Fem van Empel dominated the Nacht van Woerden, a unique cyclocross event held under artificial lights, stretching her winning streak this season to four. The World Champion left no room for surprises, taking the lead from the outset and never relinquishing her grip on the race.
The 21-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider displayed a distinct approach to the evening’s challenges by opting for an additional, bright front light on her handlebars, a choice few of her competitors made. The race kicked off around 19:40, and although Luxembourg’s Marie Schreiber briefly took the reins, van Empel quickly regained control. It took less than half a lap for van Empel to embark on her solo mission, even without noticeably accelerating her pace.
Initially, van Empel was trailed by a group comprising Inge van der Heijden, Manon Bakker, Marie Schreiber, and Zoe Bäckstedt. However, the Crelan-Corendon duo of Bakker and van der Heijden were the main challengers—relatively speaking—as van Empel had already built a 30-second lead with two laps remaining. Toward the end of the race, Aniek van Alphen joined the chase, but by that time, van Empel was well out of reach.
While several key rivals were conspicuously absent, this paved the way for other talents to shine. The podium was eventually rounded out by Inge van der Heijden and Zoe Bäckstedt, but the night clearly belonged to an unstoppable van Empel who has now won 9 races in a row.
2023 Nacht van Worden Women result
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Main photo credit: Cor Vos