The biggest surprise of the day, to me at least, was Hanka Kupfernagel. She had dominated the season last year, however, this year she was struggling. Her form got better and better by every race, so I wasn’t really surprised that she was leading the field in the first lap. Usually, she starts quite well, so I wasn’t sure for how long would she be able to keep up that pace.
The leading trio consisted of newcomer Katerina Nash, Kupfernagel and Marianne Vos (pictured). This photo was taken with a rented Canon EF 300 f/2.8 IS USM lens. This was the first time I used one and it is one amazing piece of equipment. I’ve never used a prime telephoto lens before and it definitely takes some getting used to as it’s not as versatile as a zoom telephoto lens. On the other hand, though, it’s exceptionally sharp and fast. A beautiful piece of glass.
For Katerina Nash, whose primary interest is mountain biking, this was the second cyclo-cross World Cup race ever and, yet she managed to keep up the pace with the top riders like Vos or Kupfernagel.
A young supporter.
When the mud gets really sticky, like here, riders often find it faster to just run through these sections instead of pedaling.
Daphny Van Den Brand is about to tackle a tricky descent.
Did I mention the sticky mud? British rider Gabby Day also had some difficulties with it.
Sanne Van Paassen in the penultimate lap.
Nash seemed like she couldn’t believe just happened.
Kupfernagel was probably equally happy: this second place was the best finish this season and her chances look pretty good for the Worlds. The funny thing is that I still remember from last year at the Worlds her teary eyes as she was given the medal for the second place. Everything is relative.
Katerina Nash climbs up to the podium for the awards ceremony.
Since Katherine Compton was unable to race, she lost the overall leader’s jersey which was awarded to Van Den Brand. However, she was still quite upset by a crash she was involved in early in the race, so she was openly crying while she put the jersey on.