“I’m really not at all disappointed,” said van den Brand, who will retire this year with a total of seven medals in the world championships. “Marianne was super today and I didn’t have a great start. Trying to catch back up to the early leaders took a lot of energy. I felt confident in the sand stretches, and tried to catch back up, but this was the best I could do.”
The Dutch rider said that she was, however, completely confident of her silver medal as she and Cant approached the final turn of the race.
“Sanne came ahead of me on the last descent, which was actually good because she had to lead in the last section of grass, so I thought she probably had some fatigued legs there. And then I saw she had her hands on top of the bars,” said van den Brand in the post race press conference.
Then, turning to the rising Belgian star, she offered a piece of advice built on more than a decade of experience. “Sanne, keep your hands in the drops,” she said.
Cant, despite settling for bronze, clearly knew she had lit up the crowds and accomplished something special.
“I’m really happy,” she said later. “I was glad to be able to ride my own race. Once I saw Daphny ahead of me I just tried to catch up, but then we had a lot of people on our wheels and just tried to drop one per lap. I knew that if I could be first or second on the final dune I would have a chance. I really hope this gives a boost to women’s cycling in Belgium.”