Brand wins European cyclo-cross title

Lucinda Brand (Netherlands) added the European cyclo-cross title to her world championship bands by taking a commanding solo victory on home Dutch turf.

The 15 per cent Col Du Vam climb suited the Trek-Segafredo women’s road rider who also won the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour earlier this season.

The victory was Brand’s third of the cyclo-cross season after also winning the world cup round in Fayetteville last month.

Blanka Kata Vas was left to chase Brand by her Dutch counterparts and Yara Kastelijn was the only rider able to live with the pace of the Hungarian rider until the last lap with Vas taking second and Kastelijn in third. 

Defending champion Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado was with the chasing duo until a last lap crash meant she had to settle for fourth.

"Apparently it was my day and I felt really strong," said Brand.

"I was stronger than I expected and the others had some difficulties. I'm super happy to take the victory, it was definitely a goal and now I have all the three championships (world, European and national).

"Of course it's not finished but it's really nice to add this to my palmarès."

How it unfolded 

With the under-23 women having a separate race at the championship tomorrow (Sunday) a smaller elite field of 26 riders took to the start in Drenthe.

Starting at the bottom of the 15 per cent gradient Col Du Vam cobbled climb it was Hungarian rider Blanka Kata Vas who set the early pace.

On the first slippery descent Manon Bakker crashed after Belgium's Marthe Truyen slid into the barriers and fell in her path, causing the Dutch rider to run back to the pits for a new bike and her race was effectively over.

Italy's Silvia Persico, riding in second wheel, crashed on a descent and lost her position behind Vas at the head of proceedings.

World champion Lucinda Brand led the pursuit of five Dutch riders not allowing Vas a gap after the opening lap of the gruelling circuit.

Vas, who had elected to ride the elite race instead of the under-23s, pitted on the second lap and Brand took advantage of the slower exit from the pits to attack and gap her rivals.

Annemarie Worst was the first Dutch rider to crack under the pressure of Vas, falling away from the chasing group.

With three other Dutch riders in the leading group, the emphasis was on Vas to lead the chase 14 seconds behind the world champion.

At the head of the race Brand continued to build her lead to 30 seconds with Dutch rider Yara Kastelijn going side by side with Vas on the steep finishing straight.

Defending champion Alvarado, making her comeback from aberrant blood values, started to struggle on the steep climbs and was gapped by the chasing duo.

Kastelijn used her running to make her move distancing Vas but the Hungarian responded and then continued in her pursuit of Brand but 50 seconds behind with two laps to go.

Alvarado continued to yo-yo from the chasing duo as Vas forced the former world champion onto the back foot on certain sections of the course.

At the bell lap, Brand had a comfortable 57 seconds gap over the chasers while Alvarado slid out, hitting a barrier and was gapped by the chasing duo for good.

Brand was able to enjoy her first European cyclo-cross title on her home turf, while Vas dug deep into her reserves on the last lap and distanced Kastelijn to take silver while her Dutch rival had to settle for third.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lucinda Brand (Netherlands) 0:48:22
2Kata Blanka Vas (Hungary) 0:00:56
3Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands) 0:01:02
4Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands) 0:01:29
5Denise Betsema (Netherlands) 0:02:01
6Hélène Clauzel (France) 0:02:21
7Annemarie Worst (Netherlands) 0:02:34
8Alice Maria Arzuffi (Italy) 0:02:50
9Silvia Persico (Italy) 0:02:58
10Sanne Cant (Belgium) 0:03:04
11Inge van der Heijden (Netherlands) 0:03:20
12Aniek van Alphen (Netherlands) 0:03:31
13Eva Lechner (Italy) 0:03:43
14Alicia Franck (Belgium) 0:04:22
15Suzanne Verhoeven (Belgium) 0:04:42
16Zina Barhoumi (Switzerland) 0:05:35
17Manon Bakker (Netherlands) 0:05:55
18Elisabeth Brandau (Germany) 0:06:18
19Lara Krähemann (Switzerland) 0:06:32
20Perrine Clauzel (France)
21Marthe Truyen (Belgium)
22Sara Casasola (Italy)
23Nadja Heigl (Austria)
24Barbara Borowiecka (Poland)
25Antonina Bialek (Poland)
26Kajsa Salmela (Finland)

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