Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) won the fourth round of the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Tabor, in the Czech Republic on a sunny but cold Saturday afternoon.
The 29 year-old Dutch champion won ahead of the European champion, her compatriot Anne-Marie Worst (Steylaerts-777) and Italian rider Alice Maria Arzuffi (Steylaerts-777) after producing a final fast lap that surprised her rivals.
“It was very hard,” Brand said in the post-race flash interview. “I know very well what I’m capable of, knowing where to ride hard and where I should save energy. Some riders were starting to drop back. On a lap like this one I can bank on my stamina to do well.”
World Cup leader Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling Team) is taking a mid-season break and skipped the round in the Czech Republic but remains in the lead of the World Cup since her closest rivals failed to leave their mark in Tabor.
It was the first cyclo-cross World Cup win for Lucinda Brand, who is also a strong force on the road. Back in 2014, Brand won the GP Plouay World Cup road race. This year she was runner-up at the Amstel Gold Race. At the end of the road season she took bronze in the team time trial at the world championships in Innsbruck, finishing ninth in the road race a few days later.
Brand wasn’t amongst the leaders after the fast start, when Italian champion Eva Lechner powered ahead. She managed to avoid an early crash in the first metres when Laura Verdonschot had a mechanical problem and several riders crashed into her.
By the end of the opening lap no more than 15 riders were still in the mix after a stack up and Brand appeared together with Ellen Noble at the back of that long line. On the slippery climb the same problems occurred halfway into the lead group, this time taking out home rider Katerina Nash, Eva Lechner and Nikki Brammeier.
Halfway around the second of five laps, world champion Sanne Cant slipped out while riding in second position thus allowing Anne-Marie Worst to open a good gap.
The European champion hit the third lap with a bonus of six seconds over a group, with teammate Arzuffi, Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Cant. Five other chasers, including Brand, were a few more seconds down on leader Worst.
Maud Kaptheijns was the next to struggle on the off-camber climb and so lost contact during the third lap. Meanwhile Arzuffi neglected team interests and chased teammate Worst, bringing up six riders with her including Brand.
The seven leaders hit the penultimate lap together, with Van Loy taking the lead. Cant upped the pace during the technical second half of the lap and only Worst was able to stay on her wheel. When reaching the finish to start the final lap, the speed up front dropped and the others returned as the racing turned technical.
The organizers used a kind of beep sound to announce the final lap of the race - instead of the typically used bell - with Worst later declaring not to have noticed the bell. Brand knew it was money time and she stormed to the front and entered the field as leader.
“Due to a few icy patches on a climb there were some congestions. I always seemed to be playing catch-up. In the final lap I figured I should take the lead so I could do my own thing,” Brand said.
She managed to ride up the slippery climb and behind her world champion Cant hopped off her bike, slowing the chase.
“I figured it would pile-up and I decided to run. It was icy and I didn’t manage to reach the top. It was disappointing because I felt like I was in control of the race,” Cant said in the post-race flash interview with Telenet Play Sports TV.
In front Brand profited from the passage on the icy climb and hammered away. Arzuffi led the others but she failed to get back to Brand.
“She took a few metres. There were lots of corners in the second part of the lap. It was tricky and I couldn’t close the gap anymore,” Arzuffi said.
Worst passed Arzuffi in the final part of the course and rode alone in second place but it was too late to get back to Brand.
Brand had time to celebrate her first big win in Tabor. Behind her, Worst easily held off Arzuffi but her gestures indicated straight away that she didn’t understand something.
“I didn’t hear the bell. I wasn’t going flat out on the long climb because I wanted to save something. I was attacking to get back to Lucinda but then the race was over. I’m pleased with second place but maybe more was possible,” Worst told Telenet Play Sports TV.
Ellen Van Loy won the sprint for fourth place from Denise Betsema (Marlux-Bingoal) and Sanne Cant finished alone in sixth place.
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado was high-fiving with the crowd at the finish, being the first U23 rider in seventh place at 34 seconds from Worst.
Spanish rider Aida Nuno Palacio surprised by passing a few experienced riders in the final lap. She finished eighth ahead of local riders Pavla Havlikova and Nash.
Katie Compton finished just outside the top-10. Kaitlin Keough was third-placed in the World Cup standings before Tabor but she didn’t have a great day in Bohemia. Keough finished 21st at 1:34 from the winner and drops to fourth in the standings. Fleur Nagengast (Telenet Fidea Lions) won the sprint for fourteenth place from Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing CX) and remains leader in the U23 ranking.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lucinda Brand (Ned)||0:40:19|
|2||Annemarie Worst (Ned)||0:00:05|
|3||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||0:00:06|
|4||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||0:00:07|
|5||Denise Betsema (Ned)|
|6||Sanne Cant (Bel)||0:00:13|
|7||Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Ned)||0:00:34|
|8||Aida Nuño Palacio (Spa)||0:00:48|
|9||Pavla Havlíková (Cze)|
|10||Katerina Nash (Cze)||0:00:49|
|11||Katherine Compton (USA)||0:00:55|
|12||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned)||0:01:04|
|13||Maghalie Rochette (Can)||0:01:12|
|14||Fleur Nagengast (Ned)||0:01:18|
|15||Evie Richards (GBr)||0:01:19|
|16||Jana Czeczinkarová (Cze)||0:01:20|
|17||Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned)||0:01:23|
|18||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa)||0:01:24|
|19||Eva Lechner (Ita)||0:01:30|
|20||Nikki Brammeier (GBr)||0:01:31|
|21||Kaitlin Keough (USA)||0:01:34|
|22||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||0:01:38|
|23||Ffion James (GBr)||0:01:41|
|24||Elle Anderson (USA)||0:01:45|
|25||Loes Sels (Bel)||0:01:46|
|26||Helen Wyman (GBr)||0:02:04|
|27||Ellen Noble (USA)||0:02:05|
|28||Clara Honsinger (USA)||0:02:11|
|29||Manon Bakker (Ned)||0:02:26|
|30||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra)||0:02:30|
|31||Marlène Petit (Fra)||0:02:34|
|32||Sophie De Boer (Ned)||0:02:49|
|33||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:02:56|
|34||Kata Blanka Vas (Hun)||0:02:59|
|35||Marthe Truyen (Bel)||0:03:01|
|36||Anna Flynn (GBr)||0:03:02|
|37||Elizabeth Ungermanová (Cze)||0:03:15|
|38||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||0:03:31|
|39||Magdalena Mišonová (Cze)||0:03:34|
|40||Axelle Bellaert (Bel)||0:03:41|
|41||Nikola Bajgerová (Cze)||0:03:49|
|42||Viktoria Smidth Knudsen (Den)||0:03:53|
|43||Tereza Švihálková (Cze)||0:04:09|
|44||Kamila Janu (Cze)||0:04:20|
|45||Maddie Wadsworth (GBr)||0:04:33|
|46||Tereza Vanícková (Cze)||0:04:48|
|47||Janka Keseg Stevkova (Svk)||0:04:49|
|48||Kätlin Kukk (Est)||0:05:05|
|49||Jinse Peeters (Bel)||0:05:25|
|50||Clea Seidel (Ger)||0:05:34|
|51||Mélissa Rouiller (Swi)||0:05:40|
|52||Katie Scott (GBr)||0:05:44|
|53||Katharina Julia Hinz (Ger)|
|54||Tatiana Jaseková (Svk)||0:06:03|
|55||Judith Krahl (Ger)||0:06:36|
|DNF||Klára Vernerová (Cze)|
|DNF||Regina Legge (USA)|
|DNS||Magdalena Sadlecka (Pol)|