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