Van den Brand was untouchable in Zonhoven. © Bart Hazen

Van den Brand was untouchable in Zonhoven. © Bart Hazen

by Bart Hazen

The women and Juniors may not have races available to them in Belgium’s Superprestige series, but the two groups did have UCI races of their own on tap in Zonhoven, Belgium. Daphny van den Brand has won the first international women’s cyclocross in Zonhoven. The Dutch national champion took her second win of the season just a few days after Nacht van Woerden.The braided women was clearly the strongest.

Van den Brand and Sanne Cant took the holeshot, but it became clear that the Dutch national champion was world class today. Sanne van Paassen came through in fifth position after the first lap after a crash but quickly rejoined Cant and Helen Wyman in the battle for second. Lap by lap Van den Brand extended her lead and soloed to her second win of the season. The battle for second between Wyman, Cant and Van Paassen was decided in the final lap in favor of Wyman. Van Paassen was third, Cant finished fourth, Pavla Havlikova fifth. Nikki Harris, Joyce Vanderbeken, Nancy Bober, Nicolle de Bie-Leyten and Gabby Day completed the top 10. Cyclocross Magazine contributor Christine Vardaros finished 14th. Van den Brand is showing great form just in time for next weekend’s European Championships, her first big goal of the season. “My summer season wasn’t as good as the previous years. I trained more intensely to compensate for that, so it took a little longer to get into top shape,” said a satisfied van den Brand. “It was a tough course, and I’m happy that I’ve won it. Tomorrow the Koppenberg, and then I will try to become European Champion.”

Wyman took her second podium place of the week; Last Tuesday she was already third in Nacht van Woerden. “I knew that I could get on the podium, but didn’t expected that it was going so well. If I can do the same tomorrow in Oudenaarde, my residence during the winter season, that would be really awesome.”

Laurens Sweeck best Junior
Belgian Laurens Sweeck won the Junior race in Zonhoven, dominating the race from start to finish. Twin brother Diether was his closest rival for most of the race, but had to deal with mechanical problems in the penultimate lap. Diether Sweeck fell back with the chasing duo Daan Soete and Jens Vandekinderen. The latter was the strongest in the final lap and took a surprising second place. Dieter Sweeck was third. First year Junior Daan Soete was fourth.

“This is my second win in the Topsport Vlaanderen Trofee, and I’m almost sure of winning the overall ranking,” said Sweeck. “The Trofee isn’t my biggest goal, my first big goal of the season are the European Championships in Frankfurt (Germany) next week. The most opposition I expect will come from Frenchman Quentin Jauregui and a few Czech riders.”

Stay tuned for more, including photos and complete results.

Women’s Brief Results

1. Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned)

2. Helen Wyman (GBr)

3. Sanne Van Paassen (Ned)

4. Sanne Cant (Bel)

5. Pavla Havlikova (Cze)

Junior’s Brief Results

1. Laurens Sweeck

2. Jens Vandekinderen

3. Diether Sweeck

4. Daan Soete

5. Daan Hoeyberghs

Photo Gallery