Crashes derailed Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team’s ambitions at the 2016 European Union Cyclocross Championships in Pont-Château, France on Sunday. British cyclocross champion Nikki Brammeier crashed out of the fast, non-technical eight-lap race in the opening minute of racing while a second lap crash took Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus from the front group to mid-field.
“I’m only scratched from the crash,” noted Majerus. “It’s nothing serious. I’m just frustrated.”
Majerus fared better than Brammeier. The Briton was forced to retire due to her injuries.
The fast, non-technical course would have favoured the likes of Brammeier and Majerus. A quick, chaotic start saw Majerus win the battle for position. Half a lap into the race, she had forced her way to the front of the field.
“The start was good,” said Majerus. “The legs felt good, but I also took the lead to stay out of trouble.”
By lap two, a front group had begun to take shape. Majerus was sitting comfortably amongst the leaders until she found herself on the ground.
“Pavla [Havlikova] came into my handlebar and took me out,” Majerus said. “The good group was gone, and it took me a whole lap to get back into a rhythm and find my focus again.”
“Unfortunately, I was all alone,” she added. “On a fast lap like this one, it’s just the worst case scenario.”
Unable to make many gains on the course, Majerus turned her attention to holding her position. Ahead, world champion Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv, Netherlands) was riding the front group off her wheel rider-by-rider.
By race end, the world champion had added another jersey to her to closet. De Jong finished 17 seconds ahead of teammate Lucinda Brand. France’s Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement) rounded out the podium.
Not quite three minutes after De Jong celebrated the European title, Majerus reached the finish line. Her ride proved good for 13th place.
“I hope I can keep the momentum going into the next weeks,” said Majerus. “I felt already way better today than last week.”
Editor’s note: Brammeier checked in on Tuesday morning to give the latest update on her injuries. She said: "I travelled back from France yesterday and went straight to Maastricht for some more tests at Maastricht UMC+. I have a pretty bad concussion, and some cuts and scrapes on my mouth and face. I had to get some stitches, and I've been dealing with quite a lot of pain, but otherwise I'm okay. There's nothing broken and will be no lasting damage."