Shirin van Anrooij to make cyclocross return at Flamanville, but no Van Empel/Pieterse

Shirin van Anrooij Baloise Trek Lions 2023

Shirin van Anrooij is set to make a much-anticipated return to cyclocross, joining the fray at the World Cup in Flamanville after a hiatus for a holiday and a solid training period. This season, the 21-year-old Baloise Trek Lions rider has only competed in Beringen, where she finished third, and in Waterloo, where she did not finish. Alongside her, Gerben de Knegt will also have Lucinda Brand and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado on his team for Sunday’s event in France. Notably, Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse will be absent from the Flamanville World Cup, as they were in Dublin, opting to focus on the remainder of the winter season and other cycling disciplines for the upcoming year.

De Knegt, the national coach, in a statement released by the KNWU, expressed confidence in the team’s versatility and ability to secure victories even without top riders like Van Empel and Pieterse. For the men’s event in Flamanville, Lars van der Haar, Joris Nieuwenhuis, and Pim Ronhaar from Baloise Trek Lions, and Ryan Kamp from Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal, will be representing the Netherlands. De Knegt also highlighted the inclusion of Luke Verburg and Femke Gort in the selection, noting their potential to gain additional cross-rhythm and score points for a better starting position.

The Dutch team for the Flamanville World Cup is packed with talent, including elite men like Lars van der Haar, Joris Nieuwenhuis, Pim Ronhaar, Ryan Kamp, Corné van Kessel, Stan Godrie, Mees Hendrikx, and Luke Verburg. The elite women’s team features Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Lucinda Brand, Inge van der Heijden, Annemarie Worst, Manon Bakker, Shirin van Anrooij, Denise Betsema, Aniek van Alphen, Leonie Bentveld, Lauren Molengraaf, and Femke Gort.

Pim Ronhaar
Pim Ronhaar

De Knegt expressed his hope for continued success for the Dutch cyclo-cross riders in Flamanville, following impressive performances in Dublin, particularly by Pim Ronhaar and Lucinda Brand. He looks forward to the riders maintaining their strong momentum in the World Cup standings. Shirin van Anrooij’s return to competition is eagerly anticipated, with her participation scheduled a day earlier at the Superprestige Boom. Van Anrooij, after a busy road season, took a deliberate break but is now ready to rejoin the cyclocross starting grid.

De Knegt explained the absences of Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse, noting their decision to skip the Flamanville World Cup as a strategic move to prepare for the rest of the winter and excel in other cycling disciplines next year. This decision is viewed as logical by the national coach, who emphasises the team’s ability to win with a diverse roster of riders.

Main photo credit: David Pintens

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