You could be forgiven for not realising Marianne Vos took part in the Dutch national championships this weekend. The world champion barely featured on the flooded muddy course. Whilst Puck Pieterse went off into the distance at the front, Vos was struggling in the mud behind. The cameras captured the moment Vos looked like she was going to call it a day in the pits but she pushed on and finished 10th in the end, around 7 minutes behind Pieterse. It hasn’t been Vos’ strongest cyclocross season with her only victory coming in Kortrijk in November. She tends to train to race rather than race to train so after that win she took a break and wasn’t seen again until the race in Koksijde on January 5th, just one week before the Dutch nationals.
“One race goes better than the other. It varies in that respect. I’ve had a good training block and I feel good conditionally, so I’m in good shape in that respect. I hope I can show that in the last races of the season. The level is just very high and if you are just one per cent less yourself, then that makes a lot of difference. For whatever reason, rhythm, shape or courses that suit you better or less… but that does not alter the fact that it is still very nice to do.”
Next week there is the World Cup in Benidorm. That is my last race and then the preparation towards Hoogerheide starts. I am very curious. It’s a track that we know, and for me a location that I have fond memories of, so I like to look forward to it.”Marianne Vos
As the world champion, Marianne Vos is guaranteed an entry on the Dutch team to try and retain her title in Hoogerheide. It looks ambitious at the moment and it would be a surprise to get a repeat of the warm, dry parcours that saw her take that title last season. As things stand, the rainbow bands look set to adorn a different pair of shoulders in 2023.