbyt, holding on to the lead position through the barriers and some technical turns. He was able to get a small gap over his teammate after a flurry of accelerations and as Van Aert got closer and closer to the two.
Vanthourenhout won by only 5 seconds over Iserbyt with Van Aert 12 seconds behind the leader.
1. VANTHOURENHOUT Michael (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal) 1:02:43
2. ISERBYT Eli (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal) +0:05
3. Wout van Aert (Jumbo – Vimsa) +0:12
4. AERTS Toon (Telenet Baloise Lions) +0:18
5. VAN DER HAAR Lars (Telenet Baloise Lions) +0:21
| Shirin van Anrooij taken to hospital following early race crash
Shirin van Anrooij, 2020 Junior World Champion in cyclocross, was taken away from the Tabor World Cup on a stretcher after she was caught up in an early race crash. At the first corner of the race, a 777 rider dived from the outside to the inside line, pinching the field. A number of riders went down, including Katie Compton and Loes Sels.
The young Telenet Baloise Lion rider was conscious but had a nasty wound on her arm and damage to her hip, according to Sven Nys, the team’s manager. Nys also said he had “never seen such a wound” and that Van Anrooij lost a lot of blood.
Van Anrooij spent some of 2020 testing out to professional road scene with Trek-Segafredo and later signed a two-year deal with the top women’s team.
| Enrico Gasparotto to retire
Following two years with NTT Pro Cycling and 16-years in professional cycling, Enrico Gasparotto is ending his career in road racing. Gasparotto has had a few exceptional results in his career including two victories at the Amstel Gold Race in 2012 and 2016. He has also won stages at Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta a Catalunya.
Gasparotto took to his Instagram to announce his departure from the sport. “Cycling has been my life for the past 20 years: 16 as a professional and four as an under-23. A long journey in which I was able to travel the world, experience different cultures, meet magnificent people, and establish sincere and profound friendships,” Gasparotto wrote.
“I have always lived cycling in an all-encompassing way, with great passion and dedication and I think the right time has come to say goodbye and dedicate more time to my family and my crew, led by my wife Anna (fundamental in everything), my parents Toni and Luigina, my sister Lisa and those friends with whom I have shared ideas and opinions in the last days.”
The last race Gasparotto took part in was the 2020 Vuelta a España.
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Today’s featured image of Michael Vanthourenhout racing Urban Cross Kortrijk was taken by Kristof Ramon on November 28, 2020.