Cyclocross

Brand Repeats at the Citadel with World Cup Namur Win – Report, Results – Cyclocross Magazine

It has long been said that the cyclocross course at the Citadel of Namur is one for the mountain bikers with the challenging descents and long climbs seemingly suited to the skillset of riders at home on technical singletrack.

Recently, however, Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions) has had something to say about that supposed reputation.

Brand won the annual pre-Christmas classic last year, and on Sunday, she quickly put herself at the front of the race with fellow young Dutch riders Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Corendon – Circus) and Annemarie Worst (777).

After dropping Worst, Brand put the pressure on Alvardo with a surge at the start of the third lap. When an on-the-limit Alvarado could not ride the downhill sandy stairs cleanly, Brand seized the opportunity to attack and open a decisive gap.

Not even an eventful last lap could hold Brand back from getting her second-straight win on the famed slopes of the Citadel of Namur.

Lucinda Brand took the win at the 2019 World Cup Namur. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

One for the Road Bike-Sters

With its steep, technical descents and leg-bursting climbs, Namur has long been said to be a course for the “mountain biker-sters.” That was seemingly the case heading into Sunday’s World Cup Namur, with rains all week turning the technical descents into a sloppy mess and organizers redesigning the course to be even more challenging than previous years.

Getting things started on the uphill holeshot was a rider with a background in road racing in Yara Kastelijn (777). Joining her at the front after a fast start were the usual young Dutch suspects of Ceylin Alvarado and Annemarie Worst as well the U23 World Cup overall leader Anna Kay (Experza Pro CX) of Great Britain.

Alvarado, winner of the Koksijde World Cup, quickly went on the attack and got a gap on the leaders at the end of the 3-minute prologue. The slopes of Namur are known to be unkind, and Alvarado soon crashed on the first tight, twisty descent. Worst and the other chasers bridged up.

One of those chasers was Lucinda Brand, who started off the front row but quickly moved up. After the sand-on-stairs descent, the leaders were now Worst, Alvarado, Brand and Kay. Chasing them were a big group that included Maghalie Rochette (Specialized x Feedback Sports), Inge van der Heijden (CCC – Liv), Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight), Sanne Cant (IKO – Beobank), Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing CX) and Kastelijn.

After Alvarado’s early aggression, it was Worst’s turn to go on the attack at the end of the very eventful Lap 1. She pushed it up the steep run-up and earned a 4-second lead after the 1st of 5 laps. Alvarado and Brand chased, while Kay fell off the pace.

Annemarie Worst pushed the pace early on. 2019 World Cup Namur. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

The slopes of Namur are known to be unkind, and at the start of Lap 2, Worst crashed on the first tight, twisty descent. Brand and Alvarado passed her, and as they rode away from the feature, Worst fell back, seemingly shaken from her earthbound encounter.

At the end of the 2nd lap, Brand and Alvarado had a 13-second lead over Worst. Behind the lead trio, Richards moved up into 4th, and a group of Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team), Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX), Kay and Compton sat a minute off the lead.

Thus far in the action-packed race, the story had been one of riders attacking but then having those attacks ended when they come to harm. At the start of Lap 3, Brand tempted fate with an attack of her own.

The powerful road rider rode like a mountain bike-ster down the first descent, putting pressure on Alvarado. This time, fate did not win out, as Alvarado mishandled the bottom of the sand-on-stairs descent and had to dismount at the bottom.

A dismount there likely would have been no-harm, no-foul, but with the exit a deceptively steep cobbled climb, Alvarado had to run a long way before remounting her bike. Meanwhile, the powerful Brand took full advantage of a section where she was strong throughout the afternoon.

Brand put pressure on Alvarado midway through the race. 2019 World Cup Namur. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

At the end of that 3rd lap, Brand’s lead was up to 8 seconds. There were, however, still two 2 to go, and if the first 60% of the race were prologue, anything could happen in those last 2 trips around the challenging circuit.

Lap 4 quickly became Brand time. The Telenet Baloise Lion roared through the challenging circuit and turned in her fastest lap by 11 seconds. Her tear through the penultimate lap extended her lead to 27 seconds.

Meanwhile, the chase for fourth got really spicy. After Richards took over fourth position, Honsinger continued her forward charge and by the time she got the bell, she was up to fourth place with Richards and Nash nearby.

Through four laps, Brand had ridden darn near perfect. However, she did put in a massive fourth lap, and at the start of Lap 5, it appeared to catch up with her.

What do they say? Ah yes, the slopes of Namur are known to be unkind.

Brand crashed on the tight, twisty descent and gave back a few seconds of her lead. She then compounded her issues by mishandling the bottom of the sand-on-stairs descent at the same place Alvarado did. Brand too had to run a good chunk of the cobbled climb.

As Alvarado cleanly hit the bottom of the sand section, she could see Brand up in front of her. There was a chance the renewed sense of energy that comes from bringing the leader into sight could make the conclusion of the Elite Women’s race very interesting.

Brand works to keep her balance in the off-camber section. 2019 World Cup Namur. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Brand, however, was having none of that. Earlier in the race, she got her decisive gap on that cobbled climb, and in the bell lap, the steep cobbled climb helped her recover and push the gap back out at a critical moment in the race.

“With some aggression, I was able to push the gap on the uphill,” she said after the race.

Brand’s last push gave her a “comfortable” margin, and she held her lead to win back-to-back at Namur for the first time since Compton did it in 2012 and 2013.

