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

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.

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#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) Row 31 - Cell 2
33Marthe Truyen (Bel) Baloise Trek LionsRow 32 - Cell 2
34Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Row 33 - Cell 2
35Kiona Crabbé (Bel) Row 34 - Cell 2
36Laura Porhel (Fra) Row 35 - Cell 2
37Madigan Munro (USA) Trek Factory RacingRow 36 - Cell 2
38Anaïs Morichon (Fra) Row 37 - Cell 2
39Sophie Wright (GBr) Row 38 - Cell 2
40Sidney Mcgill (Can) Row 39 - Cell 2
41Tereza Vaníčková (Cze) Row 40 - Cell 2
42Amelie Laquebe (Fra) Row 41 - Cell 2
43Sara Cueto Vega (Spa) Row 42 - Cell 2
44Paula Diaz Lopez (Spa) Row 43 - Cell 2
45Sandra Trevilla Samperio (Spa) Row 44 - Cell 2
46Camille Benoit Guyod (Fra) Row 45 - Cell 2
47Gwennig Le Dantec (Fra) Row 46 - Cell 2
48Camille Devigne (Fra) Row 47 - Cell 2
49Katherine Compton (USA) KFC Racing p/b Trek/Knight CompositesRow 48 - Cell 2
50Maria Parajon Fuentes (Spa) Row 49 - Cell 2
51Michelle Geoghegan (Irl) Row 50 - Cell 2
52Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) Row 51 - Cell 2

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