Koksijde winner Betsema gets pro contract

Koksijde Cyclo-cross World Cup winner Denise Betsema has parlayed her semi-pro contract with Marlux-Bingoal into a full-time deal after her pair of wins last weekend, according to Nieuwsblad.be.

The 25-year-old Dutch mountain biker signed a semi-pro contract with Marlux-Bingoal at the beginning of October. Since then she's won the Cyclo-cross International de la Solidarité, the EKZ CrossTour-Aigle, the GP Neerpelt and the EKZ CrossTour-Hittnau before last weekend's double at the Ambiancecross in Wachtebeke on Saturday and again on Sunday at the UCI World Cup Round 5 in Koksijde.

Sunday's win was Betsema's first-ever World Cup victory and the biggest of her career, and team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen rewarded her with more support.

"Because she deserves it," Mettepenningen said, according to Nieuwsblad.be. "Her transfer is clearly a hit for us. We also did not see this coming. Moreover, cyclo-cross is on the rise for women. I just saw the viewing figures of the broadcast last Saturday from Wachtebeke. The market share was absolutely impressive, and the difference in the viewing figures for the women's competition and that of the men was not that great."

In Koksijde, Betsema was initially riding in the chase group at 21 seconds behind a lead group of five. During the second lap, Betsema clocked the fastest lap time, eventually bridging to the leaders with Katie Compton.

After several attacks and counters, Betsema found herself in the lead with Nikki Brammeier. The lead duo hit the final lap with a bonus of five seconds on Annemarie Worst and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, who eventual regained the leaders halfway through the lap.

Betsema accelerated again and Brammeier was unable to respond. Worst moved up and tried her best but discovered that Betsema was too strong. Betsema made no major mistakes in the final sand section and was able to solo to victory.


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