Lucinda Brand wins elite women's Cyclo-cross World Cup in Dendermonde

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.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lucinda Brand (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:45:27
2Clara Honsinger (USA) 0:00:15
3Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:24
4Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:00:40
5Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 0:00:45
6Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan 0:00:48
7Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport 0:00:54
8Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:01:22
9Manon Bakker (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:01:35
10Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:02:13
11Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:02:20
12Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) 777 0:02:21
13Eva Lechner (Ita) Starcasino CX Team 0:02:38
14Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv 0:02:47
15Madigan Munro (USA) Trek Factory Racing CX 0:02:55
16Aniek van Alphen (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:02:57
17Rebecca Fahringer (USA) 0:02:59
18Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies 0:03:13
19Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra) Starcasino CX Team 0:03:16
20Kaitlin Keough (USA) 0:03:26
21Sophie De Boer (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:03:33
22Hélène Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam 0:03:38
23Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:52
24Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 0:04:01
25Katherine Compton (USA) 0:04:06
26Anaïs Morichon (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:04:12
27Maghalie Rochette (Can) 0:04:25
28Alicia Franck (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT 0:04:31
29Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:04:43
30Anna Kay (GBr) Starcasino CX Team 0:04:48
31Ruby West (Can) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT 0:05:30
32Loes Sels (Bel) Iko-Crelan 0:05:39
33Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) 0:06:02
34Marthe Truyen (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:06:13
35Zina Barhoumi (Swi) 0:06:22
36Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel) 0:06:31
37Ellen van Loy (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:06:34
38Julie de Wilde (Bel) Iko-Crelan 0:06:43
39Stefanie Paul (Ger) 0:06:49
40Laura Porhel (Fra) 0:06:55
41Marlène Petit (Fra) Team Podiocom CC 0:07:22
42Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Nesta-Skoda Alecar CX Team 0:07:25
43Havlíková Pavla (Cze) 0:07:31
44Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service 0:07:36
45Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam 0:07:40
46Sophie Wright (GBr) 0:07:43
47Sidney Mcgill (Can) 0:07:46
48Lara Krähemann (Swi) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro 0:08:06
49Marine Strappazzon (Fra) Team Podiocom CC 0:08:15
50Marlène Morel Petitgirard (Fra) Team S1neo-Graal-Bjorka 0:08:23
51Sandra Trevilla Samperio (Spa) 0:08:34
52Susanne Meistrok (Ned) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT 0:09:08
53Sara Cueto Vega (Spa) 0:09:37
54Lauriane Duraffourg (Fra) Team S1neo-Graal-Bjorka 0:09:47
55Ungermanová Elizabeth (Cze) 0:10:21
56Vaníčková Tereza (Cze) 0:10:33
57Švihálková Tereza (Cze) 0:11:48
58Maïté Barthels (Lux) 0:12:15
59Paula Diaz Lopez (Spa) Rio Miera-Cantabria Deporte 0:12:57
60Maria Parajon Fuentes (Spa) 0:13:37
61Michelle Geoghegan (Irl)
62Corey Coogan Cisek (USA)
63Michelle Schätti (Swi)

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