Lucinda Brand on top again in the World Cup at Flamanville

Lucinda Brand secured her second victory of the cyclo-cross season at the World Cup in Flamanville, showcasing her dominance by breaking away in the second round and maintaining her lead to the finish. Marie Schreiber finished second, with Leonie Bentveld claiming a surprising third-place finish. The absence of leading riders like Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse created an opportunity for others to shine in the competitive field.

Brand, who skipped the race in Boom on Saturday, quickly made up for a less-than-ideal start. She overcame initial challenges, including a pedal slip and numerous small errors, by leveraging her strength on power stretches. Despite feeling not as sharp as the previous week in Dublin, Brand managed to create and maintain a significant gap, reflecting her exceptional form. In the final round, she nearly encountered trouble on a tricky descent but managed to avoid any major mishaps.

Marie Schreiber, known for her strong starts, led initially but had to ease off later, feeling the pressure from Denise Betsema and Leonie Bentveld. Schreiber, who has improved her ability to sustain early leads, shared her strategy of pacing herself better to conserve energy for the final part of the race.

Leonie Bentveld, riding for Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal, achieved her first elite women’s podium finish in a ranking cross, expressing surprise and delight at her performance. She recalled her previous success at Flamanville in the junior category, which gave her confidence for this race. Bentveld’s focus on the U23 World Cup leader’s jersey influenced her cautious approach in the final laps.

Brand, reflecting on her win, acknowledged the need for patience after her rough start and was pleased with her ability to progress through the race. Her victory significantly narrows the gap to Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado in the World Cup standings.

The race in Flamanville, marked by the absence of some top riders, provided an opportunity for others to showcase their talents and adapt their strategies to the challenging course, culminating in a day of exciting cyclo-cross action.

2023 Flamanville Women result

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Main photo credit: Cor Vos