Lucinda Brand wins elite women's Heusden-Zolder World Cup

Lucinda Brand (Telenet-Baloise Lions) won the elite women's Heusden-Zolder World Cup on Thursday. The Dutch champion finished a mere one second ahead of Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) in a long sprint on the Terlaemen car racing track. Annemarie Worst (777) beat Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) in the sprint for third place at 13 seconds back.

Alvarado took over the World Cup lead from Czech-American rider Katerina Nash (CLIF) by one single point. 

It was the second win of the week for Brand after her win at the mudfest in Namur on Sunday.

"It was a very hard race. We were racing at such a high speed. It was completely different compared to what we had this week [in Namur]. It's very explosive. Everybody knows where to ride in front and that makes it extra hard," Brand said in the post-race flash interview with Sporza TV.

With her strength and speed, last year's runner-up Brand was the big favourite ahead of the race and she managed to live up to those expectations. She was offered to work hard for her money though. Last year's winner Vos and Alvarado ended up being the major contenders on a chilly, mostly dry Thursday afternoon. 

The long start line benefited Vos who moved into second place behind Alvarado out of a distant start position. The duo rode away from the field during the opening lap and only Brand and Worst were able to quickly close that gap back down. 

Halfway the 6-laps long race Inge van der Heijden, world champion Sanne Cant and young Shirin van Anrooij briefly joined the front group, but that was only possible because the pace dropped in front for tactical reasons.

Brand made a big move during the fourth lap but Vos and Alvarado were glued on her wheel. Cant was unable to keep up while riding in fourth place, and Worst, the rider in fifth place, ended up being caught behind. 

"I was too far back in the group and suddenly there was a big gap of nearly 25 seconds. Closing that gap back down cost a lot of energy. I took the lead to recover and avoid that they would ride away," Worst told Sporza

The pace set by Brand was extremely high and suddenly Vos seemed to have blown up her engine. With a skillful technical move she managed to stay in touch with Brand and Alvarado. One lap later, Vos decided to play the same card while riding in front of the group. She briefly had a gap but the alarm bells were ringing for her rivals. 

In the final lap surprised by passing Vos on the power section after the off-camber section but then Brand went all out by passing Vos in a bumpy descent. 

"One lap earlier Marianne rode up that section where we were all running. She's fast too so I knew that I had to be in front of her at the stairs, at all stakes. If it worked out I was in a good spot," Brand said. 

Vos ran out of gas but Alvarado was still shortly behind Brand, who was suddenly finding herself riding through a bunch of lapped riders. 

"I didn't know that she was glued on my wheel because I was extremely busy with those lapped riders. I was shouting. You just hope that you don't get knocked over. It was also the case this week [in Namur]. When I looked down I saw a wheel so I kept going but I didn't know who it was," Brand said. 

Alvarado hoped to pass Brand on the long asphalted start-finish section but her hopes were in vain as Brand kept her in check. 

"There was a small gap but I managed to close it back down. It was a long sprint. She started from far out and I was able to launch my sprint too. I came halfway past her but then she saw my coming, added another acceleration which I didn't have," Alvarado told Sporza

She did get some reward for her efforts on the podium with the white World Cup leader's jersey. "I did a good job for the World Cup but I preferred to have won today," Alvarado said. 

Worst joined Brand and Alvarado on the podium as she surprised Vos in the sprint. "A sprint against Marianne is usually hard to win so I'm very glad to have taken third place," Worst said. 

Van der Heijden held off Cant and Eva Lechner for fifth place. Much further back, World Cup leader Nash fought hard throughout the race but she faded out of the top-10 and eventually ended up in 15th position, just behind Pan-American champion Maghalie Rochette. 

Brand moves up from twelfth to fifth place overall after her second win of the week.

