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Rochette Claims Fabulous 5th at 2017 Cyclo-cross World Championships + PHOTOS

by pedalmag.com
Maghalie Rochette  ©  Michal Cerveny
January 28, 2017 (Bieles, Luxembourg) – Maghalie Rochette, reigning Canadian Elite women’s champ from St-Jerome, Quebec at her first Worlds, delivered a gutsy, breakthrough ride on the opening day of the 2017 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships on Saturday, claiming a stunning fifth in the Elite Women’s race at Bieles, Luxembourg.

Elite Women's start  ©  Michal Cerveny
Despite a poor start Rochette was able to move up quickly establishing herself in the top 10 sitting 8th at the start of the second of five laps. Ice and mud made for an extremely slick course with many riders crashing on the tricky off camber climbs and descents.

Kaitlin Antonneau crashes  ©  Michal Cerveny
Maghalie Rochette  ©  Michal Cerveny
Rochette held her own moving up to fifth by the start of lap three and sat at the back of the lead group as Sanne Cant of Belgium battled with race leader Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, a 7-time world champion. In third was Katerina Nash (Cze) with Lucinda Brand (Ned) in fourth.

Sanne Cant leads Maghalie Rochette  ©  Michal Cerveny
When Vos attacked near the end only Cant could respond as the two duked it out with Cant out-foxing her Dutch rival to finally claim the title that slipped away from her last year. Nash was 3rd and Brand 4th as Rochette  rode to the finish solo celebrating with the crowd as she crossed the finishline in fifth place. Mical Dyck of Victoria finished 20th and Cindy Montambault of Val-David, Quebec, was 24th.

Cindy Montambault  ©  Michal Cerveny
“I had a horrible start,” admitted Rochette, “but I just kept paying attention to what was ahead and when there was a crash I was able to get around it and I was able to catch up to the front group.  After that I just kept moving forward.  I had a clean race and didn’t really crash, so it was pretty amazing and I’m really happy.

“Personally I thought the course was amazing; it was slippery but that was the same for everybody.  You just had to keep clean and keep moving.  We had similar conditions at Nationals so I knew how to race it.  I didn’t think about it [top-5] and I have a lot of people to thank – my boyfriend and coach, my family, my team mates and Cyclo-cross Canada.  I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m super happy and thrilled about it.”

Gunnar Holmgren  ©  Michal Cerveny

Earlier in the day Gunnar Holmgren of Orillia, Ontario, was the top Canadian in the Junior men’s race, finishing 22nd at 4:15 behind winner Thomas Pidcock Great Britain who led a UK-podium sweep. Brody Sanderson (Orillia, ON) was 25th and Noah Simms (Barrie, ON) 46th.

Pidcock wins  ©  Michal Cerveny
Junior Men's podium  ©  Michal Cerveny

In the Under-23 women’s race, Canada’s lone entry, Ruby West (Dundas, ON), was 26th, at 6:03 behind winner Annemarie Worst of the Netherlands.

Results here.

Ruby West  ©  Michal Cerveny
Ruby West  ©  Michal Cerveny
Annemarie Worst  ©  Michal Cerveny

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