Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) completed a weekend double, winning the Troyes World Cup in France just 24 hours after dominating the Merksplas Superprestige race in Belgium on Saturday.
The Dutch woman had to chase Puck Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck) in the opening laps but overcame two falls to close the gap and then surge away to victory wearing the World Cup leader’s jersey.
Pieterse was back in action after taking a month’s break but was able to finish well, 21 seconds down on Alvarado.
Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions), Sara Casasola (FAS Airport Services-Guerciotti) and Marie Schreiber (Tormans) fought for the final place on the podium in the final laps, with Brand eventually opening a gap during the final lap.
“A lot of emotions came together. I kept fighting to be where I am now,” she said.
“Today I didn’t give up for a second, despite the mistakes. Puck and I were both empty when we crossed over the line. But hard work pays off. I saw that she was tired, so I never gave up.”
Pieterse return to cyclocross after finishing second in the Waterloo World Cup a month ago was always going to raise the competition in Troyes.
She got an excellent start and led soon after the riders took the sweeping right turn onto the dirt.
Alvarado was right behind her and the race soon lined out after a bottleneck into the off camber section, with the dry surface and compact course making for a fast 50 minutes of racing.
Pieterse managed to distance Alvarado as she lead through a deep rut on an off camber. Alvarado stumbled and lost a few metres and then stumbled again the steps, allowing Pieterse to open a 100 metre lead as they neared half distance of the five-lap race.
Pieterse also managed to bunny hop the barriers as Alvarado dismounted gaining extra bike lengths. The race perhaps seemed decided but suddenly Alvarado came roaring back up to the front and blew past Pieterse.
She never looked back, powered on with determination and was able to celebrate alone, 21 seconds ahead of Pieterse.
Brand had a poor start but fought her way back up to the chase group and battled with Casasola and Schreiber during the final laps. They were together as the bell rang out to signal the final lap but Brand then used her power and endurance to first distance Schreiber and the the emerging Italian. Brand finished third at 44 seconds, with Casasola at 49 seconds.
Inge van der Heijden (Crelan-Corendon) manager to catch and pass Schreiber to take fourth at 1:05.
19-year-old Zoe Backstedt finished eighth at 1:24, with Canada’s Maghalie Rochette 14th.
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