Lucinda Brand (Telenet Fidea Lions) won the final round of the UCI World Cup in Hoogerheide, beating Annemarie Worst (777) in the sprint to the line after one of the most dramatic finales of the cyclo-cross season. World champion Sanne Cant (Iko-Beobank) rounded out the podium in sunny Hoogerheide.
The result means that Worst wins the UCI World Cup as her rival, and ranking leader, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) crashed with around 300 metres to go on a cambered descent while on the attack. Alvarado ended up in sixth place, sealing the U23 title once more but losing the overall title in heartbreaking fashion.
Worst's 70 points means that she clinches the World Cup with 495 points, while Alvarado's 50 puts her in second place with 480. Katerina Nash, who finished 19th, rounded out the overall podium with 430 points.
"It was an exciting race, especially between me and Ceylin. That was really exciting. At a certain point I lost her wheel and then Lucinda was between the two of us. Then Ceylin crashed on the off-camber section. I was able to pass her. I'm really happy to win the World Cup," Worst told Telenet Play Sports in the post-race flash interview.
The win earns her €30.000. "I don't know what I'll do with that money. The first thing that crosses my mind is my post-season holiday," Worst laughed.
Obviously, Alvarado was more down-hearted during her post-race interview as she was in pole position for the win at 30 seconds from the finish.
"This is quite a bummer, especially because it's that late in the race. It made me lose the race and the overall World Cup. I felt good throughout the race. Annemarie wasn't on my wheel and Lucinda wasn't glued on my wheel," Alvarado told Telenet Play Sports.
"My plan was to go full gas at the bottom of the off-camber section but then I bumped out of the rut and then my wheel clipped in the loose sand. It's sad that I don't get to go home with the overall World Cup victory. It'll have to happen next week."
Race winner Brand will be one of the major contenders for next week's rainbow jersey race in Dübendolf, Switzerland.
"I'm really happy. Without the crash it would've been quite the sprint for the victory. It was a tactical race. That's partly due to the speed on this course which makes the level of racing more equalised compared to other races, there was also the battle for the overall World Cup and also the world championships which are on everybody's mind. The win offers me extra flow but there's certainly a few other riders who gained confidence here," Brand told Telenet Play Sports.
Third-placed Cant had an ice-pack on her leg during her first World Cup podium ceremony of the season. She struggled throughout the race to mark the moves from the top guns. Nevertheless she'll be a force to be reckoned with in Switzerland.
"During the second or third lap I hit the barriers with my leg. That happens. It didn't bother me much but it's starting to swell. I didn't feel very fresh and for most of the race I had to hang on. I often had to ride alone in the headwind section on the road. Without the crash from Alvarado I would've been fourth today but it's fun to be on the podium nevertheless. I hope to add a few more percentages to my form by next week," Cant said.
How it unfolded
Inge van der Heijde (CCC-Liv) led the way from the start, while a few wheels further back, Alvarado stuck onto Worst's wheel – all she had to do in order to secure overall victory – during the early stages. Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek) went to the front to keep the pace up, but there was no separation at the front of the race early on.
A large group remained out front on lap two, despite Compton and Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions) putting in a dig. Later during the same lap, Compton crashed, falling away from the front of the race.
Lap three saw more action, as European champion Yara Kastelijn (777) pushed on, stretching out the lead group. A further attack from Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing) saw the elastic snap, leaving an elite group of six out front, with the Brit joined by Kastelijn, Alvarado, Worst, Van der Heijden and world champion Sanne Cant (Iko-Beobank).
Brand was unlucky to somersault over her bars on a tricky cambered section on lap three, but the Dutchwoman quickly made her way back to the front of the race. With Van der Heijden falling out of contention as Alvarado put in an attack, Brand replaced her in the lead sextet.
On the penultimate lap of five, Worst led Alvarado at the front of the race. With the first six places giving 80-70-65-60-55-50 points and Worst having three round wins to Alvarado's one, just beating her compatriot would be enough for Brand to overhaul her. Put simply, whoever crossed the line first would take the UCI World Cup.
Heading onto the final lap, after a circuit entirely led by Worst, Brand went on the offensive, provoking another split in the lead group. Only Worst and Alvarado could go with her as Brand powered across the start-finish line, making it a Dutch trio in the race lead.
Shortly thereafter, Alvarado took to the front, and things seemed to slow up a touch, as Cant, Kastelijn and Richards came back. It was clear that the three Dutchwomen were the strongest though as Brand got back on the front, putting more pressure on the three chasers, who struggled to keep up.
On the final section of the last lap, it was Alvarado who took the initiative. She sprinted up the long staircase, moving ahead of Worst and Brand, and put more space between her and Worst after remounting her bike.
It look all set for an Alvarado victory with a couple of hundred metres remaining, but disaster struck for the 21-year-old on the same section that Brand had earlier come a cropper. She lost control on the tricky camber, sliding down the hill and off her bike.
