Annemarie Worst (777) mastered the sand dunes of Koksijde to take her first victory in over a year at the seventh round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup.
The Dutch rider made her attack on the penultimate lap, gapping Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and then powering through the sand to build a winning margin.
Betsema finished second, 17 seconds back, after fighting off a late charge from World Champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions), who had a slower start due to a hectic opening sand section.
It was an emotional victory for Worst who had to battle back to fitness following a bad mountain bike crash which required shoulder surgery last year.
“It’s really big for me,” said Worst. “I started the season really good but then I felt my back was not very good and so it was good to finally win again.
“My form was really good today. At the start I was not that confident but every lap my confidence grew. I’m really happy with it.”
How it unfolded
Cyclo-cross racing returned to the sand dunes of Koksijde for the first time in two years after last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Quickest away from the fast asphalt start was Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal), who led into the opening sweeping bend and the first steep sand dune climb.
Fellow under-23 rider Shirin Van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) showed her skills and was able to ride the majority of the long Herygers Dune, leading the way on the opening lap.
World Champion Brand had a less successful start and found herself down in eighth place after the opening sand sections.
Ceylin Alvarado (Alpecin - Fenix) won the last event held at Koksijde two years ago and showed her skills in the deep sand to close the gap on Van Anrooij at the head of proceedings.
After the opening lap a group of seven riders were 23 seconds clear of the rest and consisted of all the favourites. Following her impressive opening lap Alvarado suffered a mechanical losing time on the leading group as she changed bikes.
Through the long Herygers Dune section Worst charged through the sand and forced a gap over her rivals. Betsema won in Koksijde in 2018 and was equally as accomplished riding through the sand bridging the gap to Worst after the second lap. Brand, who won her world title on the beach of Oostende, was chasing behind in third ahead of teammate Van Anrooij.
With two laps remaining, the leading pair had a gap of 16 seconds on Brand with Van Anrooij a further five seconds back.
On the penultimate lap, Worst made a bid for glory riding strongly through the Herygers Dune to increase a margin of four seconds on Betsema. Worst continued to establish her leading margin to 12 seconds while Brand used her strength to draw back Betsema in the fight for overall points.
At the bell for the last lap, Worst led by 12 seconds from Betsema, while Brand was looking strong a further six seconds behind. Worst, a 25-year-old from Nunspeet, kept her pace on the final lap and had time to celebrate her first win since the Koppenbergcross last year.
Betsema finished strongly on the last lap taking second 17 seconds behind while Brand’s late charge faded on the last lap finishing third some 37 seconds behind Worst.
Brand kept her overall World Cup leader's jersey but saw her leading margin reduced to 14 points ahead of Betsema with nine rounds remaining. The World Cup series continues next Sunday at Besançon in France.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777||0:46:31|
|2||Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:00:17|
|3||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions||0:00:37|
|4||Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions||0:00:49|
|5||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:01:10|
|6||Fem Van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:01:26|
|7||Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:01:54|
|8||Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777||0:02:11|
|9||Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Iko-Crelan||0:02:22|
|10||Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld||0:02:30|
|11||Eva Lechner (Ita)||0:02:45|
|12||Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan||0:03:03|
|13||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||0:03:16|
|14||Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam||0:03:30|
|15||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Starcasino CX Team||0:03:33|
|16||Anaïs Morichon (Fra) Team Royalbikeshop.com||0:03:36|
|17||Silvia Persico (Ita)||0:03:55|
|18||Manon Bakker (Ned) Iko - Crelan||0:04:00|
|19||Hélène Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam||0:04:08|
|20||Marthe Truyen (Bel) Iko-Crelan||0:04:10|
|21||Anna Kay (GBr) Starcasino CX Team||0:04:41|
|22||Zoe Backstedt (GBr)||0:04:53|
|23||Amandine Fouquenet (Fra)||0:04:56|
|24||Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777||0:04:57|
|25||Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:05:01|
|26||Alicia Franck (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT||0:05:19|
|27||Ellen van Loy (Bel)||0:05:42|
|28||Katie Clouse (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld||0:06:03|
|29||Kiona Crabbé (Bel)||0:06:21|
|30||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Nesta-MMR CX Team||0:06:26|
|31||Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel)||0:06:31|
|32||Leonie Bentveld (Ned)||0:06:33|
|33||Olivia Onesti (Fra) Starcasino CX Team||0:06:54|
|34||Lauriane Duraffourg (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam||0:07:28|
|35||Marie Schreiber (Lux) Tormans-Circus Cyclo Cross Team||0:07:51|
|36||Julie de Wilde (Bel) Iko - Crelan||0:07:52|
|37||Lucia Bramati (Ita)||0:07:55|
|38||Fauve Bastiaenssen (Bel) Bns Technics - Groep t.o.M.||0:08:06|
|39||Julie Brouwers (Bel)||0:08:24|
|40||Jinse Peeters (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT||0:08:53|
|41||Sidney Mcgill (Can)||0:10:02|
|42||Josie Nelson (GBr) Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus||0:10:13|
|43||Camille Devigne (Fra)|
|44||Xan Crees (GBr) Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus|
|45||Rebecca Gross (USA)|
|46||Allison Arensman (USA) Velorevolution wp Cycles|
|47||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) Velorevolution wp Cycles|
|DNF||Millie Couzens (GBr)|
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