The first world cup of the season saw a brutal race finish between Fem van Empel, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Lucinda Brand. The trio gave it absolutely everything, sprinting for almost half a lap at the end in order to be in the best position for technical sections and the final corner. It was Lucinda Brand who surprisingly cracked first, with Alvarado able to close back onto the wheel of Van Empel. In the sprint, it was Alvarado who was empty first as Fem van Empel took her 3rd win and 1st Cyclocross World Cup win of the year.
“You never get used to winning, the World Cup is highly regarded and the best always compete. It’s nice to win the first one. It didn’t come naturally. I had to fight hard for it, but that’s just beautiful.
The plan was to go in the last half lap. I was well placed and passed Lucinda, but she came over. It was a matter of keeping a cool head towards the finish. I didn’t know at the time that Ceylin was coming so close, but it worked.
Ceylin should never be written off. She’s had a few less good races, but that doesn’t mean she can’t ride a bike all of a sudden. I had taken her into account.”Fem van Empel
“It was a very good race, like in my old days. I rested well and hopefully put all the misery behind me. I feel good again.
We are working on building up to top form later this season, in the first races it was not to my liking, but today was another confirmation that we are going in the right direction. The lap was tough, but not selective enough. Still, I was able to hurt the rest.
This gives a good feeling and confirmation. You don’t know where you stand at the start of the season. In the first races I didn’t get a podium, but now I have. The World Cup is kind of what I focus on, it’s the highest of all classifications,”Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado
“It sometimes got better. I was a bit behind the times. This was not quite my thing. I couldn’t quite get my head around here. In itself I could come back and I fought a good duel in the last lap, only I couldn’t pull it my way.
But my season is not over yet, so who knows…the course is very difficult here. It’s not extremely heavy, but it’s relatively good tracking. Then it’s all about the little things. If it’s dry in Fayetteville, that’s a fast lap too. Then it doesn’t get much easier.”Lucinda Brand
Next week sees the Cyclocross World Cup stay in America, this time in Fayetteville, home of the World Championships at the start of 2022. Van Vempel was 3rd in the U23 race there whereas Brand finished 2nd to Marianne Vos on a quick course.