Cyclo-cross women’s worlds: a rainbow dominated by “Oranje”

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The Dutch, led by Puck Pieterse and Fem van Empel, who have unchallengedly dominated cyclo-cross for three seasons, advance as big favorites for the Worlds in Hoogerheide, Saturday on the eve of the announced duel between Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel for the men. After Belgian Sanne Cant’s three consecutive titles between 2017 and 2019, the Oranje stars returned to their historic dominance by winning all six medals at stake in the Dübendorf “Women’s Elite” category races in 2020 , Ostend in 2021 and Fayetteville last year. They also took the top seven places in the World Cup standings this season. Since October 2021 and the success of Hungary’s Blanka Vas in Overijse, no competitor outside the Netherlands has won a classification cyclo-cross (World Cup, Superprestige, X2O Trophy)! For the “others”, such as the Hungarian champion Vas or the Belgian of French origin Marion Norbert-Riberolle, grabbing a podium will therefore be synonymous with performance. Given the choice of Shirin van Anrooij to compete in the Espoirs race, the young people (20 years old) Puck Pieterse and Fem van Empel are the two huge favorites to succeed Marianne Vos, who has been absent due to recurring physical problems since the start of the year. Throughout the winter, European champion Van Empel and Dutch champion Bas Pieterse chained the victories (13 for van Empel, 9 for Pieterse). Excellent technicians, the two rivals should appreciate the suburban layout which, when relaunching with undergrowth, makes a staircase of about twenty steps to swallow at each turn and a final straight line uphill. A course designed by Adrie van der Poel, the father of Matthieu, favorite in the men’s race with the Belgian Wout Van Aert, on Sunday.

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