The story of the 2019/20 Elite Women’s European cyclocross season thus far has been the dominance of young Dutch riders Annemarie Worst (777), Yara Kastelijn (777) and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon – Circus).

On Saturday at World Cup Tabor, that story played out on the course located south of Prague at the Komora Sports Complex. Playing the role of ringer to the young Dutch women was last year’s Elite Worlds silver medalist Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions), who was racing in her first World Cup of the season.

Another young Dutch rider in defending U23 World Champion (Inge van der Heijden) got Saturday’s affair started, ripping out to the holeshot down the long, paved starting stretch. Maghalie Rochette (Specialized x Feedback Sports) slotted in at second and young British rider Anna Kay (Experza Pro CX) had a good start as well.

As the women hit the series of ups and downs at the beginning of the circuit, Alvarado quickly started picking up spot after spot. She moved up into second behind Van der Heijden exiting the section and then moved to the front to set her own pace.

That pace proved to be fast, too fast for the other riders in that lead group. Alvarado soon opened up a gap on Kay and Van der Heijden as riders hit the uphill barriers for the first time.

By the end of Lap 1 of 5, Alvarado had ripped out to an 11-second lead on Kay and Worst, who moved to 3rd in the latter part of the first trip around the course.

Ceylin Alvarado was the early aggressor on Saturday. 2019 World Cup Tabor. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Ceylin Alvarado was the early aggressor on Saturday. 2019 World Cup Tabor. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Alvarado has shown the ability to ride first-lap leads to solo wins this season, but there was seemingly little sense of panic with Worst, who was racing for the first time after giving up the Euro Champ’s kit to her teammate Kastelijn last Sunday in Italy.

Worst dropped Kay and led the chase of Alvarado. When the duo passed through the barriers, Alvarado’s lead was down to 6 seconds. Kastelijn, meanwhile, moved into third place by herself.

By the end of Lap 2, Worst made contact with Alvarado. The battle between the two was on. Kastelijn chased 11 seconds behind.

On a sunny afternoon with a track that was relatively dry, save one slick section at the start of the lap, Alvarado and Worst kept the pace high. The two swapped leads several times in Lap 3. Neither could get a gap, but their aggressiveness allowed them to double their advantage on third-place rider Kastelijn.

Meanwhile, with 2 to go, Brand had moved up into 4th place, just 8 seconds behind Kastelijn. Brand won at Tabor with last-lap heroics in 2018, but on Saturday, it appeared her 4th-row start coupled with the aggressiveness of her young countrywoman might be a little too much for her to overcome to get the repeat.

After neither of the two leaders could get a gap in the previous lap, they settled a bit in Lap 4. Alvarado slipped a little in the ups and downs, but Worst was unable to take advantage and the two stayed together.

Heading into the last lap, it was Worst and Alvarado at the front, with Kastelijn chasing 15 seconds and Brand 14 seconds behind the new Euro Champ.

“My start wasn’t very good, so I had to ride hard to get her,” Worst said about the two-up battle. “Then we were together and it was a really hard battle on a hard course.”

Saturday's race came down to Annemarie Worst and Ceylin Alvarado. 2019 World Cup Tabor. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Saturday’s race came down to Annemarie Worst and Ceylin Alvarado. 2019 World Cup Tabor. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Worst led off the tarmac in the bell lap, and it took a few minutes for the fireworks to really start. Worst led through the ups and downs in the first third of the lap before Alvarado took the lead with a swift dash up the stairs.

Her lead appeared in jeopardy when she had trouble clipping in after the uphill barriers, but Worst kind of got stuck behind her, and Alvarado was able to sprint out of the uphill exit still in the lead.

The final third of the circuit descended to the lowest part of the course before riders climbed out toward the finish. It was on those climbs that Worst made her decisive moves.

She re-took the lead on a steep kicker and then attacked through the following climbs. Alvarado followed at first, but it was soon clear she was on her limit as she dabbed and pushed to follow Worst’s assertive move.

A bike-length lead quickly became several seconds. Worst was riding strong, while Alvarado hinted her rival’s aggressiveness was too much in the race’s waning meters.

Worst rode her lead out to take the win and improve on her second-place finish from 2018.

“Earlier in the race I tried to ride away, but I knew it was a really hard track, so I knew I should wait for the climbs on the last lap. I thought it might come to a sprint, but I was able to ride away earlier,” she said after the race.

Annemarie Worst took the win at Tabor.  2019 World Cup Tabor. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Annemarie Worst took the win at Tabor. 2019 World Cup Tabor. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Alvarado took second and Kastelijn wrapped up third after riding solo for much of the race. Brand finished a strong last lap to take 4th, just 3 seconds behind Kastelijn.

Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) finished 8th, Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight) 13th, Caroline Mani (Pactimo / Colorado Proud) 14th, Maghalie Rochette (Specialized x Feedback Sports) 16th, Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) 18th, Anna Megale (Trek Cyclocross Collective) 44th, Corey Coogan Cisek (CCC Racing) 45th and Rebecca Gross (Zero D Racing) 49th.

Full results are below.

Elite Women Results: 2019 World Cup Tabor

1Annemarie WorstNED44:45
2Ceylin AlvaradoNED44:55
3Yara KastelijnNED45:05
4Lucinda BrandNED45:08
5Alice Maria ArzuffiITA46:05
6Sanne CantBEL46:13
7Anna KayGBR46:14
8Kaitie KeoughUSA46:26
9Puck PiterseNED46:44
10Shirin van AndrooijNED46:46
11Eva LechnerITA46:46
12Inge van der HeijdenNED47:08
13Katie ComptonUSA47:11
14Caroline ManiFRA47:22
15Marion Norbert RiberolleFRA47:24
16Maghalie RochetteCAN47:28
17Manon BakkerNED47:32
18Katerina NashCZE47:42
19Ellen Van LoyBEL47:50
20Sophie de BoerNED47:53
21Pavla HavlikovaCZE47:57
22Lucia Gonzalez BlancoSPA48:14
23Alicia FranckBEL48:18
24Joyce VanderbekenBEL48:34
25Millie CouzensGBR48:40
26Geerte HoekeNED48:47
27Nadja HeiglAUT48:53
28Loes SelsBEL49:03
29Kata Blanka VasHUN49:35
30Nikola BajgerovaCZE50:11
31Mari-Liis MottusEST50:31
32Elizabeth UngermanovaCZE50:42
33Janka Keseg StevkovaSLV50:53
34Harriet HarndenGBR50:54
35Aneta NovotnaCZE50:54
36Kamila JanuCZE51:20
37Josie NelsonGBR51:23
38Marthe TruyenBEL51:41
39Tatiana JasekovaSVK51:45
40Kiona CrabbeBEL51:50
41Karollna BedrnikoCZE52:00
42Jana CzeczinkarovaCZE52:16
43Tereza SvihalkovaCZE52:28
44Anna MegaleUSA52:34
45Corey Coogan CisekUSA52:41
46Clea SeidelGER52:45
47Katie ScottGBR53:09
48Tereza KurnickaSVKLAP
49Rebecca GrossUSALAP
50Amandine FouquenetFRALAP
51Larissa LuttuschGERLAP
DNFMaud KaptheijnsNED
DNFLaura VerdonschotBEL