Two weeks ago, Christine Majerus was part of Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team’s world title winning ride in the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships Doha, Qatar. The following Saturday, she sprinted to 15th place in the road race. This Sunday, the Luxembourg champion (‘cross, road, time trial) lined up for Cauberg Cross, the third round of the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup series.
“The transition from road to ‘cross was harder than I had hoped,” said Majerus, who slotted into 21st place in Valkenburg. “I felt good during the week, so I secretly hooped that I could keep the momentum going. Of course, I know every first time is difficult.”
The five laps around the famous Cauberg climb played out like a race of attrition. By the end of the lap one, a six-rider leading group had begun to take shape. Majerus featured in the second distinct chase group out on course.
“I had a bad start but I was able to move up a bit before the downhill,” noted Majerus. “When I completely messed up on the downhill, I lost a bunch of positions, and I struggled to find my rhythm again.”
As the laps ticked down and the leading group traded blows, Majerus was fighting further afield.
Three minutes after world champion Thalita de Jong (Rabo Liv) who won the first European round of 2016-2017 World Cup racing, Majerus reached the finish line.
“I realised I wasn’t going to have the sort of result I had hoped for, so it became about finishing the race,” Majerus said. “I hope the fact that I came from two weeks of heat in Qatar to ‘cross temperatures can explain a bit but obviously I also missed the rhythm and speed today.”
“I’m going to forget about this one, get back to work and do better next time,” she said. “First races back are never easy.”
British cyclocross champion Nikki Harris also lined up in Valkenburg today. The 29-year-old suffered a self-characterised “off day” and retired mid-race.