Brand wins in muddy Namur

Dutch champion Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) won a muddy edition of the sixth round of the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur (Belguim) on a relatively warm but rainy Sunday afternoon.

Brand won solo ahead of compatriots Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling Team) and Annemarie Worst (Steylaerts-777), making it a Dutch clean-sweep on the podium. Brand took her second World Cup win of the season and this time she won by a huge margin over her rivals, something she hadn’t expected ahead of the race.

“Certainly not, especially with such a strong starting field in the World Cup,” Brand said. “It’s a confirmation that indeed I can win on the highest level. It’s super nice to get my name on the list of winners at a race like this one.”

Vos extended her lead in the World Cup standings, totalling 41 points more than world champion Sanne Cant - who never felt comfortable in Namur and finished on a distant 13th place at the citadel. Worst moved ahead of Kaitlin Keough ( into third place overall. Last year’s surprise winner, Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing) is out with a knee injury and didn’t race in Namur.

No fewer than 82 riders from 17 nations lined up at the start near the foot of the citadel in Namur on Sunday. Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing CX) and Italian champion Eva Lechner (Creafin Tüv Sud) enjoyed the best start in the peloton. However, the duo was unable to keep up when the Dutch stars, Vos, Worst and rising star Denise Betsema (Marlux-Bingoal), moved forward. A little later, Brand and Nikki Brammeier (Mudiiita) joined the front of the race.

Towards the end of the second lap, Brand charged forward on the climbs. At first, her rivals were narrowly able to keep up but Brand dug deep and was gone for good by the time they crossed the finish line. On the famous off-camber descent, Brand was able to extend her lead. Brammeier led the chase but didn’t have a great the third lap. Over the remaining circuits, Brand rode flawlessly through the muddy course, extending her lead to half a minute over the chase group.

The battle for the remaining podium spots was a tough one, with Vos, Worst, Betsema, Lechner, Brammeier, and a surprisingly strong Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing CX), all fighting it out. Vos took the initiative with Worst fighting hard to keep her in sight. The positions remained the same until the finish line, with both riders being happy with that result. Neff was able to pass Betsema and Lechner in the closing laps but was beaten in the sprint by Brammeier.

European mountain bike champion and 2018 overall mountain bike World Cup winner Neff made her comeback in the cyclo-cross scene after crashing out last season with a horrible fall at the World Cup round in Hoogerheide in January. Neff moved up from a distant start position during the opening laps and featured in the top-10 halfway the race.

“I came back from a training camp in New Zealand only three days ago. So, finishing fifth here is great. I was able to profit from my mountain biking background. I struggled on the climbs but moved up on the technical sections,” Neff said.

Half a minute later, Lechner captured sixth place ahead of Betsema. Kaitlin Keough was eighth at 1:15. Young Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) finish ninth in Namur and was the first rider in the Women Under 23 category. Alvarado closes in on Fleur Nagengast (Telenet Fidea Lions) who remains the leader in the World Cup standings in the U23 category.

The next World Cup round is held in three days, with racing action heading to the car racing track in Heusden-Zolder on Boxing Day.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lucinda Brand (Ned)0:45:40
2Marianne Vos (Ned)0:00:27
3Annemarie Worst (Ned)0:00:32
4Nikki Brammeier (GBr)0:00:35
5Jolanda Neff (Swi)0:00:36
6Eva Lechner (Ita)0:00:54
7Denise Betsema (Ned)0:00:58
8Kaitlin Keough (USA)0:01:15
9Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned)0:01:28
10Loes Sels (Bel)0:01:31
11Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)0:01:38
12Aida Nuño Palacio (Spa)0:01:44
13Sanne Cant (Bel)0:01:53
14Sophie De Boer (Ned)0:02:08
15Maud Kaptheijns (Ned)0:02:13
16Fleur Nagengast (Ned)0:02:18
17Ellen Noble (USA)0:02:26
18Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa)0:02:30
19Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra)0:02:47
20Maghalie Rochette (Can)0:02:56
21Elisabeth Brandau (Ger)0:03:02
22Nicole Koller (Swi)0:03:03
23Marlène Petit (Fra)0:03:12
24Christine Majerus (Lux)0:03:23
25Anna Kay (GBr)0:03:24
26Harriet Harnden (GBr)0:03:34
27Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned)0:03:40
28Jana Czeczinkarová (Cze)0:03:41
29Bethany Crumpton (GBr)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Manon Bakker (Ned)0:03:43
31Katherine Compton (USA)0:03:49
32Puck Pieterse (Ned)0:04:00
33Jennifer Jackson (Can)0:04:15
34Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)0:04:43
35Ffion James (GBr)Row 34 - Cell 2
36Mari-Liis Mõttus (Est)0:04:44
37Shirin Van Anrooij (Ned)0:04:53
38Noemi Rüegg (Swi)0:04:55
39Perrine Clauzel (Fra)0:05:12
40Nadja Heigl (Aut)0:05:21
41Ruby West (Can)0:05:24
42Francesca Baroni (Ita)Row 41 - Cell 2
43Pavla Havlíková (Cze)0:05:28
44Anais Grimault (Fra)0:05:37
45Magdeleine Vallieres Mill (Can)Row 44 - Cell 2
46Léa Curinier (Fra)0:05:42
47Elle Anderson (USA)Row 46 - Cell 2
48Ida Jansson (Swe)0:05:46
49Lara Krähemann (Swi)0:05:48
50Zina Barhoumi (Swi)0:05:52
51Pasquine Vandermouten (Fra)Row 50 - Cell 2
52Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel)0:06:02
53Emily Wadsworth (GBr)0:06:25
54Caroline Mani (Fra)0:06:34
55Stefanie Paul (Ger)0:07:02
56Luisa Ibarrola Albizua (Spa)Row 55 - Cell 2
57Maddie Wadsworth (GBr)0:07:25
58Marceline Devaux (Fra)Row 57 - Cell 2
59Lauriane Duraffourg (Fra)0:07:38
60Axelle Bellaert (Bel)0:07:58
61Nikola Bajgerová (Cze)0:08:05
62Viktoria Smidth Knudsen (Den)0:08:11
63Ida Erngren (Swe)0:08:30
64Anna Flynn (GBr)0:08:49
65Sandra Trevilla Samperio (Spa)0:08:53
66Dana Gilligan (Can)Row 65 - Cell 2
67Kätlin Kukk (Est)Row 66 - Cell 2
68Corey Coogan Cisek (USA)Row 67 - Cell 2
69Mélissa Rouiller (Swi)Row 68 - Cell 2
70Lucie Cottier (Swi)Row 69 - Cell 2
71Tessa Zwaenepoel (Bel)Row 70 - Cell 2
72Irene Trabazo Bragado (Spa)Row 71 - Cell 2
73Jennifer Malik (USA)Row 72 - Cell 2
74Emily Werner (USA)Row 73 - Cell 2
75Tess Van Loy (Bel)Row 74 - Cell 2
76Sidney Mcgill (Can)Row 75 - Cell 2
77Maria Parajon Fuentes (Spa)Row 76 - Cell 2
78Diana Steffenhagen (Ger)Row 77 - Cell 2
DNFRebecca Fahringer (USA)Row 78 - Cell 2
DNFMarlène Morel Petitgirard (Fra)Row 79 - Cell 2
DNFHelen Wyman (GBr)Row 80 - Cell 2
DNFKata Blanka Vas (Hun)Row 81 - Cell 2
DNSPaula Diaz Lopez (Spa)Row 82 - Cell 2
DNSMara Schwager (Ger)Row 83 - Cell 2

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