22-year-old Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado outsprinted her Dutch teammate Annemarie Worst to win an intense race in the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Dubendorf, Saturday. The world title came down to the wire after Worst and Alvarado had been part of a fierce three-way battle with teammate Lucinda Brand through the race.
Alvarado, who could have ridden in the U23 race but opted to race with the seniors, collapsed in tears against the barriers as the victory sunk in. Only the week before, she had lost the World Cup overall to Worst after making an error in the final minutes of the final round in Hoogerheide.
“Right now I feel very tired,” Alvarado said. “It’s an indescribable feeling… I can’t describe how incredible it feels to be World Champion.”
Brand finished third, having been distanced in the dying moments of the last lap.
The Dutch trio had gone clear on the second lap of five, and from there, took turns to throw attacks at each other, with Brand using her outright power to make moves on the long grassy straightaways, and Worst using her technical skills on the near-vertical climbs scattered through the course. Alvarado played it cool, attacking less but always being the first to react to the attacks.
“I think the other riders will feel a bit disappointed, it was a very tight and very close battle between the Dutch riders,” Alvarado said. “I’m very happy I could be the first.”
With half a lap to go, Brand, Worst and Alvarado were still as one, and the race could have gone to any of them. However, Brand, who had fought back from being distanced several times in the race, finally lost touch with her countrywomen before the final flyover. From there, Alvarado and Worst dropped into the final straight together to set up the sprint.
Worst moved first, allowing Alvarado to momentarily sit on her wheel before coming around her with 100 meters to go to take the world title.
“I was very tired in the last lap, I didn’t think I would win it today,” said Alvarado. “The pace went down [before] the last bridge, and that was my opportunity to make my final move with everything I had, and I did it to the finish line.”
American veteran Katie Compton finished fourth after chasing solo behind the Dutch trio for the second half of the race. Reigning champion Sanne Cant (Belgium) was out of contention from the start, finishing back in 12th place.
The Dutch dominated the race, with Brand, Alvarado, Worst and Yara Kastelijn packing the top five in the opening lap. Canadian champion Maghalie Rochette and Cant mixed it up among the Dutch in the opening lap before the four orange jerseys went clear, with Compton and Cant part of the chase group behind them.
Kastelijn fell off the pace in the second lap, leaving Worst, Alvarado and Brand to go clear at the front. By then, Compton had worked her way into fourth. The 41-year-old American was able to put in a gutsy ride to keep the Dutch trio within 30 seconds as she battled to stay in contention for the podium. It was only in the final lap that Compton let the gap slide, finishing in fourth one minute back, a comfortable 26-seconds ahead of fifth-place Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands).
Rebecca Fahringer finished in 13th place, while U.S. national champion Clara Honsinger did not finish.