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