Nikki Harris won a fierce battle for second place in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium on Saturday in the final round of the Bpost Bank Trofee series. Sandwiched on the podium between world champion Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv) and European champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP), Harris was a satisifed runner-up following a fast and technical 43-minute effort.
“I’m happy with how I raced on this particular course,” said Harris. “I always prefer the technical races, and this was opposite that. I’ve been working hard to get better on this kind of course, and results like this show me what I’m doing is working. Definitely no regrets today.”
The newly crowned world champion took charge of the race from the start. Two laps in, De Jong had a slim lead over Briton’s Helen Wyman (Kona). Harris had been riding in fifth wheel for the most of lap one, but by lap two, she began swapping spots with Cant and Jolien Verschueren (Young Telenet-Fidea). Wyman lost contact with De Jong definitively on lap three, and a chase group of four formed with two laps still to race.
“I spent the week at home following Worlds, and I think it was what I needed,” said Harris. “It’s always refreshing doing a few normal things with friends and family.”
“I knew from last week that my form is good, and you don’t lose form in a week,” Harris added. “I had a pretty positive attitude before the race and just got sucked into it from the start.”
Harris made her move on the last lap, opening up a gap on the others, to solo across the line in second place. The British champion reached the finish 36-seconds behind De Jong and 14-seconds ahead of Cant.
“I felt better every lap today,” explained Harris. “I was able to put in a big effort on the last lap to distance myself from the others. Thalita had a good start and more or less maintained her gap the entire race. The others I was racing with faded toward the end whereas I felt stronger with each lap.”
Harris will conclude her final double race weekend of the 2015/2016 cyclocross season with Superprestige Hoogstraten on Sunday.