It was a brutal end to her World Cup hopes, but her rival Worst had no such trouble, staying upright to cross the line safely in second place and secure her first UCI World Cup title.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:45:11|
|2||Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777||0:00:03|
|3||Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan||0:00:04|
|4||Yara Kastelijn (Ned) 777||0:00:05|
|5||Evie Richards (GBr) Trek Factory Racing||0:00:10|
|6||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:00:17|
|7||Shirin Van Anrooij (Ned) Cecemel-Aveve||0:00:26|
|8||Maghalie Rochette (Can) Specialized-Feedback Sports||0:00:29|
|9||Inge Van der Heijden (Ned) CCC-Liv||0:00:44|
|10||Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal|
|11||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions|
|12||Eva Lechner (Ita) Creafin-Fristads||0:00:45|
|13||Alicia Franck (Bel) Experza Pro CX||0:00:46|
|14||Caroline Mani (Fra)||0:00:47|
|15||Katherine Compton (USA) KFC Racing p/b Trek||0:00:49|
|16||Puck Pieterse (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg|
|17||Katie Clouse (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||0:01:12|
|18||Anna Kay (GBr) Experza Pro CX||0:01:13|
|19||Katerina Nash (Cze) Clif Pro Team||0:01:14|
|20||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Nesta-Skoda Alecar||0:01:24|
|21||Clara Honsinger (USA)||0:01:31|
|22||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra) Experza Pro CX||0:01:33|
|23||Sara Casasola (Ita)|
|24||Manon Bakker (Ned) Experza Pro CX||0:01:37|
|25||Aniek Van Alphen (Ned)||0:01:38|
|26||Christine Majerus (Lux)||0:01:42|
|27||Gaia Realini (Ita)||0:01:49|
|28||Loes Sels (Bel) Iko-Crelan||0:01:53|
|29||Amandine Fouquenet (Fra) Chazal-Canyon-3G Immo||0:01:56|
|30||Rebecca Fahringer (USA)||0:01:57|
|31||Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)||0:02:01|
|32||Fem Van Empel (Ned)||0:02:03|
|33||Geerte Hoeke (Ned)||0:02:08|
|34||Francesca Baroni (Ita) Selle Italia-Guerciotti||0:02:14|
|35||Pavla Havlíková (Cze)||0:02:23|
|36||Perrine Clauzel (Fra) AS Bike Crossteam||0:02:27|
|37||Samantha Runnels (USA)||0:02:36|
|38||Madigan Munro (USA)||0:02:44|
|39||Léa Curinier (Fra)||0:02:51|
|40||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:03:03|
|41||Zina Barhoumi (Swi)||0:03:06|
|42||Tereza Švihálková (Cze)||0:03:11|
|43||Lara Krähemann (Swi)||0:03:19|
|44||Josie Nelson (GBr)||0:03:30|
|45||Aida Nuño Palacio (Spa)||0:03:35|
|46||Ruby West (Can)||0:03:37|
|47||Harriet Harnden (GBr)||0:03:45|
|48||Sofia Rodriguez Revert (Spa)||0:03:47|
|49||Anna Flynn (GBr)||0:03:52|
|50||Marthe Truyen (Bel)||0:04:01|
|51||Marie Schreiber (Lux)||0:04:24|
|52||Jennifer Jackson (Can)||0:04:30|
|53||Hannah Arensman (USA)||0:04:39|
|54||Lizzy Gunsalus (USA)||0:04:43|
|55||Emilly Johnston (Can)||0:04:52|
|56||Isa Nomden (Ned)||0:05:07|
|57||Emily Werner (USA)||0:05:13|
|58||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||0:05:17|
|59||Julie De Wilde (Bel)|
|60||Judith Krahl (Ger)||0:05:24|
|61||Stefanie Paul (Ger)||0:05:31|
|62||Camille Devigne (Fra)||0:05:34|
|63||Mari-Liis Mõttus (Est)||0:05:38|
|64||Karolína Bedrníková (Cze)||0:05:48|
|65||Shannon Mallory (USA)||0:05:53|
|66||Kiona Crabbé (Bel)||0:05:59|
|67||Bethany Crumpton (GBr)||0:06:24|
|68||Paula Diaz Lopez (Spa)||0:06:26|
|69||Nikola Bajgerová (Cze)||0:06:31|
|70||Julie Brouwers (Bel)||0:07:57|
|71||Mélissa Rouiller (Swi)|
|72||Irene Trabazo Bragado (Spa)|
|73||Cyriane Muller (Fra)|
|74||Dana Gilligan (Can)|
|75||Maria Parajon Fuentes (Spa)|
|76||Sara Bonillo Talens (Spa)|
|77||Marta Zanga (Ita)|
|78||Ainara Albert Bosch (Spa)|
|79||Claire Steciuk (Can)|
|80||Diana Steffenhagen (Ger)|
|81||Aya Akamatsu (Jpn)|
|DNF||Aneta Novotná (Cze)|
|DNS||Lucia Gomez Andreu (Spa)|
World Cup rankings
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Points|
|1||Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777||495|
|2||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||480|
|3||Katerina Nash (Cze) Clif Pro Team||430|
|4||Inge Van der Heijden (Ned) CCC-Liv||388|
|5||Katherine Compton (USA) KFC Racing p/b Trek||377|
|6||Maghalie Rochette (Can) Specialized-Feedback Sports||375|
|7||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions||370|
|8||Anna Kay (GBr) Experza Pro CX||346|
|9||Caroline Mani (Fra)||335|
|10||Manon Bakker (Ned) Experza Pro CX||333|
|11||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||326|
|12||Yara Kastelijn (Ned) 777||324|
|13||Eva Lechner (Ita) Creafin-Fristads||297|
|14||Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan||295|
|15||Clara Honsinger (USA)||295|
|16||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Nesta-Skoda Alecar||282|
|17||Loes Sels (Bel) Iko-Crelan||241|
|18||Shirin Van Anrooij (Ned) Cecemel-Aveve||237|
|19||Evie Richards (GBr) Trek Factory Racing||235|
|20||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra) Experza Pro CX||233|
|21||Kaitlin Keough (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||224|
|22||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) 777||218|
|23||Rebecca Fahringer (USA)||216|
|24||Puck Pieterse (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg||198|
|25||Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||176|
|26||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||167|
|27||Geerte Hoeke (Ned)||166|
|28||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||160|
|29||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||149|
|30||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans||146|
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.
As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.
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