Lucinda Brand claimed the victory in the fifth round of the Telenet Superprestige in Boom on Sunday but it came at a cost: the Telenet-Baloise rider earned a fine of 120 Swiss Francs for an incident in the pits that impeded world champion Ceylin Alvarado.
Alvarado led the pair into the pits to get a fresh bike on the penultimate lap but Brand came over the top to get to her mechanics, then discarded her muddy bike in front of Alvarado, causing the Alpecin-Fenix rider to lose her stride.
Brand, seeming to realize the mistake and its unfair consequences, waited for Alvarado to rejoin before attacking on a climb and riding away to take victory by 10 seconds, but Alvarado was still annoyed.
"I'm a little pissed off now," Alvarado said after the race to Sporza.be. "I was strong, but that made me run out of steam a little bit. I was really focused and suddenly something happens that you didn't expect and so I lost my concentration. I had to get back into the rhythm, but I couldn't do that too well.
"It's stupid that it happened, but I can't do much about it. I suddenly stopped and that was annoying."
Brand apologised but the race officials imposed a 120 CHF fine on her. "Apparently I broke a rule. It wasn't intentional, but I understand this decision," Brand said.
"It was an unpleasant combination of circumstances. Everyone knows that I am not the fastest in the pits and I am not that fast getting back on my bike. So if I have to wait for her to remount to do my exchange, I am five metres behind."
"My estimate was that our mechanics weren't standing that close together and there was space. You make that estimation in a split second, I thought we could still pass each other. But I made the wrong choice because we were too close to each other.
"It's a shame, I didn't mean to. I wish it hadn't happened, but the only thing I could do after that pits was wait for Ceylin. I also apologized then, because that's not how you want to eliminate a competitor. I hope people don't think I wanted to. I also understand that Ceylin is just as angry now."
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