Puck Pieterse wins final Cyclocross World Cup race of the year in Besançon


Puck PIeterse outlines her top form ahead of the World Championships in Hoogerheide next weekend. Despite an earlier mechanical, PIeterse was able to ride away solo in Besançon. The likes of Fem van Empel and Shirin van Anrooij chose to stay local and race in Hamme yesterday, which left a clear run for Pieterse to win.

Marie Schreiber got off to her now traditional fast start with Pieterse, Annemarie Worst, Blanka Vas and Zoe Backstedt behind her initially. But Pieterse had to drop back the positions after dropping her chain on a short steep bump. Forced to dismount and struggle to get her chain back on, Pieterse dropped back to around 17th in the race. however, her class showed as she was able to return to the front of the race by the end of the first lap.

Once able to pull away at the front, the chase was left to the pair of 777 riders Annemarie Worst and Inge van der Heijden. They naturally worked well together but couldn’t make any serious headway into the gap to the front. Their battle was almost behind them. The gap to Backstedt held by around 10 seconds and a larger group was behind the British national champion as well. The positions held until the end with Pieterse able to win her 4th World Cup victory of the 2022/23 season. Worst finished ahead of Van der Heijden, with Backstedt, Vas, Schreiber and Bakker not far behind.

“I felt good today, My chain got stuck in the first lap, which was a setback. But I felt I was strong and could come back easily. After that I decided to continue solo. The chase took a lot of energy. Maybe I wanted to come back too soon, but then I noticed that I could take it a bit easier and recover for a while.

[Fem and I] have to show each other what we are worth. It’s going to be a quiet week for me now. I’m going home right away today and I’ll keep training for the rest of the week. Maybe I’ll schedule another cross-training. But mostly I’m going to rest. It’s a World Cup. I’ve been training hard for that lately, so that’s different from normal.”

Puck PIeterse

“I had a really good feeling from start to finish. That’s why I can be happy with this. I want to ride strong there and maybe I can go for the podium. It’s been a tough season so far, mentally and physically. I was out for seven weeks… You really want to [participate for gold], but you are not going to close that gap on those girls just like that.”

Annemarie Worst

“It’s my first World Cup podium in the elites and I’m really happy to do that in this last moto. We worked well together and had to fight for second place. I am especially happy to be on the podium with Annemarie. I was unable to train much. But I’ve been working hard the last few weeks and I’m looking forward to next week. That illness is in the past, but it made it an exciting period. I had also made Besançon a goal and I am especially very happy that I have not suffered much from that illness.”

Inge van der Heijden

Besançon Cyclocross World Cup 2023 Results

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