Christine Majerus said beforehand that she had never been in a better shape going into the UCI World Cyclocross Championships and that showed in the race. The Luxembourg champion led the pack on the first lap and later had her eye on bronze for a long time, until Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) snatched the medal away. Sanne Cant (IKO) prolonged her world title, while Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) earned silver.
Despite losing bronze in the end, Majerus impressed with her race and achieved a career-best result at ‘Cross Worlds. For now, the sadness prevails. “At the moment, I’m pretty sad,” said Majerus. “I came here without a goal, finishing 10th would also have been good, so maybe it’s hard to understand why I’m sad. And don’t get me wrong: fourth is great! It’s by far my best result, by far my best race. I raced for podium, didn’t loose it mentally and I didn’t give up. They were just slightly stronger. But it is bittersweet to loose bronze like that.”
The first time that Majerus had seen the course was during a recon on Thursday. Since then, the course changed quite dramatically into much deeper mud sections. “I liked the lap when I saw it on Thursday,” Majerus said. “It was technically and hard. Today there was way more running, of which I’m not sure if I liked that or not. But still, it probably didn’t unfavour me.”
It definitely didn’t. As a strong starter, Majerus was flying from the start line. She entered the mud at the front of the race and led the pack together with Eva Lechner (ClifBar). After some mistakes and crashes, Lechner dropped back, while Cant and Compton took over the race lead. Majerus held onto third, with Brand closing the gap to the Luxembourg champion past the halfway mark.
“Brand got to me in the third lap,” Majerus explained. “But at the of that lap, I overtook her again and tried to make a difference. I thought I was technically better than her, so I knew I had to make the difference there. And it kind of worked as I had a bit of a gap. But she came back strongly with a best time on her last lap, so there’s no regrets to have over that.”
After her own fight with American champion Compton, Cant crossed the line after 49’34”, while Majerus raced for over fifty minutes. It’s unusual for women’s races to be that long and in combination with the course, it was a hard day in the saddle. “It was a hard one, yes,” Majerus said. “Long races on those physically heavy laps are terrible.”
Looking back, disappointment is understandably still the dominant emotion of the Luxembourg champion. “I never had an individual medal at a world championships and maybe this was my chance,” she said. “And I didn’t manage to make it happen. So that’s makes me sad.”
“But I’m proud that I got my head up again for this race,” Majerus continued. “It showed me that I can race with the best, which is good motivation for next year. I’ll come back another year for podium.”