Lucinda Brand will make her return to the sport at the UCI World Cup series in Dendermonde, following a recovery from a notable shoulder injury. The injury, sustained during a crash at the Simac Ladies Tour, necessitated surgery and an extended period of rehabilitation. The Baloise Trek Lions cyclocross specialist and Lidl-Trek road racer had to consequently set aside her ambitions temporarily, including trying to reclaim the European title she last won in 2021.
Brand’s injury this year mirrored misfortune from the previous season, where she contended with a broken hand bone that saw her miss the European Championships. Nonetheless, her comeback has been timed to allow for preparation towards the Cyclocross World Championships scheduled for February. The athlete has previously triumphed at this event in 2021 and has continuously featured on the podium.
During a recent episode of the Dirty Talks podcast, Brand shared her thrill to rejoin the cyclocross fray and expressed how the impressive performances of her male teammates (Thibau Nys and Lars van der Haar in particular) served as inspiration during her recovery. Despite her enthusiasm, she admitted to feeling apprehensive about gauging her form post-recovery.
The 34-year-old has had a commendable season on the road prior to her injury, securing both a time trial victory and the overall win at the Baloise Ladies Tour, and proving to be a stalwart support to her team. She revealed that being side-lined was particularly challenging as she was eager to recapture the form that landed her the cyclocross World Championships and European title, along with the World Cup series two seasons ago.
Brand’s rehabilitation journey began with physiotherapy a month post-surgery, gradually progressing from indoor cycling to outdoor training. Her team has announced her return to competitive racing at the World Cup in Dendermonde, Belgium, where she aims to regain her top racing form. On the podcast, Brand shared her positive progress, citing that she had regained 95% of her shoulder’s functionality, with the remaining hurdle being a slight deficit in power.