24-year-old Sanne Cant has had a great season, winning a myriad of races. However, lately Vos, Nash, Lechner and Ferrand-Prevot have turned up, but she has held her own, finishing at an average of third for December, winning 3 C1 races, and her National Championships. On Sunday, she won the World Cup to boot.
However, it is clear that she had a better November, I believe that that was her plan: peak for November. However, can she come back? Re-peak if you like? Let's have a look at her results.
September & October:
27th September: Neerpelt: 1st
5th October: Gieten: 1st
12th October: Ronse: 12th (Winner De Boer)
19th October: Valkenburg: 7th (Compton)
At the beginning of the season, we see her win Neerpelt, the first race of the season, as she has done for the past three years. She then won in Gieten, like mens' Worlds favourite Van der Poel, but had less fortune, outside the top 10 for the only time all season, in Ronse.
1st November: Koppenberg: 3rd (De Boer)
2nd November: Zonhoven: 1st
8th November: European Championships: 1st
9th November: Ruddervoorde: 1st
11th November: Niel: 1st
16th November: Gavere: 1st
22nd November: Koksijde: 1st
29th November: Milton Keynes: 1st
30th November: Hamme-Zogge: 1st
Well, well, well. See why she wanted to peak for November? In doing so, she won some of the biggest and most coveted races known to 'cross, including Zonhoven, Gavere and Koksijde, with a daring move on the final lap. She also outsprinted Compton in Milton Keynes. If Koppenberg had a tradition of being on Hallowe'en, she'd have had an unblemished record. In November she became European Champion, World Cup leader. She had the best month of cyclocross seen for, well, let's say a long time. Could she keep it up?
Just one of Cant's wins came in Milton Keynes. (Bryn Lennon/Getty)
6th December: GP Hasselt: 1st
7th December: Vlaamse Druivencross: 1st
13th December: Scheldecross Antwerpen: 1st
14th December: Zilvermeercross: 3rd (Stultiens)
17th December: Het Waasland: 1st
20th December: GP Rouwmoer Essen: 2nd (De Boer)
21st December: Namen: 6th (Nash)
26th December: Heusden-Zolder: 7th (Vos)
28th December: Diegem: DNS due to sickness
30th December: Loenhout: 5th (Nash)
Now. We can see how her results at the start of December mirrored her November form, winning BPost Hasselt, Druivencross and Scheldecross before her first "loss" in over a month, 3rd in Zilvermeer to Stultiens. She came second in Essen, expending a lot of energy chasing down De Boer, which cost her in Namur, finishing sixth, as some big names arrived in the form of Vos, Lechner and Nash, making the race faster and harder. Cant had been racing quickly since September, so it was expected that they'd beat her, but did she ease off here? Should she have, for Worlds form? She then got sick, for Diegem.
1st January: Baal: 2nd (Nash)
11th January: Belgian National Cyclo-Cross Championships: 1st
12th January: Otegem: 1st
25th January: Hoogerheide: 4th (Lechner)
The races thin out in January, but she still managed to win two races, take 2nd in another, and regain her driekleur. She was doing well in Hoogerheide too, but had an incredibly unlucky fall, her front wheel tripping over the barriers. She still came 4th, but was sticking well with PFP and Nash before going down. She finished well ahead of fifth despite the crash, comfortably beating Stultiens. Interestingly, she beat Vos and Compton by minutes.
Personally, I don't think Cant has many good races left in her, but there's a chance.
Is it possible to peak for November and win worlds? It can't be easy, but isn't November enough? Sanne Cant is the World Cup winner. She won 3 Superprestiges, 2 BPosts, 2 World Cups and 8 standalone races. Even if she doesn't get a top 10 in worlds, this is by far her best season. She could win Worlds, oh yes indeed, but it's unlikely. Nash will be ultra-motivated, Compton has a point to prove, Vos is...well, Vos. However, one point. I forget this all the time, but Sanne Cant is 13 years younger than Nash and 12 younger than Compton. She has time.
How can she win? Cant will not be able to out-bludgeon Vos and Nash through mud, nor outsprint them. What she can do is surprise them with interesting tactics, like in Koksijde when she attacked at exactly the right moment, or attack when Vos and Nash are looking at each other.
My Opinion? Cant won't win Worlds, but she'll be a factor, there's no doubt about that.