The seventh round of the World Cup was held in the Belgian city of Zolder. The surface was hard, as temperatures were bouncing around the freezing point. The racing was fast, appropriate given the setting at the Circuit Zolder speedway.
Katherina Nash (Clif Pro Team) was still leading in the World Cup classification, but Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) had come closer and closer in the past five rounds on European soil.
It was Alvarado with today’s head start. Marianne Vos (CCC – Liv), a legend in the world of cycling, started on the third row but moved up to second position in the blink of an eye. It was Spanish rider Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (NESTA – SKODA ALECAR CX TEAM) in third and Annemarie Worst (777) in fourth.
When a gap opened up with Alvarado and Vos, Worst tried to close it. After Worst went across, Dutch national champion Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions) and Inge van der Heijden (CCC – Liv) tried and managed to close it too. The 5 leaders finished the first lap with a 5-second advantage on World Champion Sanne Cant (IKO – Beobank).
At the end of the second lap, the leading group still consisted of the same five riders. Cant had lost ground and was now 21 seconds behind in a chasing group with World Cup leader Nash.
The pace in the front group dropped in the third lap, which allowed Cant to join the leaders. Nash and European Champion Yara Kastelijn (777) were in a chasing group on 18 seconds.
Vos then accelerated in the beginning of the third lap. Only Brand and Alvarado were able to follow. Brand then decided to keep pushing, which resulted in Vos dropping towards the end of the lap.
The pace, however, again dropped in the fourth lap, which allowed not only Vos but also Worst to return to the front of the race.
Entering the last lap, van der Heijden was about to return too. Brand, however, attacked. With the pace reached a blistering level and the technical section awaiting at the end of the circuit, the race was getting ready for an exciting crescendo.
Going towards the tricky downhill, Vos passed Brand. Brand, not being happy with that, took some risk in the downhill to retake her lead.
Vos then tried to gain some advantage by trying to ride a little uphill. As she did not succeed, Alvarado passed her. As Brand pushed hard, Vos and Worst had to let go.
Brand not able to drop Alvarado, a sprint would decide who would take the win. Brand led out the sprint from far but was strong enough to hold off Alvarado. After winning Sunday’s World Cup in Namur and earlier wins in Kortrijk and Niel, Brand took her fourth win of the season.
“I don’t know why I started sprinting so early,” Brand said. “I had so much pain in my legs, but I thought it’s the same for everybody. This win means a lot to me. It’s not easy to ride so close behind each other. It’s really nice.”
Alvarado had to be happy with second today, but she is now the new leader in the World Cup. Worst bested Vos in the sprint for third.
Van der Heijden finished fifth. World Champion Cant sixth.
Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight) finished 12th, Maghalie Rochette (Specialized x Feedback Sports) 14th, Nash 15th, Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) 24th, Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) 25th, Caroline Mani (Pactimo / Colorado Proud) 27th, Ruby West (Pivot / Maxxis p/b Stan’s NoTubes) 28th, Madigan Munro (Boulder Junior Cycling) 30th, Sammi Runnels (Squid x Eliel) 41st, Raylyn Nuss (MAAP / MINI U.S. Cyclocross Program) 44th, Lizzy Gunsalus (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) 45th, Hannah Arensman (JA King Cyclocross) 50th, Lauren Zoerner (Alpha Bicycle / Groove Subaru) 63rd, Michaela Thompson (Boulder Junior Cycling) 71st, Kelly Lawson (Hardwood Next Wave) 72nd, Claire Steciuk (Hardwood Next Wave) 74th and Siobhan Kelly (Black Dog Racing) 82nd.
Full results are below.
Elite Women Results: 2019 World Cup Zolder
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|2||15||ALVARADO||Ceylin del Carmen||NED||0:47:50|
|5||16||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Inge||NED||0:48:15|
|66||10||VAN DEN BRANDE||Mirthe||BEL||LAP|