The Hungarian was set to ride the elite women’s race on Saturday, February 3 but her trade team SD Worx-Protime revealed this morning that she has been bed-bound during the lead-up to Worlds due to her illness.
“It is baleful that Blanka cannot participate in the World Championships,” said sports director Lars Boom in a statement released by the team.
“After she already missed part of her cyclocross winter due to a collarbone injury, her form was back just in time for a good performance at the World Championships. But Blanka spent the past few days sick in bed.
“It’s a shame she can’t defend her chances in Tábor because she found a surface there that suits her. But starting is not an option. Rest and recovery take precedence now.”
As mentioned by Boom, the early portion of Vas’ off-road season was ruined due to breaking her collarbone in October while training in Herentals. Surgery meant she was out of competition until late November and forced to rebuild her form into the new year.
Vas started to finish regularly back in the top ten after Christmas but in the last three rounds of the cyclocross World Cup, picked up her form significantly ahead of worlds. Eighth in Zonhoven was followed by fifth in Benidorm, with Vas producing her best showing in last week’s round in Hoogerheide.
Only World Champion Fem van Empel beat her to the finish in the Netherlands after Vas pushed her to the absolute limit, only missing out in the final sprint after Van Empel retook the lead on the final stair section of the course. But it was a sign nonetheless that Saturday’s race for rainbows might not be a total Dutch affair.
The Dutch trio of Puck Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck), Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) had been the main riders to rival their compatriot Van Empel during her dominant season until Vas’ second place in Hoogerheide.
“This feels like a victory for me. I am very happy with my performance. The good form comes just in time,” said Vas after Hoogerheide in a press release. “I hope I can fight for the podium in Tábor as well.”
Vas’ untimely illness now means that it will likely be Van Empel’s Dutch teammates that are her biggest concern during Saturday’s race. The defending champion has only lost two races from 19…