The first month of the European cyclocross calendar has been by-and-large dominated by a trio of young Dutch riders in Annemarie Worst (777), Yara Kastelijn (777) and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon – Circus). Between the 3 of them, they won a total of 7 races in the month of October.
On Friday, the DVV Trofee series kicked off with the annual classic on the slopes of the famed cobbled hill at the annual November 1 Koppenbergcross. The three young Dutch riders entered as favorites, but as the past has shown, the famed cobbled hill can humble even the best riders and it has often been the site of memorable triumphs by heroes for at least a day.
Mixing things up even more this year compared to some recent editions were slick conditions on the long descent through the field and mud and moisture accumulating on the cobbles of the steep hill climb riders had to each lap.
7s Wild on the Koppenberg
Leading the charge up the Koppenberg at the start of the Elite Women’s race was Italian Eva Lecher (Creafin – Fristads). Kastelijn joined her in powering up the first of five climbs for the race, and when they made the hard right into the field at the top, the top already had a gap on the first group of chasers.
As the day’s affair would show, Lechner’s biggest strength was on the climb, but once over the top, Kastelijn stayed aggressive while the Italian faded. As she navigated the slick downhill off-cambers and straights, she quickly gained separation from Lechner and the rest of the field. At the DVV Trofee time check before Pit 2, Kastelijn already had a 15-second advantage on Lechner, Alvarado, Worst and others.
As Lechner dropped back, Alvarado stepped up as the rider to lead the chase of Kastelijn, but when she had some troubles and dropped back, Worst took up the charge of leading the charge toward her streaking teammate.
One nearly 12-minute first lap into the 4-lap race, Kastelijn’s advantage was 16 seconds over Worst, who in turn led Lechner by 14 seconds. The famed Koppenberg had already shattered the Elite Women’s field into muddy pieces.
The second lap showed that thanks to the conditions, there would be no perfect rides on the Koppenberg this slick afternoon.
Still well off the front, Kastelijn slipped out while dismounting on a slick downhill off-camber and crashed to the ground. With the field portion of the course requiring total focus, it appeared to be the kind of mistake that could fluster the young rider and allow Worst to get back in the game, but at the top of the next climb and the end of Lap 2, Kastelijn still held a 13-second advantage.
There was, however, plenty of cyclocross left to go.
In the penultimate lap, Kastelijn seemed determined to cement her advantage and at the bell, she extended her advantage to 21 seconds on Worst. After Lechner put in a big dig on the climb at the end of Lap 2, Alice Maria Arzuffi (777) dropped her through the field and the Italian 777 member crested the 2nd-to-last climb in solo 3rd.
The final trip around the course would be anything but a Kastelijn Koppenation. Chasing 20+ seconds at the top of the climb, Worst found a 2nd or even 3rd gear in the last lap and started to quickly close the gap to the leader.
Worst drew close enough to be able to say “Hallo” to her teammate on some of the 180 turns, but Kastelijn still hit the cobbles for the final time with a gap, and she held it on the final grueling climb up the Koppenberg to take her second-straight big win after winning Superprestige Gavere on Sunday.
Worst finished second and Arzuffi third.
Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) passed Alvarado on the final climb to secure fifth. Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight) finished 11th, Rebecca Gross (Zero D Racing) took 27th and Corey Coogan Cisek (CCC Racing) 30th.
Full results are below. Stay tuned for a Men’s race report.
Elite Women Results: 2019 Koppenbergcross
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|6||5||ALVARADO||Ceylin del Carmen||NED||0:44:08|
|13||17||VAN DE STEENE||Kim||BEL||0:45:53|
|23||50||VAN DER BURG||Esther||NED||0:49:12|
|29||57||VAN DE PUTTE||Kim||BEL||0:50:17|
|44||48||DE VOS||Nele||BEL||-1 LAP|
|46||55||DE ROECK||Naomi||BEL||-1 LAP|