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UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Hulst: Betsema takes solo win

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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Arrival Denise Betsema of The Netherland and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal Celebration Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Womens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Betsema celebrates her win (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Podium Lucinda Brand of The Netherland and Team Baloise Trek Lions Denise Betsema of The Netherland and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado of The Netherland and Team AlpecinFenix Celebration Mask Covid safety measures during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Womens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

The podium in Hulst - Brand, Betsema and Alvarado (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Denise Betsema of The Netherland and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal Bike Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Womens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Betsema en route to victory in the mud of Hulst (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Lucinda Brand of The Netherland and Team Baloise Trek Lions Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Womens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Lucinda Brand battles to second place (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Arrival Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado of The Netherland and Team AlpecinFenix Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Womens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

World champion Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado took third (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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HULST NETHERLANDS JANUARY 03 Denise Betsema of The Netherland and Team Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal Mud during the 5th Vestingcross World Cup 2021 Womens Elite CX Vestingcross CXWorldCup Hulst on January 03 2021 in Hulst Netherlands Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Betsema fighting through the mud (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) took a solo victory at the fourth round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Hulst on Sunday. She beat series leader Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) by 1:02 after seven laps of racing, as world champion Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) finished third at 1:09.

"This felt a bit like home with the dikes, wind and cold," Betsema said after the race. "I was totally in my element. The fact I was able to go further and further after lap two gave me extra motivation.

"This motivates me," she added, referring to the margin of her victory. "I think it says something, but the Dutch women are very close in ability. It could be a very exciting World Championships."

Betsema, who had taken wins in Beringen, Bern and the X2O Scheldecross previously this season, was at the front from the opening lap in Hulst. The 27-year-old led the way along with Alvarado, 777's Annemarie Worst, and Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximu rider Blanka Kata Vas, who won yesterday in Gullegem.

Brand, meanwhile, suffered a slower start and was forced to play catch-up, joining the leaders on lap two. But the group wouldn't stay together for long, with Betsema keen to push on through the mud.

The Dutchwoman attacked on that second lap, distancing Brand, Alvarado and Worst quickly and efficiently, and building a gap of 10 seconds in no time. Even an unforced change of bikes couldn't slow her down as she kept extending the lead as the laps went by.

Brand jumped away from the chasing trio mid-race, but she wasn't able to eat into Betsema's lead, and by the fifth lap the lead trio had all separated themselves, with Alvarado solo in third place.

Further back, Worst had fallen in a tough and technical part of the course and was forced to roll home in fourth place, while there was some late drama as Brand lost traction and fell on the final lap, ceding some time to Alvarado.

The world champion put in a valiant effort to get in sight of her compatriot, but there wasn't enough time left to close the gap fully, and Alvarado had to settle for third, over a minute after Betsema had celebrated her victory.

Elsewhere, Marianne Vos rode her first race in Jumbo-Visma colours. Having only begun here 'cross campaign in Essen on December 22, she wasn't yet in top form and would cross the line in 11 th place, 3:05 back.

With one round of the World Cup left to run – in Overijse on January 24 – Brand has now sealed overall victory in the series. She had 150 points and a 42-point lead over Betsema, with 40 points up for grabs for the winner of the next race. Alvarado lies third on 102 points.

Results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:53:06
2Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions 0:01:02
3Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:01:09
4Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 0:01:26
5Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini 0:01:57
6Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld 0:02:10
7Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:02:22
8Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan 0:02:23
9Manon Bakker (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:02:41
10Fem Van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:02:50
11Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:03:05
12Aniek Van Alphen (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:03:22
13Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) 777 0:03:34
14Anne Tauber (Ned) CST PostNL 0:03:43
15Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:03:58
16Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:04:10
17Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:04:24
18Anna Kay (GBr) Starcasino CX 0:04:26
19Alicia Franck (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini 0:04:38
20Maghalie Rochette (Can) 0:04:56
21Sophie De Boer (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:05:19
22Inge Van der Heijden (Ned) 777 0:05:22
23Perrine Clauzel (Fra) AS Bike Crossteam 0:05:24
24Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra) Starcasino CX 0:05:57
25Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:06:08
26Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Nesta-Skoda 0:06:21
27Harriet Harnden (GBr) Trek Factory Racing 0:06:29
28Rebecca Fahringer (USA) Kona Maxxis Shimano 0:06:34
29Loes Sels (Bel) Iko-Crelan 0:06:39
30Kaitlin Keough (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld 0:06:41
31Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Iko-Crelan 0:07:16
32Pavla Havlíková (Cze)
33Marthe Truyen (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions
34Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)
35Kiona Crabbé (Bel)
36Laura Porhel (Fra)
37Madigan Munro (USA) Trek Factory Racing
38Anaïs Morichon (Fra)
39Sophie Wright (GBr)
40Sidney Mcgill (Can)
41Tereza Vaníčková (Cze)
42Amelie Laquebe (Fra)
43Sara Cueto Vega (Spa)
44Paula Diaz Lopez (Spa)
45Sandra Trevilla Samperio (Spa)
46Camille Benoit Guyod (Fra)
47Gwennig Le Dantec (Fra)
48Camille Devigne (Fra)
49Katherine Compton (USA) KFC Racing p/b Trek/Knight Composites
50Maria Parajon Fuentes (Spa)
51Michelle Geoghegan (Irl)
52Corey Coogan Cisek (USA)

Daniel joined Cyclingnews as staff writer in August 2019 after working as a freelance journalist for seven years, including time spent working for Cyclingnews and sister magazine, Procycling.

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