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Brand continues dominance in Superprestige Zolder

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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Lucinda Brand of The Netherland and Team Baloise Trek Lions celebrates winning ahead of Fem Van Empel of The Netherlands and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal during the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Lucinda Brand wins in Heusden-Zolder ahead of Fem van Empel (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Lucinda Brand of The Netherland and Team Baloise Trek Lions celebrates winning ahead of Fem Van Empel of The Netherlands and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal during the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Lucinda Brand takes out win number 12 for the season (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Fem Van Empel of The Netherlands and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal reacts after crossing the line in second place during the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Fem van Empel (Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen) finishes second (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Lucinda Brand of The Netherland and Team Baloise Trek Lions celebrates winning the race on the podium ceremony after the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) celebrates her win (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Fem Van Empel of The Netherlands and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal celebrates winning the second place on the podium ceremony after the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) on the podium as runner-up (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Annemarie Worst of The Netherlands and Team 777 celebrates winning the third place on the podium ceremony after the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Annemarie Worst (777) finished third (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 LR Fem Van Empel of The Netherlands and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal on second place race winner Lucinda Brand of The Netherland and Team Baloise Trek Lions and Annemarie Worst of The Netherlands and Team 777 on third place pose on the podium during the podium ceremony after the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

The women's podium (L to R): second place Fem van Empel, winner Lucinda Brand, and Annemarie Worst in third (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Eva Lechner of Team Italy and Trinx Factory Team competes during the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Eva Lechner finished in the top 10 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Shirin Van Anrooij of Netherlands and Team Baloise Trek Lions competes during the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Shirin van Anrooij fought her way into the top 10 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Denise Betsema of The Netherlands and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal competes during the 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Womens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Denise Betsema leads the chasing group (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

World Champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) won her 12th race of the season at the Telenet Superprestige in Heusden-Zolder, topping Fem van Empel (Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen) in a thrilling two-woman battle. Annemarie Worst (777) took the final podium spot.

Brand has hardly put a foot wrong all season, winning her first race at the Superprestige in Gieten and taking out 10 of the last 12 races, only being beaten in Rucphen by Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), who did not start today, and in Koksijde where she took third behind Worst and Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal).

The race in Zolder was a quiet affair, with no spectators allowed amid surging cases of COVID-19 thanks to the omicron variant, and although there was a light drizzle the course was far less muddy than the previous day's race in Dendermonde.

An enormous field started, with 100 riders on the line, many junior and U23 women honing their form ahead of next month's World Championships in Fayetteville.

Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) took the hole shot off the F1 track and onto the grass but was soon overtaken by Kata Blanka Vas (SD Worx) and Brand, and tracked closely by Yara Kastelijn (Iko-Crelan), Van Empel, Betsema and Worst.

A crash from Kastelijn split the group, with the Iko-Crelan rider forced back into a chasing group that briefly made contact but then dropped again when Vas surged on the second lap.

Alvarado was the first to drop out of the leading group at the end of lap 2 but caught back up on the third lap with a few more riders including Inge van der Heijden (777), Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) and Manon Bakker (Iko-Crelan).

A powerful surge from Brand drew Van Empel out by the end of the third lap and the pair kept the pressure on, opening up an unassailable gap to the chasers.

Brand attacked but slid out on a descent on the penultimate lap but Van Empel did not take advantage of the mistake, instead appearing to wait for the world champion - much to her demise, however, as Brand showed no mercy.

