• Thalita De Jong (Netherlands) wins her first elite world championship (Rob Jones)Source: Rob Jones
The first day of the 2016 Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder, delivered the complete Belgian experience with heavy rain, mud and cold winds pushing riders to their extremes as they battled the elements and their fellow competitors.
Cycling Central

31 Jan 2016 - 2:15 PM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2016 - 8:03 PM

Thalita De Jonge of the Netherlands (above) took the title ahead of Caroline Mani (FRA), while local favourite Sanne Cant (BEL) finished third.

Australia's Josie Simpson finished in 37th place immediately followed by countrywoman Therese Rhodes. Lisa Jacobs failed to finish.

The under 23 women, a category racing for the first time at the Cyclo-cross world championships with Evie Richards (GBR) claiming the title ahead of Nikola Noskova (CZE) and Maud Kaptheijns (NED). 

Stacey Riedel was the only Australian in the category and rode on to finish 42nd overall.

The junior men's race was won by Jens Dekker (NED), the pre-race favourite easily took the rainbow jersey, ahead of French riders Mickael Crispin and Thomas Bonnet.

Ben Walkerden of Australia finished 56th while team-mate Noah Barrow rolled across the finish in 58th place.