World champion Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado took her first elite European cyclo-cross title sprinting ahead of rival Annemarie Worst.
As they had in February's world championships, the pairing came to the finish together for a sprint finish after battling throughout the race, with Alvarado once again victor.
Lucinda Brand took bronze as the Netherlands dominated the top four positions in their home championships on the fast ‘S_Hertogenbosch course.
Away from the starting line it was Italian rider Eva Lechner who led the charge over the opening corners but was closely monitored by 22-year-old Alvarado who was always at the head of proceedings.
Lechner made a mistake on entry to the first sandpit allowing Brand to take the lead as the host country’s riders swamped the head of proceedings.
Worst and Alvarado then began their battle at the head of proceedings forcing the pace.
A crash for Denise Betsema while in third place allowed the rivals space to continue their battle.
They were initially joined by Brand who bridged across the gap before crashing on a technical section opening the gap of five seconds back up.
With two-and-a-half laps remaining Worst responded to Alvarado’s attacks and forced her rival into a small error but nothing could separate the duo.
Behind Brand, who rides for Trek-Segafredo, on the road and is twice Dutch road race champion, continued her lone chase just seven seconds back from the lead pairing.
With the leading duo slowing Brand took advantage and closed the gap to make a leading trio at the last lap bell.
Brand, aged 31, went straight past her rivals to the front on the road section and then fended off the challenge of Worst as she tried to pass.
Experienced Brand continued to put the duo under pressure in a last lap bid for glory with the others visibly suffering.
However, Alvarado, who took bronze in the under-23 mountain bike world championships last month, showed her bike handling skills and rode a sand section forcing a gap as Brand failed to follow.
Worst had to close the gap alone as Brand’s challenge fell away and came back to her country-mate with half-a-lap remaining.
Former European champion from 2018, Worst had to respond again after slightly faltering on the technical uphill second but was able to pull back her rival to force a sprint finish
Fighting to lead into the short finishing straight the pair went side by side in the closing stages and it was Alvarado who held the pole position and clinched victory.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands)||0:40:45|
|2||Annemarie Worst (Netherlands)|
|3||Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)||0:00:22|
|4||Denise Betsema (Netherlands)||0:00:55|
|5||Perrine Clauzel (France)||0:01:13|
|6||Eva Lechner (Italy)||0:01:18|
|7||Sanne Cant (Belgium)||0:01:20|
|8||Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands)||0:01:41|
|9||Alicia Franck (Belgium)||0:01:48|
|10||Ellen Van Loy (Belgium)||0:01:59|
|11||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Italy)||0:02:08|
|12||Loes Sels (Belgium)||0:02:12|
|13||Sophie De Boer (Netherlands)||0:02:21|
|14||Laura Verdonschot (Belgium)||0:02:23|
|15||Marlène Petit (France)||0:02:30|
|16||Hélène Clauzel (France)||0:02:43|
|17||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spain)||0:02:45|
|18||Zina Barhoumi (Swizerland)||0:02:59|
|19||Suzanne Verhoeven (Belgium)||0:03:12|
|20||Karla Štěpánová (Czech Republic)||0:03:23|
|21||Ffion James (Great Britain)||0:03:26|
|22||Amira Mellor (Great Britain)||0:03:42|
|23||Joyce Vanderbeken (Belgium)||0:04:27|
|24||Aida Nuño Palacio (Spain)||0:04:46|
|25||Stefanie Paul (Germany)||0:05:44|
|26||Nikola Bajgerová (Czech Rrepublic)||0:06:15|
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