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Van den Brand strongest in the Belgian mud

Daphny van den Brand ( dominated the women's race in the latest round of the Superprestige series in Zonhoven, Belgium.

The Dutch champion left the opposition behind during the first of five laps to take her second win of the season by half a minute over British champion Helen Wyman (Kona). The last podium spot was captured by Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash) who held off that other Sanne, Belgian champion Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus).

With just one week from the European Championships, Van den Brand is clearly the favourite role for the first title race of the winter in Frankfurt, Germany next week.

It was Van den Brand second win in a row after also taking the flowers in Woerden, in the Netherlands on Tuesday.

“You've got to grab every chance to win a race. Today was a hard course, probably even harder than the one we're getting at the Koppenberg tomorrow. Especially climbing out of the sand pit wasn't easy with my short legs,” Van den Brand told Cyclingnews.

A crash behind her helped the Dutch champion to get a gap. “That's true but it didn't give me forty seconds on the runner-up,” she pointed out.

“It pleases me a lot that I was able to keep riding at a high pace on such a hard course while others tended to slow down during the second lap. That didn't happen with me. On Tuesday I felt that I had recovered quite well from the World Cup race in Plzen and that is only possible when the form is good,”

Sand pit

The key point in the moor land course near Zonhoven was a huge sand pit which the riders had to tackle twice a lap. It was chaos when Sanne van Paassen went over the handlebars while riding in second place on the first time through.

“I made a mistake over there, that's true,” Van Paassen said with a laugh. “Somebody went over me and then I could continue in sixth place.” Sophie de Boer was the other victim and the well-performing Dutch woman eventually pulled out of the race. Meanwhile Van den Brand took advantage and ploughed away over the soaked course.

During the first time through the finish, Van den Brand had 25 seconds over Belgian's Sanne Cant. Four other chasers followed ten seconds further: Pavla Havlikova (Czech Republic), British women Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris, and also Van Paassen.

By the end of the second lap Cant was joined by Van Paassen, with the two trailing the leader by half a minute. Wyman and Halvikova followed a bit further but Harris got dropped on the demanding course.

Halfway through race the four chasers were riding within touching distance of each other while still trailing Van den Brand by 35 seconds. During the last ten minutes of the race Wyman became stronger in the mud and the British champion first dropped Cant and Havlikova, and little later Van Paassen. All those positions remained the same during the last lap in which Van den Brand enjoyed a comfortable gap of forty seconds over first chaser Wyman, then Van Paassen, Cant and Havlikova.

Full results
1Daphny van den Brand (Ned)
2Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona0:00:30
3Sanne van Paassen (Ned) BrainWash0:01:03
4Sanne Cant (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:23
5Pavla Havlikova (Cze)0:01:38
6Nikki Harris (GBr)0:02:13
7Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)0:02:38
8Nancy Bober (Bel)0:03:08
9Nicole De Bie - Leyten (Bel)0:04:01
10Gabriella Day (GBr) The ChainStay-RENNER0:04:14
11Gertie Willems (Bel)0:04:24
12Nathalie Nijns (Bel)0:04:30
13Ellen Van Loy (Bel)0:04:58
14Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:05:03
15Helena van Leijen (Ned)0:05:15
16Nikoline Hansen (Den)0:05:54
17Nora Schaufuss (Ger)0:07:06
18Lija Laizane LIT0:08:04
19Britt Jochems (Bel)0:08:16
20Liv-Susanne Bachmann (Ger)0:08:24
21 -1 lapLaura Lepasalu LIT
22 -2 lapsLiga Smite LIT
23Romy Schneider (Ger)
24Madara Furmane LIT
25Anja Nobus (Bel)
26Cindy Hofmann (Ger)
27 -3 lapsMaaike Lanssens (Bel)
DSQSophie De Boer (Ned)

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