The seventh and final round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup was contested in Nommay, in the East of France. Dutchman Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) racked up the overall win in the Elite Men category with a fourth place on the demanding Brognard course. In the Women category American champion Katherine Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) abandoned the race but she had already secured the overall victory at the penultimate World Cup round in Rome, Italy.
The muddy victories in Nommay on a grey Sunday afternoon were for Belgian rider Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team).
The trio Francis Mourey (FDJ.fr), Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) and Meeusen dominated the race in the Elite Men category. Meeusen already attacked the rest of the field in the first lap. The 25 year-old Belgian created a gap of nearly ten seconds but then German champion Walsleben responded to the attack with Meeusen’s team-mate Corné van Kessel on his wheel. The duo caught up with Meeusen in the second lap.
Meanwhile the rest of the riders were struggling on the muddy course and trailing by nearly twenty seconds. Only home rider Mourey was able to react and he tried to close the gap solo. Two laps later Mourey bridged up with the leaders while Van Kessel fell back. Mourey and Walsleben seemed to have the upper hand as Meeusen always lost touch in the extremely muddy first part of the course. Nevertheless Meeusen managed to hang on and in the final lap he put himself in front of the others in his bad section. Meeusen no longer needed to close a gap and the fast man suddenly had the best card in his hand. Mourey led out the sprint but he was no match for the Belgian rider. Much further back Van der Haar finished in fourth place at a minute from the winner. The Dutchman raised his arms when crossing the line, celebrating the World Cup victory. Czech rider Radomir Simunek (Kwadro-Stannah) made it a very international top-5 by holding off Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games). World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) didn’t take the start in Nommay.
In the Women category the much-anticipated duel between World Cup winner Katherine Compton and world champion Marianne Vos didn’t happen. Compton suffered from asthma due to her pollen allergy. The American rider briefly featured in the front of the race but then faded, pulling out of the race in the second lap. As a result Vos found herself without much opposition. The Dutch cycling star overtook fast starter Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing) and sped away. By the end of the first lap Vos already had a half-minute gap on Wyman and Compton. On the muddy and hilly course Vos got into a great rhythm. She ended up being the only rider who was able to clock lap times under nine minutes. Though shifting back a little after that blistering first lap Vos kept increasing her lead and at the finish she had a gap of 1:32 on Wyman. The European champion rode a flawless race and held of Italian champion Eva Lechner (Centro Sportivo Esercito). The latter didn’t get away as fast as Wyman and each lap lost a handful of seconds. Behind her Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) fought her way back into the race after a minor mistake in the first lap. She bridged back up to Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) and then left her behind in the final lap. The fifth place from Harris was enough to hold on to her second place in the overall standings of the World Cup. Cant finishes third ahead Vos.
On Sunday morning World Cup winner Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) was beaten by Wout van Aert (Belgium) in the Men Under 23 category after a race-long duel. Van der Poel was already certain of the overall victory before the start of the race. Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic) finished as runner-up behind Thijs Aerts (Belgium) but ahead of his direct rival Yannick Peeters (Belgium) in the Junior Men category. It was more than enough to grab the overall win in the World Cup.
Next week the UCI Cyclo-cross world championships are held in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.