Fem van Empel’s amazing start to the 2022 cyclocross season continues after winning her second consecutive World Cup race in Fayetteville, USA. She won the previous World Cup event in Waterloo a week ago and doubled up with an impressive win against the former World Champion Lucinda Brand. Annemarie Worst has been racing in America for a long period this year and took the final step on the podium.
The early racing saw Hélène Clauzel take the lead but the fast, almost dry conditions meant that most of the peloton was still within reach. Denise Betsema took over for her traditional early race break for freedom. In the chase to get her back into the fold, only Brand, Van Empel, Worst, Van der Heijden and Clauzel were able to respond. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado was consistently plugging away just in sight behind to remain in contact.
These 7 riders were in the lead going into the 3rd lap where Brand attacked and only Van Empel could match with Betsema almost in contact too until her chain came off. The hilly section consistently saw the main two get a gap but over the rest of the lap, the chasing group were able to close up the gap again.
Fem van Empel got a big gap on the penultimate lap by bunny-hopping the barriers, whereas all her rivals had to dismount. Lucinda Brand had to put in a big effort to close it up going into the final lap. Brand took the lead and set the pace on the front, with her positioning and Betseman in 2nd wheel, Van Empel’s bunny hops on the final lap were less effective. In a counter move, Brand put down the power on the hill but Van Empel remained as calm as ever. Annemarie Worst was in contact still as well.
Heading into the sprint, Brand led it out and instantly Worst popped. Van Empel came from 3rd wheel to take the victory past Lucinda Brand.
“It’s great to come to the United States and win twice. My legs didn’t feel very good. I tried a few times on the bars, but after that, I mostly recovered on the descent. I was expecting Lucinda Brand’s attack, so I could only follow. The plan was perfect today.
I sometimes surprise myself, but I also worked very hard for this summer. Last year I went home disappointed after the World Cup, so that’s where I learned. I have now taken revenge. It just didn’t go well in Meulebeke. I don’t fully realise it yet, because it was so exciting at the end, but I’m going home with a good feeling.”Fem van Empel
Fayetteville World Cup 2022 Results
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