Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado from Alpecin-Deceuninck showcased an impressive solo performance to clinch her sixth victory of the season at the World Cup in Namur. Dominating from the first lap, Alvarado maintained a significant lead over rivals Puck Pieterse and Lucinda Brand.
Namur’s eighth round in the World Cup season featured a challenging course beloved by cyclocross enthusiasts and riders alike, complete with steep climbs, mud sections, and cobblestones. Despite Lucinda Brand being a top favourite, especially after Fem van Empel’s withdrawal, she faced stiff competition from Pieterse and Alvarado, the World Cup leader.
Marie Schreiber initially led the race, quickly overtaken by Italy’s Sara Casasola. Pieterse and Brand encountered setbacks in the first lap – Pieterse with chain issues and a bike swap, and Brand with a costly slip. In contrast, Alvarado completed a flawless first lap, establishing a significant gap with her technical prowess, especially on the off-camber sections.
Starting the second lap, Alvarado had a 15-second lead, but Pieterse and Brand began their pursuit. Alvarado maintained her lead with precise riding, especially on the descent to the cobbled climb. The podium positions seemed determined with Alvarado leading, followed by Pieterse and Brand.
Alvarado’s lead grew to about 25 seconds, but Pieterse found a second wind, reducing Alvarado’s advantage to 18 seconds after three laps. However, Alvarado remained dominant, further extending her lead.
Brand tried to close the gap in the second half of the race but couldn’t make significant inroads. Alvarado, displaying exceptional form, continued to increase her lead. Entering the final lap, Alvarado had a half-minute lead over Brand, with Pieterse further behind.
Alvarado stayed error-free in the final lap, culminating in a commanding victory, her third World Cup win of the year. Pieterse secured second place after a tense finale, with Brand finishing third.
Alvarado overcame recent health struggles, which forced her to miss races in Boom and Flamanville, to deliver a powerful performance in one of the calendar’s toughest races. “I didn’t expect to be this good,” she said. Despite reaching her limit by the third lap, Alvarado remained technically flawless, contributing to her impressive win.
Alvarado continues to lead the World Cup standings, cautious yet determined to fight for the overall victory. Pieterse, still chasing her first win of the season, accepted her second place with fighting spirit. Despite initial confidence in victory, she acknowledged Alvarado’s undeniable strength.
Brand expressed dissatisfaction with her performance, particularly her start. She recognised Alvarado’s exceptional day but regretted letting Pieterse overtake her in the end, indicating a need for improvement at her experience level.
2024 World Cup Namur Women result
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