One week after the world cyclocross championships, racing continued this weekend with the final event of the Superprestige series in Middelkerke on Saturday and the second-to-last round of the X2O Trofee in Lille on Sunday.
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The heavy rain turned the usually sandy Middelkerke course into a mud fest in the final event of the Superprestige on Saturday.
Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) won by a wide margin, crossing the finish line 1:15 ahead of second place Laura Verdonschot. Ceylin Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) rounded out the podium in third place.
Brand took control straight from the start, and a small mistake by Alvarado was enough for the Dutch rider to get a gap. After the first lap, Brand had 25 seconds on Alvarado and Annemarie Worst. On the second lap, Alvarado dropped Worst while Verdonschot was steadily moving forward through riders.
With two laps to go, Brand was on her way to victory with Verdonschot in second place. Fire is inimitable. With two laps to go, she has almost doubled her lead over Verdonschot, who is currently in second place and Alvarado in third. Worst finished in fifth place.
Alvarado won the final classification of the Telenet Superprestige for the third time in her career.
Eli Iserbyt claimed the 49th cyclocross victory of his career ahead of his Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammate Michael Vanthourenhout who was second. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions) finished third.
Nieuwenhuis accelerated off the front in the first lap and established a small gap to chasers which included Iserbyt, Niels Vandeputte, and Jens Adams. Halfway through the race, the Dutch champion only had 25 seconds on the chasers while Vanthourenhout was moving up with Lars van der Haar on his wheel.
The Belgian champion made his move on the sixth lap, catching and passing riders until he connected and dropped Nieuwenhuis one lap later. European champion Vanthourenhout passed Nieuwenhuis to take second place.
It was the fourth Superprestige victory for Iserbyt, and he also won the classification of the Telenet Superprestige for the second time.
Fem van Empel and Niels Vandeputte win X2O Trofee Lille
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Fem van Empel (Visma-Lease a Bike) made it 19 wins for the season at the X2O Trofee Lille – Krawatencross on Sunday. The world champion soloed to victory in her final cyclocross race of the season, ahead of Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) who finished second. Laura Verdonschot rounded off the podium.
Van Empel set a high pace early, with only Brand able to briefly hold her wheel. After only one and a half laps, Van Empel took off solo and Brand then had to concentrate on the second podium spot.
Verdonschot fought her way to the third spot after a poor start and was initially joined by Annemarie Worst and Leonie Bentveld, but Verdonschot’s pace proved to be too high. The Deceuster-Bonache rider gradually closed the gap to Brand, but was unable to connect.
With her seventh X2O Trofee victory, Van Empel secured the overall title in the series even though she will miss the eighth and final round in Brussels.
In the men’s race, Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Decueninck) claimed the first UCI C1 cyclocross victory of his career ahead of Joris Nieuwenhuis and Joran Wyseure. X2O Trofee leader Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) finished fourth, and retains the series lead.
Van der Haar had started well and formed the leading group together with five other riders until gradually, cracks started to appear in the front group under pressure by the work of Nieuwenhuis and Wyseure. Only Vandeputte could follow the duo, Van der Haar was forced to chase.
Halfway through the race, Nieuwenhuis crashed leaving Wyseure and Vandeputte at the front. Nieuwenhuis briefly joined Van der Haar in the chase group before once again catching the two riders in the front. The trio was together as they entered the bell lap. Vandeputte put in a strong attack and was able to hold it to the finish line.