The national title race, which Rochette has won three times, was scheduled to take place on the same weekend as the World Cup in France, so the Canadian didn’t even expect to run in Besancon, let alone fill in. a long-held European goal.
“It has been a dream (and a goal) for a long time to be on the podium at a European World Cup,” said Rochette in his post-race newsletter. “In fact, it took me 56 tries to finally get it. 56 times for failing my goal and trying again. Out of those 56 races in Europe, over the last 5 years, I’ve had a few good ones where I felt like I ran to my full potential (maybe 10-15 of them), but most of the time i have had below par races that have gone i feel disappointed in myself.
“So, what has changed in Essay # 57 today?” Well, absolutely nothing. And I think that’s good news… I didn’t feel particularly stronger than usual, didn’t feel like I was in an alien-like state of mind, or that my skills suddenly improved. In fact, I even missed my start and ended up super far in the first few minutes. I just rode my bike in a focused and consistent manner throughout the race. I was able to stay calm and composed and not get too wrapped up in what I was going to do. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes… and that’s it. And for me, that’s great news, because it means I could possibly do it again. The normal can sometimes be quite good, and the normal is much more accessible than the extraordinary. ”
While this may be Rochette’s first time on a World Cup podium in Europe, it isn’t her first time on the steps of the top-tier series, with the 28-year-old scoring victory at Iowa City in 2019. The Pan – The American cyclo-cross champion has also reached the top ten several times so far in this season’s World Cups, taking tenth at Tabor, seventh at Fayetteville and tenth. in Waterloo.
Despite a start that left Rochette well behind in the peloton initially in Besançon, she quickly progressed in this first lap, putting herself within reach of a group of Dutch challengers at the start of the muddy race. With two laps to go, Rochette then passed Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Fenix) to move to 3rd place. She then continued to push to climb higher on the podium, catching up and passing Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) before the last lap.
Winner Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions), however, was untouchable as the world champion launched into the opening stages of Round 8 of the World Cup series, keeping a gap up front until the very end. Still, Rochette couldn’t help but raise her hands in the air as she finished second, as breaking what has often been a Dutch stranglehold on European podiums was well worth celebrating.
“Finally – Well, it took 56 tries, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m proud we kept trying and it feels good to have had a good one. It was worth all the tests, ”said Rochette, who remains in Europe until January.
“I will certainly continue to enjoy this feeling, but tomorrow we get back to work because I hope it will not be the last. “
The North American rider support group also had two more in the top ten, with US champion Clara Honsinger (Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld) finishing seventh and teammate Katie Clouse, 20, achieving her best World Cup result. to date with a ninth place. .