Brand making a mark in Germany

Lucinda claims the win in Stage 3 of the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour and sits in second place overall

It’s safe to say that Lucinda Brand has found her road legs.  The cyclocross World Champion dominated the cyclocross season, and now, after an easing into the road season with Trek-Segafredo, she is strutting her stuff on the asphalt.

Brand claimed second in Stage 1 and topped that Thursday with a victory in Stage 3.

“The beginning of the stage was very boring and easy. A break got like 9-10 minutes, and finally the yellow jersey team took a little bit of responsibility about halfway through the course. There’s was a long climb and about halfway up that we took the lead to increase the pace and to try and isolate the yellow jersey of Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) without teammates,” explained Brand.

“It worked pretty well, we had a smaller group, and it became a tough race.  We also tried other attacks, they didn’t get away, but it kept it hard. Then we came to a climb about 15kms before the finish, and I attacked there as we had planned.”

Taking the race in hand, Trek-Segafredo upped the pace until Brand launched a succession of attacks that only Liane Lippert of Team DSM could follow.

“First we were with four, and Audrey (Cordon-Ragot) was still there, which was good, and then I attacked again, and I ended up with Liane Lippert. We tried to work together as much as possible to get a good gap because behind they were still chasing. We had a max of 30 seconds, so it was not easy, and for the last 3k, it was going up again.”

With her yellow jersey threatened, Emma Norsgaard led the charge from behind.  But Brand dug deep and had enough to hold off Norsgaard by two seconds.  Norsgaard retained her lead in the six- day race, but Brand inched a little closer, moving into second at six seconds.

“Just before the last kilometer, I attacked Liane because the group was so close behind, and I couldn’t wait longer,” continued Brand. “I just had to get through the pain and keep on fighting. It was really tough and close, but I am really happy that I could finish off the work of the team.

“Not the yellow jersey yet, but we still have some days to try and get that one – and we are going to fight for that!” she added.

Lizzie Deignan finished in 9th and Audrey Cordon-Ragot in 11th  to pad Trek-Segafredo’s lead in the Teams Classification to 1 minute and 10 seconds over Team SD Worx.