Puck Pieterse takes Dutch national championship, Backstedt British champion

Zoe Backstedt National CX Championships 2023

Puck Pieterse has taken her first Elites Dutch national championship in cyclocross at Zaltbommel. On a tough course next to the Waal, the heavy rain saw the river levels engulf the course in places and make most of the rest a mud fest. The early running saw Fem van Empel take the initial lead but she was reeled in by Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Puck PIeterse. Van Empel appeared to be one-pacing the race so Pieterse attacked her rivals and went clear. Alvarado sat in and made Van Empel do the work to close the gap but it never reduced.

Pieterse was clear enough by the final lap that beyond a mechanical or major error, the race looked done. That gave Alvarado space to attack Van Empel and strike out for the silver medal. The former national championship winner Alvarado managed to hold off the Jumbo VIsma rider by the finish. The Alpecin-Deceuninck riders took a 1-2 finish ahead of Van Empel in 3rd and Denise Betsema a long way back in 4th place.

“A second place is not bad in itself, isn’t it. Puck has been awarded it. She is riding very well this season. We fought for it. I was close, but it wasn’t good enough. ride her off. It worked. Hopefully, I will take the form and the good feeling there. And that I am certainly not written off,”

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado

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Netherlands U23 Cyclocross National Championships 2023

With most of the talented U23 riders taking part in the Elites and Shirin van Anrooij avoiding deciding which level to race at before the World Championships, that opened up the U23 race for a new champion. Leonie Bentveld of Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal stepped up to take the win. Only 18-years-old, she had a clear gap of 3 minutes 46 seconds over Iris Offerein in 2nd and just over 4 minutes to Larissa Hartog in 3rd. Bentveld looks like the next young Dutch CX star, she already finished 2nd at the Juniors World Champs in Fayetteville at the start of 2022 and also at 2022 the European Championships at the VAMberg. Both races she finished behind Zoe Backstedt.

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British National Cyclocross Championships 2023

Zoe Backstedt led a dominant performance in the British National Championships. She had a gap of over a minute after just one lap and from there she simply pushed on and held the gap. The muddiness of the course meant that plenty of the lap was spent running and even Zoe wasn’t able to avoid the odd slip. By the end of the race, the gap from 1st to 2nd placed Annie Last was 3 minutes 32 seconds. Ella Maclean-Howell was 3rd almost 6 minutes behind. Such was the completeness of the victory, only 5 riders technically finished as all of the other 25 riders were lapped and removed from the race.

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