It was that kind of day at Namur on Sunday. 2019 World Cup Namur. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Alvarado finished a strong second, and Worst held on for third.

Richards passed Honsinger in the last lap to take fourth. Nash took fifth and Honsinger sixth. Compton outsprinted Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) for 7th. Marianne Vos (CCC – Liv) was a non-factor at the pointy end of the race, but she finished the race in 9th. Rochette rounded out the top 10.

Elite Women Results: 2019 World Cup Namur

Rank BIB Last Name First Name Country Result
1 13 BRAND Lucinda NED 0:45:05
2 15 ALVARADO Ceylin del Carmen NED 0:45:21
3 14 WORST Annemarie NED 0:46:26
4 35 RICHARDS Evie GBR 0:46:39
5 42 NASH Katerina CZE 0:46:50
6 26 HONSINGER Clara USA 0:46:53
7 24 COMPTON Katherine USA 0:47:51
8 27 FAHRINGER Rebecca USA 0:47:54
9 16 VOS Marianne NED 0:48:05
10 89 ROCHETTE Maghalie CAN 0:48:12
11 73 NORBERT RIBEROLLE Marion FRA 0:48:18
12 19 BAKKER Manon NED 0:48:20
13 51 LECHNER Eva ITA 0:48:32
14 17 VAN DER HEIJDEN Inge NED 0:48:34
15 1 CANT Sanne BEL 0:48:35
16 12 KASTELIJN Yara NED 0:48:51
17 71 MANI Caroline FRA 0:48:58
18 20 VAN ANROOIJ Shirin NED 0:49:02
19 81 MAJERUS Christine LUX 0:49:12
20 52 ARZUFFI Alice Maria ITA 0:49:41
21 53 BARONI Francesca ITA 0:49:56
22 23 PIETERSE Puck NED 0:49:58
23 4 VAN LOY Ellen BEL 0:50:10
24 74 CLAUZEL Perrine FRA 0:50:10
25 37 HARNDEN Harriet GBR 0:50:30
26 45 GONZALEZ BLANCO Lucia ESP 0:50:32
27 6 FRANCK Alicia BEL 0:50:52
28 72 PETIT Marlène FRA 0:50:55
29 94 HEIGL Nadja AUT 0:51:00
30 34 KAY Anna GBR 0:51:02
31 84 BRANDAU Elisabeth GER 0:51:05
32 76 ONESTI Olivia FRA 0:51:22
33 22 HOEKE Geerte NED 0:51:30
34 90 WEST Ruby CAN 0:51:35
35 5 VANDERBEKEN Joyce BEL 0:51:45
36 55 CASASOLA Sara ITA 0:51:49
37 97 RUNNELS Samantha USA 0:51:52
38 80 STRAPPAZZON Marine FRA 0:51:53
39 2 SELS Loes BEL 0:52:01
40 75 FOUQUENET Amandine FRA 0:52:16
41 41 NELSON Josie GBR 0:52:28
42 31 MUNRO Madigan USA 0:52:37
43 32 GUNSALUS Lizzy USA 0:52:52
44 61 BARHOUMI Zina SUI 0:52:52
45 38 JAMES Ffion GBR 0:53:05
46 57 REALINI Gaia ITA 0:53:05
47 95 MÕTTUS Mari-Liis EST 0:53:14
48 62 RÜEGG Noemi SUI 0:53:23
49 18 KAPTHEIJNS Maud NED 0:53:31
50 30 NUSS Raylyn USA LAP
51 85 PAUL Stefanie GER LAP
52 63 KRÄHEMANN Lara SUI LAP
53 77 CURINIER Léa FRA LAP
54 66 ZÜGER Tina SUI LAP
55 33 ZOERNER Lauren USA LAP
56 36 CRUMPTON Bethany GBR LAP
57 40 FLYNN Anna GBR LAP
58 7 TRUYEN Marthe BEL LAP
59 83 SCHREIBER Marie LUX LAP
60 58 BORGHESI Letizia ITA LAP
61 64 GÖLDI Nicole SUI LAP
62 48 TRABAZO BRAGADO Irene ESP LAP
63 8 CRABBÉ Kiona BEL LAP
64 60 BORGHESI Giada ITA LAP
65 47 DIAZ LOPEZ Paula ESP LAP
66 87 KRAHL Judith GER LAP
67 86 KÜDERLE Nina GER LAP
68 68 ROUILLER Mélissa SUI LAP
69 67 COTTIER Lucie SUI LAP
70 50 CUETO VEGA Sara ESP LAP
71 88 STEFFENHAGEN Diana GER LAP
72 39 THACKRAY Sophie GBR LAP
73 92 KELLY Siobhan CAN LAP
74 70 SCHÄTTI Michelle SUI LAP
75 69 KIPFMÜLLER Fabienne SUI LAP
76 59 ZANGA Marta ITA LAP
77 9 VERVLOET Sterre BEL LAP
78 49 PARAJON FUENTES Maria ESP LAP
79 93 STECIUK Claire CAN LAP
80 91 LAWSON Kelly CAN LAP
81 82 MAUS Laetitia LUX LAP
82 10 SCHEVENELS Lies´L BEL LAP
DNF 3 VERDONSCHOT Laura BEL
DNF 29 CLOUSE Katie USA
DNF 25 KEOUGH Kaitlin USA