Thus far this season, Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) has had a low-key start to her cyclocross season.
Brand podiumed at Nacht van Woerden and then finished inside the top 10 at Superprestige Gavere, but with countrywomen Marianne Vos (WaowDeals Pro Cycling) and Annemarie Worst (Steylaerts – 777) grabbing many of the headlines, it was a quiet start to the season for the reigning Dutch national champion.
That changed on Saturday at World Cup Tabor.
The fast—yet very slick in spots—course followed the World Cup Bern track in producing a massive group of riders at the front. After one lap 15 riders were within 15 seconds of the leader.
At the bell, it was down to seven, including Brand. 32 minutes into the race, the Dutch national champion had yet to step to the front, allowing the others to trade attacks and do the work at the front.
Shortly into the last lap, Brand went to the lead. She powered up and down the embankment and rode the slick hill that effectively ended several riders’ races to grab a small lead.
Buoyed by her road fitness and massive power, Brand attacked. With a clear look at the more open middle part of the course, Brand stayed powerful and perfect to win the first World Cup of her cyclocross career.
Big Groups in Tabor
The course at Tabor, Czech Republic was dry but very slick in spots. With temperatures in the low 40s, some of the usual suspects of the Women’s cyclocross peloton got out to a fast start.
Eva Lechner (Team Clif Bar) took the early lead, and then Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan – Charles) took over the lead spot in the middle part of the first lap. Although punchy and technical in spots, the grassy course did not create much separation early on, and after one lap, a full 15 riders were within 15 seconds of a large group at the front.
The second lap provided a prelude to an important moment of the race. The early part of the lap included a set of stairs that led to a small flat and then a steep, punchy uphill. The uphill was in the shade and residual overnight frost made the incline incredibly slick. In just the second lap, Lechner, Nikki Brammeier (Mudiiita) and Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) effectively had their races ended when they slipped several times on the incline, and Katerina Nash had her move to the front snuffed out.
— James Fedosov (@fedojam) November 17, 2018
Toward the end of Lap 2, Worst moved to the front, and when Sanne Cant (IKO-Beobank) slipped in a series of 180-degree corners, Worst attacked.
Two laps in, Worst had six seconds on Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions), Alice Maria Arzuffi (Steylaerts – 777), Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon – Circus), Denise Betsema (Marlux – Bingoal), Pavla Havlikova, Cant, Kaptheijns and Brand.
This season, Worst has shown that she can hold onto a gap, so it was all hands on deck in the chase group. Those who could keep up slowly closed in on Worst, and at the top of a long uphill, they caught her.
With two to go, the lead group was now Worst, Van Loy, Cant, Arzuffi, Brand, Betsema and Del Carmen Alvarado.
A Very On-Brand Ending
Cant started Lap 4 looking to atone for her earlier mistake. She took the lead spot into the series of ups and downs and led the group into the middle part of the course. At times it looked like Cant might get a few seconds on the rest of the group, but at the end of the lap, it was a group of six at the front with Del Carmen Alvarado dangling a few bike lengths back.
After hanging out in the group for the race thus far, Brand moved to the front at the start of the bell lap. She powered up and down the steep embankment in the lead spot, with Arzuffi chasing behind in second.
At the end of the section, Brand’s power came in handy. She remounted after the stairs and powered straight up the slick incline of doom that claimed so many riders earlier on. Arzuffi got up, but she took a much more roundabout line after the incline. Cant was not so lucky, and she slipped out like many riders had earlier on.
Brand had a several-second advantage and she attacked. With the more open part of the course coming up, she was able to extend her lead to eight seconds. Worst moved into second and did her best to bring Brand back.
Powered by the thought of winning her first-career World Cup, Brand was perfect the rest of the last lap. She coasted across for the impressive win.
“I had a lot of luck with my endurance from the road,” Brand said about the group racing. “I knew I still had my power.”
Worst finished second for the second-straight World Cup, and her teammate Arzuffi took third.
Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight) finished 12th, Maghalie Rochette (CX Fever p/b Specialized) 13th, Keough 21st, Elle Anderson (Milwaukee – Alpha Motorhomes) 24th, Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing CX) 27th, Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) 28th and Regina Legge (Trek Cyclocross Collective) was a DNF.
Full results are below. Stay tuned for a full photo gallery from Tabor.
2018 World Cup Tabor Cyclocross World Cup Results: Elite Women
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|7||17||DEL CARMEN ALVARADO||Ceylin||NED||0:40:53|
|17||20||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Inge||NED||0:41:42|