Clara Honsinger wins Koppenbergcross

Clara Honsinger wins Koppenbergcross
Clara Honsinger wins Koppenbergcross (Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld 0:51:07
2Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:00:12
3Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) 0:00:35
4Yara Kastelijn (Ned) IKO - Crelan 0:01:42
5Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions 0:02:01
6Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin - Fenix 0:02:12
7Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 0:03:01
8Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:03:19
9Hélène Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam 0:03:47
10Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam 0:04:54
11Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) 0:05:03
12Millie Couzens (GBr) 0:05:56
13Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Starcasino CX Team 0:06:23
14Alicia Franck (Bel) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT 0:06:52
15Ellen Van Loy (Bel) 0:07:29
16Olivia Onesti (Fra) Starcasino CX Team 0:08:17
17Kiona Crabbé (Bel) 0:08:42
18Chiara Teocchi (Ita) Trinity Racing 0:09:22
19Jana Dobbelaere (Bel) Starcasino CX Team 0:09:57
20Fauve Bastiaenssen (Bel) BNS Technics - Groep T.O.M 0:10:31
21Amira Mellor (GBr) Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus 0:11:06
22Mie Bjørndal Ottestad (Nor) 0:11:41
23Susanne Meistrok (Ned) Proximus - Alphamotorhomes - Doltcini CT 0:12:02
24Fleur Moors (Bel) 0:12:28
25Xan Crees (GBr) Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus 0:12:48
26Julie Brouwers (Bel) 0:14:40
27Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) VeloRevolution WPcycles
28Femke Gort (Ned) BNS Technics - Groep T.O.M
29Camille Devigne (Fra)
30Lara Defour (Bel)
31Lise Van Wunsel (Bel)
32Marieke De Groot (Ned)
33Kiona Dhont (Bel)
34Margot Marasco (Fra)
35Laura Greenhalgh (GBr) VeloRevolution WPcycles
36Amy Perryman (GBr)
37Lies´L Schevenels (Bel)
38Nina Berton (Lux)
39Rosanne Breugelmans (Bel) BNS Technics - Groep T.O.M
40Allison Arensman (USA) VeloRevolution WPcycles
41Audrey De Keersmaeker (Bel) Starcasino CX Team
42Madeline Cooper (GBr)
43Freya Whiteside (GBr)
44Naomi De Roeck (Bel)
45Nele De Vos (Bel)
46Lily Young (GBr)
47Jo Blanchaert (Bel)
48An-Sofie Marien (Bel)
49Jolisa Verschueren (Bel)
DNFKatharina Paggel (Ger)

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