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Van Anrooij wins Cyclocross Gullegem

RUCPHEN NETHERLANDS DECEMBER 18 Shirin Van Anrooij of The Netherlands and Team Baloise Trek Lions competes during the 9th Rucphen UCI CycloCross Worldcup 2021 Womens Elite CXWorldCup UCIcyclocrossWC on December 18 2021 in Rucphen Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Van Anrooij is fast rising through the ranks (Image credit: Getty Images)

Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) claimed victory at the 2022 Cyclocross Gullegem with a dominant ride in the Belgian rain and mud. 

The 19-year-old, who became the U23 women's European champion in November, rode clear on the first of five laps and extended her advantage all the way to the finish. 

Magalie Rochette claimed second place, almost a minute in arrears, while 17-year-old Zoe Backstedt (Tormans) put in another impressive display to claim the final podium position.

The C2 race in Gullegem did not feature the biggest names of the elite women's field such as world champion Lucinda Brand but it was still a major televised race in Belgium and another significant moment in Van Anrooij's rise.

After winning the Jingle Cross in the USA earlier in the season, it is her second elite victory of the season and her third in total after clinching the U23 European title.

It was a dominant display in a tricky course that was rendered sloppy and heavy but the pouring rain. Despite the lap times being over 10 minutes, it was decided they would still cover five laps.

Van Anrooij had the power from the start, leaving Rochette behind when the Canadian faltered in a sand pit. She set out for the second lap with a lead of almost 20 seconds and increased it to more than a minute by the final lap. By that point, the winner was evident, and the more exciting contest was for second place. 

Backstedt managed to claw her way over to Rochette and move past on lap 3, but then crashed on lap 4 and had to settled for third.Behind, Lotto Kopecky had a battle of her own to hold off Inge van der Heijden for fifth, but they were a long way off the convincing winner.

"It went really well, right from the start," Van Anrooij said. "Not all the top players were there, but it is always cool to still ride for the win."

Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions
2Maghalie Rochette (Can)
3Zoe Backstedt (GBr) Tormans
4Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Liv Racing
5Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777
6Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Starcasino CX Team
7Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Iko-Crelan
8Jana Dobbelaere (Bel) Starcasino CX Team
9Anna Kay (GBr) Starcasino CX Team
10Erica Zaveta (USA)

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