Dutch control podium at women's U23 Cyclo-cross Worlds
03 February 2019 11:30
As expected, the Dutch women captured all three podium places at the 2019 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in the Women Under-23 category. Less expected was that 19-year-old Inge van der Heijden would capture the top step in cold but sunny Bogense, ahead of Fleur Nagengast and top favorite Ceylin Del Carmen Nagengast. Van der Heijden never rode outside the top-three in the large lead group and surprised Alvarado in the headwind sprint to the finish. "At the European championships it was the same but then the positions were different, but I'm very happy with it," Van der Heijden said in the post-race flash interview. Throughout the race it was clear that Van der Heijden, the 20-year-old European champion, the World Cup winner Alvarado, and 21-year-old Fleur Nagengast were the strongest riders in the field of 48 riders. At the technical sections the Dutch trio often managed to gap their rivals but each time Silvia Persico (Italy), Anna Kay (Great-Britain) or Marion Norbert Riberolle (France) were able to catch on. The Dutch favorites didn't dare to continue their efforts when facing a fierce, cold headwind along the seafront. As the pace massively dropped on the finishing straight there were multiple riders able to bridge up to the front of the race. Nicole Koller (Switzerland), young Puck Pieterse (Netherlands), Katie Clouse (USA) and later also Clara Honsinger (USA) joined the lead group thus giving ten riders a shot at glory when hitting the final lap.ADVERTISEMENT "It was very close until the finish and everybody was close together. There were often gaps but then everything got back together, making it very exciting until the end," Van der Heijden said. Persico led the group over the first obstacle with Van der Heijden, Alvarado, Nagengast and Clouse near the front too. Persico faded back when steaming towards the second technical zone and also Riberolle lost every chance to win when she had to swap bikes in the final pit area. "I knew that I had to be in front at the final off-camber section. In the end, I had to close a gap on Ceylin. Once on the road, I rode a long sprint until the finish which led to my victory," Van der Heijden said as she talked her way through the final meters of the race.
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