A few days ago, we wrote about how any number of women can win an international cyclocross race right now.
One rider who has been knocking at the door of joining the race winner’s club has been 20-year-old Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon – Circus). Alvarado won the U23 European Championship and finished third at Zonhoven, but the young star has still been looking for her first-career Belgian Elite win.
She got in on Sunday in emphatic fashion at the new DVV Trofee / Sack Zelfbouw Ladies Trophy Brussels Universities Cyclocross.
After taking the holeshot and then briefly ceding the lead to Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions), Alvarado retook the lead before the hilly, technical part of the course laid out on the campus of Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
The technical descents and slick off-cambers quickly split the front of the race up. Entering the series of up and down rollers on the campus lawn, Alvarado had a small three-second lead on Van Loy and Sanne Cant (IKO – Beobank). She was perfect on the runs and descents, while Cant and especially Van Loy had their struggles.
Her lead grew to 10 seconds at the end of the first lap. The rest of the 50-minute race was a clinic on Cyclocross 101, with the young prodigy Alvardo teaching the class. Two laps in, her lead was up to 30 seconds, and she went on to win the race by nearly a minute.
It was a memorable day on campus and the latest addition to the rolls of women who have proven they can win an international race this season.
Class is in Session
Sunday’s DVV Trofee / Sack Zwlfbouw Ladies Trophy Brussels Universities Cyclocross was a new addition to the Belgian cyclocross schedule this season. The race was not without a little controversy, with students protesting the presence on the noisy cyclocross race on their campus shortly before exams.
The course at the new cyclocross venue at Vrije Universiteit Brussel was rather hilly and technical, with a series of technical descents and off-cambers in the first half of the race and then a series of rolling ups and downs on the main campus lawn typically seen in University promotional materials.
Alvarado kicked the festivities off by taking the holeshot to lead the field out onto the new course. Van Loy quickly took over the lead, and early in the race, Van Loy, Alvarado and Cant jockeyed for position at the front.
The technical section in the woods was quite tight, so there was certainly advantage to being in front for a clean look. Alvarado retook the lead and led the field into the woods.
When the riders exited the section, a bunched-up front of the race already started to string out. Alvardo entered the series of up and down rollers with a small three-second lead on Van Loy. She was near perfect running up the rollers, riding down the rollers, running up the stairs and riding back down while Van Loy and Cant had their struggles.
Her gap grew significantly in the section, and one lap in, Alvarado already led by 10 seconds over Cant, Van Loy, Loes Sels (Pauwels Sauzen – Vastgoedservice), Laura Verdonschot (Marlux – Bingoal) and Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight).
The five chasers grouped up in the start/finish straight to give chase of Alvarado. The next lap would show if the chasers would be able to work together to reel in the early leader or if they would be more concerned about their order in the group.
Verdonschot took the lead into the technical section, and after the exit, Cant powered to the front to join her. However, despite Verdonschot’s aggression, Alvarado’s lead grew. And it did not just grow, it tripled to 31 seconds.
The rest of the six-lap race, class was in session, with the young prodigy leading the lesson. Alvarado dominated for the full 50 minutes to take home her first career Elite victory in Belgium and firmly establish herself as the favorite for U23 Worlds next month since defending champion Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing CX) will miss the race due to a knee injury.
The chase for second got its biggest shakeup in the third lap. On one of the slick off-cambers in the woods, Cant slipped and went down hard face-first. As she recovered from the hard hit, Sels took over second by herself, with Verdonschot and Compton chasing her by 10 seconds. Compton’s shot for the podium then slipped away in Lap 4 when she slipped out on a slick corner and allowed Verdonschot to get a gap over her for third.
Sels finished the race in second and Verdonschot took third. Compton crossed soon behind in fourth.
Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) finished 10th, Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) 17th, Jen Malik (Redkite Racing) 20th, Corey Coogan Cisek (Amy D. Foundation) 23rd, Rebecca Gross (Zero D Racing) 25th and Emily Werner (Amy D. Foundation) 27th.
Full results are below.
Next up are Nationals for many European countries on Saturday and Cyclocross Otegem on Sunday.
Elite Women Results: 2019 Brussels Universities Cyclocross
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|1||8||ALVARADO||Ceylin del Carmen||NED||0:50:15|
|11||14||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Inge||NED||0:52:56|
|23||16||COOGAN CISEK||Corey||USA||-1 LAP|
|24||22||VAN DE REE||Monique||NED||-2 LAPS|
|28||30||DE VRIES||Didi||NED||-3 LAPS|
|31||43||ISUSI RANERO||Nerea||ESP||-3 LAPS|
|32||42||ARBELOA LOPEZ||Maria||ESP||-3 LAPS|
|34||21||DE ROECK||Naomi||BEL||-4 LAPS|
|DNF||15||VAN DE STEENE||Kim||BEL|