On the legendary velodrome in Roubaix the cyclo-cross peloton competed in the fourth round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. The wins on the fast and technical course were for experienced riders Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) from Belgium and Katherine Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) from the USA. Compton strengthens her lead in the World Cup standings for Women while Nys is now on the heels of World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the Elite Men category.
The win from Compton in the first race of the day in Roubaix wasnâ€™t an easy one. Just like many other riders the American champion often bobbled on the course up and around the velodrome. Second-ranked Helen Wyman (Kona) went down in a fast sand passage during the first lap. Her crash hindered many others and it created a first selection. Still in the first lap a steep descent took out Sanne Cant (Veldritacademie Enertherm-BKCP). Belgian champion Cant had to be carried away. Compton was also inflicted in this crash but she was able to continue her race. In front Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank Women Cycling Team) didnâ€™t wait. The Dutch rider led the race with a small gap over Jasmin Achermann (Rapha-Focus) and Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team). Van Paassen managed to extend her lead over the first chasers but Compton was riding around quicker than everybody else in fifth place. The American rider quickly moved into second place but as time ran out to catch Van Paassen she started making mistakes. Despite several crashed she caught up with a tired Van Paassen in the bell lap and distanced her in the final technical section. Itâ€™s the third World Cup win of the season for Compton. Achermann clinched third place and her career first World Cup podium.
During the first half of the race in the Elite Men category it didnâ€™t seem like Sven Nys would leave his mark in Roubaix. In front world champion Albert was setting the pace with only Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) able to follow swiftly. Nys didnâ€™t seem to find his rhythm in Roubaix and for several laps he rode outside the top-9. Halfway the race things turned when Nys rode two fast laps and joined the leaders. The pace dropped in front and several other riders bridged up as well. After a relatively slow lap Nys moved forward in the eighth of twelve laps and only three riders were able to keep up: Albert, Pauwels and Taramarcaz. The four riders kept the pace high and it became clear they would battle for the win in Roubaix. Nys often set the pace and Albert struggled most to keep up. That changed in the final lap when Albert moved into the lead, defending his World Cup leader jersey. Still, in the last technical passage Nys manage to overtake the world champion and power to his second World Cup win of the season. Pauwels finished as runner-up and Albert was third, making it an all-Belgian podium.
The next UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup round is held in Namur, Belgium at the famous citadel on December 23.