Lucinda Brand takes World Cup win in Namur

Lucinda Brand is 2-for-2 in World Cup wins, with three races remaining

Lucinda Brand once again thrived on a hilly course, winning Sunday’s World Cup event in Namur by 29 seconds over American Clara Honsinger. Brand has now won both of UCI’s cyclocross World Cup events this season to take a healthy lead in the standings — 28 points ahead of Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado — with three races left in the series.

Brand’s victory was perhaps her most dominant in a long string of impressive results. Fellow Dutch rider Denise Betsema, who finished third, once again went solo early, just as she had the weekend before when she beat Brand by five seconds in Antwerpen. But Sunday’s attack never threatened Brand, who caught Betsema on Lap 2, then distanced her on Lap 3 after Betsema hit a barrier while trying to manage a tricky transition at the bottom of a descent.

Brand would maintain a roughly 30-second gap the rest of the race, while a chase group of Betsema, Honsinger and Alvarado jostled with one another. Honsinger powered away from both riders on the final lap to score a career result.

Lucinda Brand putting the World Cup leader's jersey to work.

“It’s very special to win for the third time in Namur,” Brand said. “Totally different conditions from last year, but still a very hard course. What can I say, of course it’s also really nice that I can extend the lead in the World Cup rankings, so I can wear the nice white jersey also next weekend.”

Brand has now won six of her last seven races, and sits atop the standings in the World Cup, Superprestige and X2O Badkamers Trofee series heading into a big week for cyclocross. Brand is expected to start three races in the next six days:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 23 for a X2O Trofee event in Herentals
  • Saturday, Dec. 26 for a Superprestige event in Heusden-Zolder
  • Sunday, Dec. 27 for a World Cup event in Dendermonde

‘Tis the season for mud, and Lucinda Brand is having a merry time.

Is anyone having more fun than Lucinda Brand right now?

TFR CX puts on a show

Trek Factory Racing’s cyclocross season has only just begun, but the squad’s young riders are already on an upward trajectory.

Evie Richards and Maddie Munro finished sixth and 19th in Namur, respectively, which was a healthy bump from the results of their season debuts. Richards was 18th in Antwerpen and 14th in Gavere last weekend, while Munro was 31st and 26th.

Hattie Harnden started her CX season on Sunday and finished 44 seconds behind Munro for 20th place. Among riders Age 20 or younger, Munro and Harnden placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

The results were especially encouraging for a group that is still riding its way into fitness. The gap between Richards and fourth-place Alvarado, the reigning World Champion, was just 24 seconds — five seconds smaller than the 29-second gap that separated Richards from seventh-place Anna Kay.

The end-of-year gauntlet will be a major test for all three TFR CX riders. It’ll be fascinating to see what they accomplish as they continue to find their legs.