The Baloise Trek rider claimed the lead on the final dip down to the track and Van Empel could make up no ground on the short dash to the line and, as Brand celebrated, Van Empel hung her head in frustration. Off camera, Worst prevailed in the battle for the final podium spot.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions 0:48:30
2Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:00:02
3Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 0:00:21
4Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions 0:00:22
5Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:00:30
6Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team 0:00:47
7Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 0:00:55
8Manon Bakker (Ned) IKO - Crelan 0:01:27
9Eva Lechner (Ita) 0:01:34
10Yara Kastelijn (Ned) IKO - Crelan 0:01:37
11Anna Kay (GBr) Starcasino CX Team 0:02:15
12Sanne Cant (Bel) IKO - Crelan 0:02:31
13Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam 0:02:45
14Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:02:47
15Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777 0:02:55
16Kristýna Zemanová (Cze) 0:02:59
17Zoe Backstedt (GBr) 0:03:12
18Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Starcasino CX Team 0:03:54
19Marthe Truyen (Bel) IKO - Crelan 0:03:55
20Anaïs Morichon (Fra) Team Royalbikeshop.Com
21Christine Majerus (Lux) Team SD Worx 0:04:09
22Ellen Van Loy (Bel) 0:04:14
23Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Nesta - MMR CX Team 0:04:24
24Lauriane Duraffourg (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam 0:04:35
25Chiara Teocchi (Ita) Trinity Racing 0:04:45
26Judith Krahl (Ger) Schamel p/b Kloster Kitchen 0:05:04
27Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) IKO - Crelan 0:05:14
28Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) CX Team Deschacht-group Hens-containers Maes 0:05:22
29Kateřina Hladíková (Cze) 0:05:29
30Julie De Wilde (Bel) IKO - Crelan 0:05:51
31Fauve Bastiaenssen (Bel) BNS Technics - Groep T.O.M 0:05:52
32Nadja Heigl (Aut) KTM Alchemist Powered by Brenta Brakes
33Lucia Bramati (Ita) 0:05:53
34Femke Gort (Ned) BNS Technics - Groep T.O.M 0:05:57
35Lise-Marie Henzelin (Swi) 0:05:58
36Madigan Munro (USA) Trek Factory Racing CX 0:05:59
37Olivia Onesti (Fra) Starcasino CX Team 0:06:01
38Tereza Vaníčková (Cze) 0:06:02
39Sidney Mcgill (Can) 0:06:14
40Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel) 0:06:21
41Kiona Crabbé (Bel) Plantur-Pura 0:06:25
42Caitlin Bernstein (USA) 0:06:26
43Barbora Jeřábková (Cze) 0:06:45
44Lotte Koopmans (Ned) 0:06:51
45Nikola Bajgerová (Cze) 0:06:54
46Anna Megale (USA)
47Julie Brouwers (Bel) 0:06:57
48Erica Zaveta (USA) 0:07:00
49Viviane Rognant (Fra) OCF Team Cross 0:07:13
50Ava Holmgren (Can) 0:07:14
51Susanne Meistrok (Ned) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT 0:07:15
52Loes Sels (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT 0:07:30
53Xan Crees (GBr) Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus 0:07:44
54Anais Grimault (Fra) Team S1 Neo Loudeac 0:07:56
55Iris Offerein (Ned)
56Sterre Vervloet (Bel)
57Isabella Holmgren (Can)
58Sara Cueto Vega (Spa) Unicaja Banco - Gijon
59Katherine Sarkisov (USA)
60Elodie Kuijper (Ned)
61Chloe Fraser (GBr) Macogep Tornatech Girondins de Bordeaux
62Lydia Pinto Larenjo (Spa) Nesta - MMR CX Team
63Solenne Billouin (Fra) Team Guevel Immobilier Laval Cyclisme 53
64Alma Johansson (Swe)
65Samantha Scott (USA)
66Jenaya Francis (Can)
67Veerle Goossens (Ned)
68Lotta Mansfield (GBr)
69Meg De Bruyne (Bel)
70Tessa Zwaenepoel (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT
71Emily Werner (USA)
72Lies´L Schevenels (Bel)
73Coralie Houdin (Fra)
74Christiane Bilodeau (Can)
75Audrey De Keersmaeker (Bel) Starcasino CX Team
76Laura Greenhalgh (GBr) VeloRevolution WPcycles
77Adèle Hurteloup (Fra)
78Rosita Reijnhout (Ned)
79Britt De Grave (Ned)
80Bridget Tooley (USA)
81Elsa Westenfelder (USA)
82Mia Aseltine (USA)
83Layla Barthels (Lux)
84Kiara Lylyk (Can)
85Katelyn Walcroft (Can)
86Kaya Musgrave (USA)
87Natasha Visnack (USA)
88Rebecca Gross (USA)
89Anke Brok (Ned)
90Jesse Vandenbulcke (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
91Adeline Moreau (Bel)
92Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) VeloRevolution WPcycles
93Famke Van Waterschoot (Ned)
94Maria Modenes Garcia De Motiloa (Spa)
95Laura Alagna (USA)
DNFCeylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin - Fenix
DNFLaura Verdonschot (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal
DNFSiobhan Kelly (Can)
DNFLara Defour (Bel) Multum Accountants Ladies Cycling Team
DNSMaïté Barthels (Lux) Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.

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