Van den Brand top in Middelkerke

Harris and Havlikova make the podium

Despite her nearing retirement European champion Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) keeps racking up the wins. And just like last weekend in Hoogstraten the 33-year-old finished ahead of Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) and Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea).

“This was quite an easy win on a fast technical course. I made the difference in the technical section. This week I felt really tired because of the cold and the long season, but there are only four races to go,” Van den Brand said.

The podium finishers distanced the rest of the field early on and together they hit the final lap in Middelkerke. In the first corners Van den Brand pulled away from the two Telenet-Fidea riders.

“She had a small gap on those corners and it was impossible to close it down,” a disappointed Harris said. “I made a big step forward this season but I’m really longing for a win. Today I came close but I think I lack confidence. I should’ve used my head better because I was leading the group on the long sections while Daphny could just sit on the wheels. I should’ve talked with Pavla too,” Harris concluded.

British champion Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) finished fifth, just behind Dutch rider Arenda Grimberg. “While riding in fourth I got stuck with my foot at the barriers and crashed. I needed a new bike so the podium was gone,” Wyman said.

The Superprestige cyclo-cross series don’t organize a ranking in the Women’s category and this might have been the reason why the starting field in Middelkerke wasn’t impressive. World champion Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo Women), USA-champion Katie Compton (Rabo-Giant Off-road), Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash), Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) and Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Boxx Veldritacademie) didn’t show up. On Sunday most women race in Heerlen, The Netherlands.

Full Results
1Daphny van den Brand (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.nl0:39:25 
2Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:08 
3Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:13 
4Arenda Grimberg (Ned)0:01:08 
5Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing0:01:28 
6Nancy Bober (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team0:01:53 
7Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren0:02:06 
8Nikoline Hansen (Den) Bov CC-Denmark0:02:21 
9Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club0:02:33 
10Nicole De Bie-Leyten (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:03:35 
11Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco0:03:40 
12Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)  -1lap 
13Caitlyn La Haye (Bel) Hageland Cycling Team  -2laps 
14Sandie Verriest (Bel)  
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