A fast, dry course greeted competitors in the Italian round of the 2012-2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup which saw Dutch World Champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank Liv/Giant Team) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb – Napoleon Games) speed to victory.
With one more World Cup round to go, Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) is already certain of the overall victory in the women’s category. The American champion also won rounds in Plzen, Koksijde, Roubaix, and Namur, and finished second in Tabor and Heusden-Zolder. Compton became the first American racer, man or woman, to win the overall World Cup.
World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) no longer has to deal with Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) in the battle for the World Cup, as the latter had an off-day in Rome.
Elite Women. World Cup leader Katie Compton showed fine form from the start, and only Vos was able to keep up. The duo soon distanced the rest of the field. With two laps to go Compton trailed the World Champion by a couple of seconds, and one lap later Vos had extended her lead to 16 seconds, finally finishing 24 seconds in the clear.
More than a minute behind the winner, the Czech rider Katerina Nash (Luna) took third place, finishing just ahead of the Netherlands’ Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank Liv/Giant Team), and Belgium’s Sanne Cant (Veldritacademie Enertherm-BKCP). American Amy Dombroski (Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team) finished 16th on the very fast course.
“I’ve got the rhythm going and can head with confidence to the [world] championships],” Vos told Sporza TV after the win.
In just three World Cup starts this year, Vos, the current Olympic and world champion on the road, has two wins. She is racing an abbreviated ’cross season with a focus on the upcoming cyclocross world championships in Louisville, Kentucky, in late January.
Elite Men. After six of ten laps, five riders were leading the race: teammates Klaas Vantornout and Pauwels were joined by Albert, Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Francis Mourey (FDJ – Big Mat). Vantornout put pressure on the group and one by one they dropped away, with only Pauwels managing to join his teammate in front. The duo clearly had victory in their hands. In the final lap, Pauwels dropped Vantornout to claim his third World Cup victory of the season.
At short distance from the finish Vantornout ran into bad luck when he dropped his chain and had to watch Albert, Fontana and Mourey pass by.
Much further back Sven Nys had the worst race of his season due to illness. Finishing in 20th place, he no longer shares the lead in the World Cup standings with Albert. The latter will hit the final World Cup round with a bonus of 16 points over Pauwels; Nys trails by 39 points.
Men U23. Juan Alaphilippe (France) finished solo in a tactical race in the Men Under 23 category. Just over halfway through the race, Alaphilippe escaped from a large group of riders and stayed away for the final three laps. Mike Teunissen (the Netherlands) was the best of the rest at 16 seconds, finishing just ahead of Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium). Belgian Champion Wietse Bosmans didn’t have a sprint ready and finished sixth but remains World Cup leader.
Junior Men. As expected, world champion Mathieu van der Poel (the Netherlands) once again dominated the race in the Junior Men category and keeps his lead in the overall standings. Home rider Gioele Bertolini was his strongest rival, finishing 25 seconds behind the fast Dutchman. Martijn Budding (the Netherlands) won the sprint for third place.
American champion Logan Owen barely missed out on the podium with his fourth-place effort. Owen has had a phenomenal year on the world cup circuit having also recorded a second-place, third-place, and a pair of fifth-places. He currently sits in second in the overall standings going into the final round. Also racing for the United States in the junior event were Curtis White who finished 27th and Spencer Downing in 30th.
The World Cup will wrap up on January 20 in the Netherlands.