Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions) came out on top in the elite women’s race in round three of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Dendermonde on Sunday. Brand finished clear of her main rivals having pulled away on the penultimate lap with Clara Honsinger (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) finishing second and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) completing the podium in third.
In truth, the race was far from a procession for Brand, who was forced onto the back-foot by Alvarado mid-way through the race. In appalling conditions, the world champion came back from a dreadful start to lead the race but she was eventually out-classed by Brand. Honsinger rode to back-to-back World Cup podiums after coming through the field before eventually overtaking Alvarado on the final lap. Brand's margin of victory over Honsinger was 15 seconds, with Alvarado at 24 seconds.
Fem Van Empel finished in fourth, with Annemarie Worst (777), and Sanne Cant (Iko-Crelan) completing the top-six. The win extended Brand's (120 points) lead in the overall standings to 43 points ahead of Alvarado (77 points).
"It was really hard to power my bike. I put a lot of power in but I didn't move anywhere. I'm close to the World Cup victory, there are just two races to go, and it's really nice to have a lead like this but the final two races are very hard," Brand said.
Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) led the race in the early stages with Brand glued to her wheel but the race began in atrocious conditions due to a storm that forced the organisers to make several key changes to the course. The main bridge was removed, but despite the conditions, the race went ahead.
Alvarado's poor start came after she appeared to have a problem with her pedals and she was forced to chase through the pack as Brand and Betsema quickly built up a small advantage. With the rain reducing much of the course to thick, deep mud, riders were forced to run for long sections.
Cant and Marianne Vos both started strongly as Brand's superior running power saw her open a gap on Betsema mid-way through the first of four laps. On a notoriously tricky downhill section - in which all the riders were forced to run - Betsema sank into the mud and was forced to watch as Brand opened up an important gap and Alvarado moved into second place. By the end of the first lap, Brand had three seconds over the world champion, with Cant, Betsema, Worst, and a chase group that contained Vos and Honsinger scattered between five and 20 seconds back.
A slip from Brand on a relatively flat section opened the door for Alvarado to make contact on the second lap but when the world champion also fell, it looked as though the conditions would get the better of everyone in the race. Even when the pair made contact with each other on another downhill section Alvarado was forced to slow after she caught her bars in Brand's rear wheel as the pair tackled a running section. Alvarado recovered from the scare and even managed to open up a five-second gap on Brand during the second lap. When Alvarado's advantage doubled to ten seconds it looked as though the world champion was firmly in control, but once more the course had other ideas.
Brand found her feet at the start of the third and penultimate lap, and closed to within three seconds of the leader and when the pair linked up once again it was Alvarado who found herself knee-deep in mud in the exact same section that halted Betsema on lap one. That was all the momentum Brand needed, as she made light work of the technical sections by running when Alvarado chose to ride.
Alvarado was able to come back one last time but when another slip occurred Brand once more opened up a gap. This time she wasn't seen again.
Behind a flagging Alvarado, a resurgent Honsinger was cutting through the field. Vos by now had drifted from the frame but the American dispatched with Cant and several others and by the time the bell rang, Brand had 10 seconds on Alvarado with the American third but closing in on the world champion.
Honsinger caught and then dropped Alvarado but was unable to make significant inroads into Brand's advantage but the result was enough to move her into fifth in the World Cup standings.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:45:27|
|2||Clara Honsinger (USA)||0:00:15|
|3||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:00:24|
|4||Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:00:40|
|5||Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777||0:00:45|
|6||Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan||0:00:48|
|7||Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport||0:00:54|
|8||Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:01:22|
|9||Manon Bakker (Ned) Credishop-Fristads||0:01:35|
|10||Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Credishop-Fristads||0:02:13|
|11||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:02:20|
|12||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) 777||0:02:21|
|13||Eva Lechner (Ita) Starcasino CX Team||0:02:38|
|14||Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv||0:02:47|
|15||Madigan Munro (USA) Trek Factory Racing CX||0:02:55|
|16||Aniek van Alphen (Ned) Credishop-Fristads||0:02:57|
|17||Rebecca Fahringer (USA)||0:02:59|
|18||Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies||0:03:13|
|19||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra) Starcasino CX Team||0:03:16|
|20||Kaitlin Keough (USA)||0:03:26|
|21||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg||0:03:33|
|22||Hélène Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam||0:03:38|
|23||Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:03:52|
|24||Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777||0:04:01|
|25||Katherine Compton (USA)||0:04:06|
|26||Anaïs Morichon (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||0:04:12|
|27||Maghalie Rochette (Can)||0:04:25|
|28||Alicia Franck (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT||0:04:31|
|29||Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:04:43|
|30||Anna Kay (GBr) Starcasino CX Team||0:04:48|
|31||Ruby West (Can) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT||0:05:30|
|32||Loes Sels (Bel) Iko-Crelan||0:05:39|
|33||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:06:02|
|34||Marthe Truyen (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:06:13|
|35||Zina Barhoumi (Swi)||0:06:22|
|36||Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel)||0:06:31|
|37||Ellen van Loy (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:06:34|
|38||Julie de Wilde (Bel) Iko-Crelan||0:06:43|
|39||Stefanie Paul (Ger)||0:06:49|
|40||Laura Porhel (Fra)||0:06:55|
|41||Marlène Petit (Fra) Team Podiocom CC||0:07:22|
|42||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Nesta-Skoda Alecar CX Team||0:07:25|
|43||Havlíková Pavla (Cze)||0:07:31|
|44||Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service||0:07:36|
|45||Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam||0:07:40|
|46||Sophie Wright (GBr)||0:07:43|
|47||Sidney Mcgill (Can)||0:07:46|
|48||Lara Krähemann (Swi) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro||0:08:06|
|49||Marine Strappazzon (Fra) Team Podiocom CC||0:08:15|
|50||Marlène Morel Petitgirard (Fra) Team S1neo-Graal-Bjorka||0:08:23|
|51||Sandra Trevilla Samperio (Spa)||0:08:34|
|52||Susanne Meistrok (Ned) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT||0:09:08|
|53||Sara Cueto Vega (Spa)||0:09:37|
|54||Lauriane Duraffourg (Fra) Team S1neo-Graal-Bjorka||0:09:47|
|55||Ungermanová Elizabeth (Cze)||0:10:21|
|56||Vaníčková Tereza (Cze)||0:10:33|
|57||Švihálková Tereza (Cze)||0:11:48|
|58||Maïté Barthels (Lux)||0:12:15|
|59||Paula Diaz Lopez (Spa) Rio Miera-Cantabria Deporte||0:12:57|
|60||Maria Parajon Fuentes (Spa)||0:13:37|
|61||Michelle Geoghegan (Irl)|
|62||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA)|
|63||Michelle Schätti (Swi)|
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