Belgian cyclocross champion Sanne Cant is set to make her season debut this weekend at the Superprestige cross in Overijse. Having focused on road racing in recent years, Cant opened up to Wielerflits about her return to cyclocross, revealing that she feels “liberated” by the shift from the pressure of needing to win.
Cant, who spoke during her team Crelan-Corendon’s presentation, bears visible scars around her eyes in the aftermath of a serious crash at Paris-Roubaix Femmes. Remarkably resilient, she reports having missed no training sessions despite sustaining 60 facial stitches. Her plans for a holiday were, however, disrupted. Nonetheless, Cant says she is content with how her summer panned out, adding that her post-Paris-Roubaix plans always included a period of rest.
On the road, the 33-year-old has embraced a different role within her team. Formerly working to set up sprint trains, she has transitioned into a ‘road captain’. She finds the role rewarding, noting her positive influence on younger team members and citing messages from teammates saying they miss her presence as an affirmation of team spirit.
As Cant switches back to the more individualistic world of cyclocross, she acknowledges the need to readjust her competitive instincts. She is pleased about her team Crelan-Corendon bringing in Inge van der Heijden, which she believes will ease the pressure on her. She describes feeling a certain freedom from not having to secure wins or high performances as consistently.
Despite this liberation, Cant is determined to remain a front-runner. She admits that victories have become more challenging to achieve, but she has her sights on Saturday races. World Cup events may be a stretch, but she aims to be competitive in the races that attract television coverage.
One special focus for Cant is the upcoming Belgian Championship in Meulebeke. With an eye on equalling American Katherine Compton’s record of 15 consecutive wins, Cant insists that the prospect would make the championship even more special for her.