Cyclocross World Cup: Shirin van Anrooij pips Fem van Empel

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It looked like there was no stopping Fem van Empel in the Cyclocross World Cup, but Shirin van Anrooij didn’t get the memo.

Van Anrooij made it through the final stretch of sand, and Van Empel didn’t close things off as easily as she did earlier on Sunday’s World Cup stage in Beekse Bergen.

Van Anrooij, the best young rider in the Tour de France Women, reached the final sector of the road with just enough to fend off Van Empel and claim her first career World Cup victory. Puck Pieterse finished third.

“I made no mistakes and ran full throttle on the last lap,” said Van Anrooij. “I’ve never won a big race in cyclocross before, so winning a World Cup is amazing. I dreamed of getting on the podium this season, and now I’m winning. It’s something very important for me to win. in confidence. It’s a big boost for the next few weeks.

Van Anrooij attacked on the bell lap as the race was still tight at Beekse Bergen, and was determined to make things tough.

Van Empel and Puck Pieterse followed a few seconds back, with Marianne Vos and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado chasing a handful of seconds back. It was a Dutch duel in the top 5 before the final pangs of the race.

Van Empel started the fifth World Cup on Sunday with a big lead in the standings and had the chance to match Katie Compton and Daphny van den Brand as the only riders to win five consecutive World Cups.

Van Empel, who has won eight of his first nine races so far this season, was on everyone’s radar.

Van Anrooij showed patience and opened a five-second gap halfway through with his winning attack on the final lap, and it was all about who could carry the power through the series of technical corners and twists. obstacles in the final.

β€œIt would have been nice to win again, my reaction was a bit too late. I was hoping for the sprint, and we came very close at the end,” Van Empel said. β€œShirin was very fast in the last lap, I’m happy with second place.”

Van Empel may not have won, but she easily maintained her World Cup lead.

Perfectly synchronize the attack

Shirin van Anrooij won her first World Cup on Sunday. (Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Sunday’s race at Beekse Bergen was the first time the World Cup was contested on the Dutch course. A similar layout was used for the 2013 Dutch National Championships, but with a mix of grass, tight turns, sand and grip sections, as well as artificial obstacles, the course featured a tightly coiled bottom for the fifth round of the 2022. -23 World Cup.

As expected for the Netherlands, there was almost no significant elevation. Under cool temperatures, sunny skies and little wind, the technical, fast and mostly dry course provided a course test and the opportunity for short accelerations.

Midway through the six-lap race, Van Empel and Puck Pieterse and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado of Alpecin-Deceuninck pulled a small gap to the pursuers.

Rising star Pieterse pushed hard to open the gap, with Carmen Alvarado scoring the wheel for Van Empel. There was a group of six still within 10 seconds of each other with two laps to go.

The recently crowned European Under-23 champion continued to push into the lead on lap 4, with Van Empel holding back slightly. Carmen Alvarado ran through her front wheel while racing into a tight right-hander and lost a few positions, leaving Van Empel alone to chase Pieterse. Clara Honsinger was in the top 15 at around a minute and a half.

Van Empel closed the gap to Pieterse to enter the final two laps, with Van Anrooij, the best young rider in the Tour de France Women, finishing third, and Marianne Vos and Carmen Alvarado chasing fourth and fifth at 15 seconds.

Van Anrooij saved her fastest lap for her final lap and cleared away on the bell to carry her narrow gap to the finish line for a blowout victory.

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