Ro­chette Takes Gutsy Fifth at 2017 CX World Cham­pi­onships

Pedal Magazine - - Out in Front - BY BEN AN­DREW www.ped­al­

Maghalie Ro­chette, reign­ing Cana­dian Elite women’s Na­tional cham­pion from St-Jerome, Que., de­liv­ered a gutsy break­through ride on Jan 28, the open­ing day of the 2017 UCI Cy­clo-cross World Cham­pi­onships, claim­ing a stun­ning fifth in the Elite women’s race in Bieles, Lux­em­bourg at her de­but Worlds.

De­spite a poor start, Ro­chette was able to move up quickly, es­tab­lish­ing her­self in the top-10 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.

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 Mar­i­anne Vos of The Nether­lands, a seven-time world cham­pion. On the fi­nal lap, Vos at­tacked, with only Cant able to re­spond as the Bel­gium took the win over Vos, while Ro­chette rode in to claim a stel­lar fifth.

“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. I didn’t think about it [top five], and I have a lot of peo­ple to thank – my boyfriend and coach, my fam­ily, my team­mates and Cy­clo-cross Canada [sic]. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it, but I’m su­per-happy and thrilled about it.”

Ed­mon­ton’s, Alta.’s Michael van den Ham was the top Cana­dian in the Elite men’s race, fin­ish­ing 38th in the event won by Wout van Aert of Bel­gium. Van den Ham was fol­lowed by reign­ing Na­tional cham­pion Jeremy Martin of Que­bec City in 47th and Mark McCon­nell of Cal­gary in 55th.

“All in all, I’m very pleased with the race I man­aged to put to­gether. Look­ing back on the race, I think what I achieved was close to my best pos­si­ble race on the day,” said Van den Ham. “Of course, there were a few mis­takes here and there, a flat and a crash on the first lap, but given the chaotic na­ture of the course and hearing the sto­ries from other rid­ers, I feel like I came away rel­a­tively un­scathed.”

Fol­low­ing the race, McCon­nell, who has made a name for him­self in Euro­pean cy­clocross with his “Hot Sauce” brand, com­mented, “It was re­ally muddy to­day, but I’ve never had more fun at a race. I had the worst luck, crashed at the start and had a flat – it was just car­nage to­day. There was ob­sta­cle af­ter ob­sta­cle, but the crowd was fan­tas­tic.”

In the ju­nior men’s race, Gun­nar Holm­gren of Oril­lia, Ont. fin­ished 22nd, with fel­low Cana­di­ans Brody San­der­son in 25th and Noah Simms cross­ing the line in 46th.

In the Un­der-23 men’s and women’s races, Canada’s lone en­trants were Trevor O’Don­nell of Bar­rie, Ont. and Ruby West of Dun­das, Ont. West fin­ished 26th in her race, while O’Don­nell crossed the line on the muddy course in 46th.

Canada’s Maghalie Ro­chette at the fin­ish fol­low­ing a stel­lar break­through ride to claim 5th at her de­but CX Worlds in Lux­em­bourg.

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