Lucinda Brand is poised to make her eagerly awaited return to the field this coming weekend. After wrestling with a ligament injury around her shoulder and collarbone, the 34-year-old Brand is declared fit and set to participate in the forthcoming World Cup in Dendermonde on Sunday.
Brand’s inclusion in the Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) team for the Dendermonde World Cup has sparked optimism from national coach Gerben De Knegt. He reported that Brand’s training last week left a solid impression, and he’s confident that she’s capable of performing at a high level in the upcoming event.
Her journey back to the competition has been fraught with challenges. It was during the penultimate stage of the Simac Ladies Tour on September 9th that Brand fell, resulting in a painful injury to her acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which is where the shoulder blade (Acromion) meets the collarbone. This necessitated surgical intervention two months ago at a hospital in Herentals, consequently delaying the start of her cyclocross season.
Despite her recent absence, Brand remains a marquee entrant in the World Cup selection for Dendermonde. However, the current world champion in cyclocross, Fem van Empel, will not be joining the fray. The 21-year-old Dutch cyclist, undefeated this season in cyclocross, has decided to take a respite of a little more than two weeks following her victory at the European Cyclocross Championships in Pontchâteau.
The World Cup roster will not lack star power, with the likes of Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Inge van der Heijden, Denise Betsema, Aniek van Alphen, and Annemarie Worst all confirmed to compete.
Moving to the men’s side of the sport, there are no surprises in the lineup. Much attention is centred on Lars van der Haar, the current leader in the World Cup standings, alongside his compatriots Pim Ronhaar, Joris Nieuwenhuis, and Ryan Kamp.
The selection list for the Netherlands has been publicised, detailing the athletes that will represent their nation in both the elite men’s and women’s categories at the World Cup in Dendermonde. The list includes prominent names such as Stan Godrie, Bailey Groenendaal, David Haverdings, Mees Hendrikx, Lucas Janssen, Corné van Kessel, and more for the men, and Aniek van Alphen, Ceylin Alvarado, Manon Bakker, Leonie Bentveld, Denise Betsema, among others, for the women.
As the cyclocross season continues, the cycling community awaits with great anticipation to see if Brand, after overcoming her injury, can reclaim her position as a dominant force in the sport, and how the dynamics of the competition will unfold with the current landscape of contenders in the World Cup in Dendermonde.