US champion Clara Honsinger (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) claimed victory in the women's Koppenbergcross on Monday with a commanding ride in muddy conditions.
Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) placed second at 11 seconds, with Kata Blank Vas (SD Worx) rounding out the podium at 34 seconds.
The 17th edition of the women's Koppenbergcross was renamed the Grand Prix Jolien Verschueren in honour of the Belgian racer who died of cancer in July, having won the race in 2015 and 2016.
The week's rainfall made for a heavy course, with the titular cobbled climb of the Koppenberg covered in a layer of mud and grease.
Honsinger emerged as the strongest on the brutally steep climb, made famous by the Tour of Flanders, with the finish line positioned at the top.
Despite an early crash, she tracked down the early pace-setter Betsema and then left her towards the end of the second lap. On the last two laps she held firm, consolidating her advantage on the uphill sections before taking a lead of 10 seconds onto the final lap. She didn't put a foot wrong from there and didn't falter on the brutal final ascent of the Koppenberg.
Behind, the field was in pieces. Yara Kastelijn and last year's winner Annemarie Worst initially made pace with Betsema but soon faded away, with Kastelijn placing fourth at 1:41 and Worst all the way back in fifth at three minutes.
World champion Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) was perhaps still struggling with the effects of a crash in Overijse at the weekend and could only manage fifth place at 2:01. She had a slower start, suffered another crash, and never managed to claw her way towards the front. Likewise the previous world champion and current European champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, who has had a delayed start to the season and did not ride the US World Cups. She finished just behind Brand and collapsed to the ground beyond the finish line.
Those who finished the race crossed the line in dribs and drabs, as Honsinger basked in a landmark win on European soil.
"The first time up the climb was first time I rode it - I wasn't able to do it in pre-ride - and I was astounded with how long, steep, and slippery it was," Honsinger said of the Koppenberg.
"I made the difference by having faster lines on the descents, being able to be off the brakes a bit more, and then the long climb really catered to my deep power."
The race was the first in the 2021-2022 X20 Badkamers Trofee series, so Honsinger takes the overall lead. The general classification is based on timings rather than points, so the brutal conditions and consequent gaps put her in a strong position at the top of the standings.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld||0:51:07|
|2||Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:00:12|
|3||Kata Blanka Vas (Hun)||0:00:35|
|4||Yara Kastelijn (Ned) IKO - Crelan||0:01:42|
|5||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions||0:02:01|
|6||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin - Fenix||0:02:12|
|7||Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777||0:03:01|
|8||Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal||0:03:19|
|9||Hélène Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam||0:03:47|
|10||Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam||0:04:54|
|11||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||0:05:03|
|12||Millie Couzens (GBr)||0:05:56|
|13||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Starcasino CX Team||0:06:23|
|14||Alicia Franck (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT||0:06:52|
|15||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||0:07:29|
|16||Olivia Onesti (Fra) Starcasino CX Team||0:08:17|
|17||Kiona Crabbé (Bel)||0:08:42|
|18||Chiara Teocchi (Ita) Trinity Racing||0:09:22|
|19||Jana Dobbelaere (Bel) Starcasino CX Team||0:09:57|
|20||Fauve Bastiaenssen (Bel) BNS Technics - Groep T.O.M||0:10:31|
|21||Amira Mellor (GBr) Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus||0:11:06|
|22||Mie Bjørndal Ottestad (Nor)||0:11:41|
|23||Susanne Meistrok (Ned) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT||0:12:02|
|24||Fleur Moors (Bel)||0:12:28|
|25||Xan Crees (GBr) Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus||0:12:48|
|26||Julie Brouwers (Bel)||0:14:40|
|27||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) VeloRevolution WPcycles|
|28||Femke Gort (Ned) BNS Technics - Groep T.O.M|
|29||Camille Devigne (Fra)|
|30||Lara Defour (Bel)|
|31||Lise Van Wunsel (Bel)|
|32||Marieke De Groot (Ned)|
|33||Kiona Dhont (Bel)|
|34||Margot Marasco (Fra)|
|35||Laura Greenhalgh (GBr) VeloRevolution WPcycles|
|36||Amy Perryman (GBr)|
|37||Lies´L Schevenels (Bel)|
|38||Nina Berton (Lux)|
|39||Rosanne Breugelmans (Bel) BNS Technics - Groep T.O.M|
|40||Allison Arensman (USA) VeloRevolution WPcycles|
|41||Audrey De Keersmaeker (Bel) Starcasino CX Team|
|42||Madeline Cooper (GBr)|
|43||Freya Whiteside (GBr)|
|44||Naomi De Roeck (Bel)|
|45||Nele De Vos (Bel)|
|46||Lily Young (GBr)|
|47||Jo Blanchaert (Bel)|
|48||An-Sofie Marien (Bel)|
|49||Jolisa Verschueren (Bel)|
|DNF||Katharina Paggel (Ger)|
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