Dutch cyclo-cross stars Denise Betsema and Lucinda Brand will miss the start of the cyclo-cross season due to injuries sustained from falls. Their absence will be keenly felt as the season kicks off this Sunday with the Exact Cross in Beringen. Notably, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel will also be absent; Van Aert is competing in the World Gravel Championships, while Van der Poel is enjoying a well-deserved break.
Betsema suffered her injuries during a training session two months ago in her hometown of Texel. She revealed the extent of her injuries in a press release: “It was a nasty crash,” she stated. “Fortunately, there were no fractures, but I did have bruises and open wounds that needed stitches. The swelling in my leg was so severe that I had to cancel three weeks of training.” However, she remains optimistic about her recovery, noting that the late start to the season has allowed her some additional recuperation time. “I still feel some pain after training, but I hope to return to competition at full strength,” she added. Betsema has also withdrawn from the opening round of the World Cup in Waterloo, USA.
Brand, on the other hand, fell during the Simac Ladies Tour three weeks ago, injuring the ligaments around her collarbone. She has since undergone surgery. However, the timeline for her return to the cyclo-cross field remains unclear. Brand stated: “The focus is now on complete recovery and getting back into shape.”
This news comes as a setback for fans and fellow competitors alike. Both Betsema and Brand are regarded as formidable contenders in the cyclo-cross world, and their absence will undoubtedly affect the dynamics of the upcoming races. While the late start to the season offers some respite, the uncertainty surrounding their return dates leaves questions unanswered.