Newly (re)crowned Luxembourgish cyclocross Christine Majerus parlayed a strong start into a race win in Otegem on Monday. Beating out the likes of World Cup leader Sophie de Boer (Kalas-H.Essers-NNOF) and world champion Thalita de Jong (Lares-Waowdeals), Majerus put in a flawless performance to deliver her fourth victory of the new year.
“It was a start to finish win, and I’m pretty proud of that,” said Majerus. “I’m happy because even if I won races already this year, they’re not comparable to today. There were a few good riders on the startline for the other races, but it was never like today with Sophie, Ellen [van Loy] and Thalita. This feel really good.”
Majerus has made a massive effort to improve her starts over the last several months, and she’s seen her efforts pay dividends. A strong start and an early lead often allow Majerus to hang onto the leading group as the laps tick down. She says she finds it mentally advantageous to race from the lead and potentially lose a bit of ground than to fight her way forward from further back in the field.
In Otegem, Majerus was able to maintain the gap her strong start opened.
“It was actually a pretty perfect race,” said Majerus. “I had a perfect start and could manage in between. I was able to keep a little bit, which allowed me to have something left for the final.”
The remaining gas in the tank during the second half of the race came in handy when De Boer began inching closer to Majerus in the fourth lap.
“My first two laps were great, and then I don’t know if I slowed down or Sophie sped up, but from 15 seconds, she made it back to two or three seconds,” Majerus explained. “At that moment, I doubted a little bit, so I just gave everything on the road, hoping she couldn’t make it back in my slipstream. It worked, and it even allowed me to increase the gap in the last laps.”
Nearing the finish, Majerus suffered a mechanical.
“The chain dropped with the mud in the last lap, but it happened just before the zone,” said Majerus. “I was lucky. The only thing I had to do was start running a little bit earlier."
Four race starts. Four race wins. It’s an undeniably impressive record nines day into the 2017.
“Yes, four wins is good, but we’re still not there yet,” said Majerus. “I would never allow myself to think these wins give any guarantees for what’s happening at Worlds in three weeks.
“For the moment, I will just let this sink in and tomorrow, things will be back at zero,” Majerus added. “Everything needs to start again.”