Blanka Vas continued her impressive start to the cyclocross season by winning the Nacht van Woerden. It was the first race of the season for world champion Marianne Vos who finished 2nd behind the Hungarian. Puck Pieterse continued her pressing threat by finishing 3rd. The C2 race is part criterium, part cyclocross as it’s held amongst a town carnival in the dark with a narrow course that technically breaks the course design rules but creates a fairly unique layout.
Like many races, Nacht van Woerden was paused during Covid, so this was the first race in 2 years. Aside from those on the podium, there were also the likes of Shirin van Anrooij, Aniek van Alphen, Manon Bakker and Marion Norbert Riberolle.
Puck Pieterse got off to the quickest start, with Vos, Vas, Bakker and Van Alphen hanging on behind. As you can see from the main image above, Vos had a front light on her bike, unique amongst the front runners. After Pieterse’ fast start, Vas took over at the front and kept the pace high. That managed to distance Bakker and Van Alphen, leaving just 3 strong riders left at the front of the race.
Pieterse came back through, trying to put the squeeze on her two rivals, which almost worked with Vas missing the acceleration to begin with. Vos however looked comfortable following her young Dutch rival. The decisive move happened on the final lap where Vas was finally able to go solo with an attack. She held that gap to the finish and crossed the line a few seconds ahead of Vos. Pieters was a little bit further back in 3rd, with Bakker beating Van Alphen and Molengraaf for 4th, 5th and 6th.
“It was very slippery in the corners. However, I was good in the corners and I was able to make the difference there. I knew I had to start in the lead on the final lap, as it is difficult to overtake on this course. I went for it and was able to finish it.
My eyes aren’t very good in the dark, so I was a little scared. However, it was a lot of fun to do, also because we could count on a lot of encouragement. Namur will be a tough course, but I hope to do well there too”.Blanka Vas
“As always, in Woerden it is super fast, you have to pay attention, turn and turn… Puck Pieterse and Blanka Kata Vas are great at it, they constantly put pressure. It was full house for me. In the last lap Vas made a small hole, I had to click out and she was gone. Then everything was done to bring in that second place.
I am very happy that I was among them. You always have to wait and see where you stand, but I am satisfied with this kick-off. It’s always just as exciting. I took a break after the road season and picked up training in recent weeks to continue in the races. I hope to continue this trend. It wasn’t even my first time [racing with a light], because I’ve also driven with a light on the road. But we don’t ride in the dark that often, of course. Fortunately, it is very well lit here. It may not have been necessary, but it came in handy on a few points.”Marianne Vos
“We drove well from the start. I took care of the start and then Blanka took over well. We drove off with the three of us. We got more and more lead, which also made it a bit more tactical. In the end it was all about who would start the technical passage first on the last lap. That was Blanka.
Vas was very strong every lap in the technical section. She was the best and finished it very nicely. Can I blame myself? Maybe I should have pushed a little harder after the corners, but that was not possible this time, I rode around really well, it’s a nice lap. I think it’s totally fine that way.”Puck Pieterse
Nacht van Woerden 2022 Results
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