First women’s cyclo-cross world championships
The first women’s UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships were held in Sint-Michielsgestel, the Netherlands, on 28 January 2000. The track for the race was 2660m long with 700m road, 1080m grass and 880m forest trail. Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany won the inaugural women’s elite race ahead of Louise Robinson (GBR) and Daphny van den Brand (NED).
The American former pro-rider turned 58 years on 27 January and is believed to have won more titles than any US female road racer. She represented her country in three Olympic Games and was second at the World Championships in 1987, 1990 and 1991. She placed third at the women’s Tour de France twice and was national road champion on four occasions, while taking the win twice at the National ITT Championships and three victories in the TTT Championships. After her retirement from the sport in 1991, she decided to move to a farm in Oregon, USA with her family. Never far away from cycling, though, she still managed to volunteer at local cycling races, did some coaching and became an advocate for women’s cycling. In 2017 she founded the Inga Thompson Foundation, a non-profit organisation that supports competitive female riders through financial assistance and mentorship.
On 29 January 2006, a relatively unknown Marianne Vos won her first cyclocross world title in Zeddam, The Netherlands. The Dutch rider was 18 years at the time. Initially, she picked up the sport as a winter training activity while doing road cycling in the warmer months, but after her initial success so many years ago, she remained competitive in the discipline. Her successful 2006 winter season was followed by taking the road championship title later that year, followed by two more road titles, an Olympic title and numerous race wins, making her one of the most successful female riders of all times.