Dutch rider Shirin van Anrooij won the first World Cup race of her cyclocross career on Sunday. She launched a perfectly timed attack and led an error-free final lap to hold off her young rivals Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse. The first time the cyclocross world cup has visited Beekse Bergen, the course is based at the grounds of a local safari park, albeit without sight of any exotic animals. The course has been used previously for the Dutch national championships.
Lucinda Brand was back in action, with fingers taped up to help take some pressure off of her still-recovering hand injury. We also had world champion Marianne Vos racing in her rainbow bands. The early riding saw Puck Pieterse making a solo move, with Fem van Empel giving chase along with Pieterse’s teammate Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado. Denise Betsema had bike issues and was effectively out of the running. The trio became a pair once Alvarado lost balance on a corner and was taken back to the next group of Vas and Vos. With Alvarado out of the front running, Shirin van Anrooij hunted down the lead pair on her own, eventually closing the lead duo on the penultimate lap.
At the key moment, both Van Empel and Pieterse looked at each other for too long whilst going over the start/finish straight and it came down to just 1 second at the line. The sand section proved pivotal with the chasers not riding it quite as clean as Van Anrooij managed in front of them. For Fem van Empel, it was a first defeat in the World Cup this season after 4 straight wins across Waterloo, Fayetteville, Tabor and Maasmechelen. She came close to making it 5 from 5 but ultimately had left herself too much to do when Van Anrooij attacked.
Post-race, Van Anrooij said how her team manager Sven Nys told her to attack when there was a slowing in the pace and that inspired her early attack. Also important was the need to be in front by the barriers as both Van Empel and Pieterse were jumping them with ease. For Pieterse, it’s another near miss as she chases her first World Cup victory. It feels like it will inevitably come and just a matter of time.
“Puck and I looked at each other a little too much. The moment we doubt, Shirin comes with a lot of speed. You can still catch that, but we didn’t and so we had to ride a final the entire lap. If my sand passage had been a little better, we would have been back at the wheel. Then the course starts from zero again, but my sand passage was not good. Then you know it’s going to be difficult, although I was surprised how close we came.”Fem van Empel
“I decided to wait a bit more during the cross, to see what that was like. At a certain point, I did make a small attack, to see who could still join. After that I quickly got back on the wheel. That may not have been the best tactic, but I’m glad I finished on the podium again.”Puck Pieterse
“You really had to stay focused all the time and steer very precisely so as not to make mistakes. The feeling was good. The start wasn’t quite right, but I was able to move up pretty quickly. I soon saw the first riders ride away, behind them it was hard to stay in a group.
It was always full. There was a wonderful atmosphere and the entourage was also beautiful. We also had a lot of fun with the weather. It is certainly a nice addition. You have all kinds of different crosses and in terms of balance on the calendar this is a nice addition.”Marianne Vos
Cyclocross World Cup Beekse Bergen 2022 Results
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