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by Mark Zalewski
January 16, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kirsten Wild’s powerful sprint captures stage 2 of the Santos Women’s Tour; Caleb Ewan sprints to People’s Choice Classic victory at the Tour Down Under; Amanda Spratt carves out formidable lead in first stage of 2017 Santos Women’s Tour; Vos wins another World Cup, de Boer solidifies overall; Van Aert wins Italian World Cup round, overall; French government turns down request to make mechanical doping illegal; Toon Aerts likely out for season with shoulder injury from crash, riders question race course safety; American coach calls on Cycling Ireland to send team to world cyclocross championships; Owain Doull skips People’s Choice Classic with stomach bug; Di Rocco reelected president of Italian Cycling Federation; Money raised for 105-year-old world record breaker; Video: Meet Tiffany Cromwell; Video: Season prep with Wanty Groupe-Gobert.
The penultimate round of the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup, the Memorial Romano Scotti near Rome, Italy, saw Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) take another strong win, while also sealing the overall World Cup series victory. The already technical course was made even more difficult with mud over frozen ground, forcing riders to run far more than normal — in particular downhill sections that would likely be ridden in normal conditions.
In the first part of the race van Aert and Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) managed a gap on the field, with chasers grouped in twos and threes. However, a lap later, van Aert pulled away from Aerts and went on for the solo win. Aerts was able to keep second place for another lap, but was eventually caught by a chase group. While riding in third he crashed hard into a tree and was forced to abandon.
“It was very technical and weather conditions have made it difficult,” van Aert said. “Yesterday, during the recon of the course I knew it would not be easy. I felt good and I also feel confident ahead of the world championships. I think that both Meisen in second and Meeusen finishing third reflects the notion we can all be very competitive.”
German champion Marcel Meisen rode extremely well in the final laps, clawing back a lot of time on van Aert, while Tom Meeusen also had a strong ride in third.
“This is incredible because I was not super clean and that is important at this track,” Meisen told Het Laatste Nieuws. “Technically, however, it went very well. On the short uphill pieces I could constantly move-up and my eyes did not believe it. Getting the podium is amazing and incredible for our team. Oh, I flirted with a crash. So did everybody on this track, but I rode all over to find the good line. I felt very confident, in the downhill run as well. Technically it was a great day for me.”