Next month, Alvarado will defend her white jersey at the penultimate World Cup round of the season in Nommay, France.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lucinda Brand (Ned) 0:47:49
2Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) 0:00:01
3Annemarie Worst (Ned) 0:00:13
4Marianne Vos (Ned) 0:00:14
5Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned) 0:00:26
6Sanne Cant (Bel) 0:00:29
7Eva Lechner (Ita) 0:00:34
8Shirin Van Anrooij (Ned) 0:00:52
9Yara Kastelijn (Ned) 0:01:12
10Laura Verdonschot (Bel) 0:01:15
11Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) 0:01:16
12Katherine Compton (USA) 0:01:18
13Puck Pieterse (Ned) 0:01:37
14Maghalie Rochette (Can) 0:01:41
15Katerina Nash (Cze) 0:01:44
16Ellen Van Loy (Bel) 0:01:55
17Francesca Baroni (Ita) 0:01:56
18Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) 0:01:57
19Anna Kay (GBr) 0:02:03
20Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra) 0:02:24
21Loes Sels (Bel) 0:02:45
22Amandine Fouquenet (Fra) 0:02:46
23Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) 0:03:22
24Clara Honsinger (USA) 0:03:24
25Rebecca Fahringer (USA) 0:03:36
26Geerte Hoeke (Ned) 0:03:44
27Caroline Mani (Fra) 0:03:56
28Ruby West (Can) 0:03:58
29Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) 0:04:06
30Madigan Munro (USA) 0:04:09
31Nikola Bajgerová (Cze) 0:04:21
32Noemi Rüegg (Swi) 0:04:24
33Manon Bakker (Ned) 0:04:27
34Zina Barhoumi (Swi)
35Lara Krähemann (Swi) 0:04:28
36Mari-Liis Mõttus (Est) 0:04:30
37Nadja Heigl (Aut) 0:04:49
38Bethany Crumpton (GBr) 0:04:56
39Léa Curinier (Fra) 0:04:58
40Elisabeth Brandau (Ger) 0:05:06
41Samantha Runnels (USA) 0:05:09
42Lauriane Duraffourg (Fra) 0:05:13
43Marthe Truyen (Bel) 0:05:16
44Raylyn Nuss (USA) 0:05:39
45Lizzy Gunsalus (USA) 0:05:44
46Letizia Borghesi (Ita) 0:06:00
47Gaia Realini (Ita) 0:06:06
48Karolína Bedrníková (Cze) 0:06:16
49Anaïs Morichon (Fra) 0:06:22
50Hannah Arensman (USA) 0:06:24
51Tina Züger (Swi) 0:06:42
52Jinse Peeters (Bel) 0:06:45
53Kateřina Mudříková (Cze) 0:06:50
54Irene Trabazo Bragado (Spa) 0:06:55
55Clea Seidel (Ger) 0:07:03
56Kätlin Kukk (Est) 0:07:48
57Tereza Vaníčková (Cze) 0:08:02
58Marie Schreiber (Lux)
59Paula Diaz Lopez (Spa)
60Sara Cueto Vega (Spa)
61Barbara Borowiecka (Pol)
62Sophie Thackray (GBr)
63Lauren Zoerner (USA)
64Marta Zanga (Ita)
65Katie Scott (GBr)
66Mirthe Van Den Brande (Bel)
67Mélissa Rouiller (Swi)
68Maria Parajon Fuentes (Spa)
69Fabienne Kipfmüller (Swi)
70Giada Borghesi (Ita)
71Michaela Thompson (USA)
72Kelly Lawson (Can)
73Judith Krahl (Ger)
74Claire Steciuk (Can)
75Sandra Trevilla Samperio (Spa)
76Camille Devigne (Fra)
77Laetitia Maus (Lux)
78Julie Brouwers (Bel)
79Michelle Schätti (Swi)
80Guzel Akhmadullina (Rus)
81Lucie Cottier (Swi)
82Siobhan Kelly (Can)
83Diana Steffenhagen (Ger)
DNFKristýna Zemanová (Cze)
DNFAlicia Franck (Bel)
DNSRebecca Gariboldi (Ita)

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