Harris wins Superprestige Hoogstraaten

Nikki Harris (image: Telenet-Fidea)

Nikki Harris (image: Telenet-Fidea)

With many top riders choosing to stay away from Hoogstraten’s Vlaamse Aardbeiencross round of the Superprestige, due partly at least to the Series’ apparent lack of interest in women’s cycling (as expressed by Superprestige president Etienne Gevaert in this VeloNation interview), many fans wishing to choose a favourite for victory will have made their selection from just two names – Britain’s Nikki Harris, who was second here in 2011, and Belgian Champion Sanne Cant, who won last year.

Cant rode hard to beat Vos and Wyman at Krawatencross, where Harris was fourth, just 24 hours before this race; but she’s proved many times before that she’s very capable of making a rapid recovery from extreme effort and coming back even stronger because when you’re the female ‘Cross Champ of Belgium you have no other choice because you’re in demand every weekend – despite what a dinosaur like Gevaert thinks. Harris will have been under no illusion that she was not facing stiff competition.

Cant’s known to be a very, very good rider on sand, so the long sandpit leading to the finish line was likely to do her some favours. Harris, meanwhile, is very, very good in the mud – and although conditions two hours before the race began were reported to be dry (and windy), heavy rain had fallen several times in the week prior to the race and had left the parcours muddy for most of its length. This, in the end, gave her all the advantage she needed and having remained ahead of Cant for the first lap, she proceeded to increase the gap between them throughout the remainder of the race and finished a very impressive 57″ ahead.

Jolien Verschueren’s ride was was also impressive and earned her third place – not only did she do well in remaining ahead of the rest, she was actually gaining on Cant during the latter half of the race; she finished 13″ behind Cant but 41″ ahead of fourth place Ellen Van Loy.

Result

1 Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) 36’41”
2 Sanne Cant (Enertherm-Bkcp) +57″
3 Jolien Verschueren (Dncs/Pro 2012) +1’10”
4 Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) +1’51”
5 Loes Sels (Young Telenet-Fidea) +2’20”
6 Cindy Bauwens +3’14”
7 Yara Kastelijn (Rtc Buitenlust) +3’22”
8 Karen Verhestraeten (Sengers) +4’03”
9 Maud Kaptheyns +4’18”
10 Esmee Oosterman (Wrv DE Peddelaars) +4’30”
11 Pavla Havlikova (Young Telenet-Fidea) +4’43”
12 Hilde Quintens +5’37”
13 Katrien Thijs (UP) +5’50”
14 Shana Maes +6’36”
15 Lena Bischoff-Stein +6’48”
16 Gertie Willems +7’04”
17 Suzanne Verhoeven +7’18”
18 Christine Vardaros (Baboco-Revor Cycling Team) +7’48”
19 Suzie Godart +8’48”
20 Caren Commissaris (UP) +9’18”
21 Lotte Eikelenboom (Drc De Mol) +9’34”
22 Tine Verdeyen +10’03”
23 Lene Vrijsen +1 lap
24 Mara Schwager ST
25 Meg De Bruyne ST
26 Aurélie Vermeir ST
27 Marijke De Pauw ST
28 Jana Dobbelaere ST
29 Cindy Diericx +2 laps