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Cyclocross

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Laurens Sweeck strongest in the snow at X2O Trofee Lille

Sweeck takes second win of weekend while Alvarado pips world champ Lucinda Brand in two-up sprint.

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Laurens Sweeck took victories at the X2O Trofee race Sunday.

Set in Belgian town Lille, racers endured biting winds, frozen temperatures and laying snow as a storm blew in across northern Europe.

The women’s race was decided in a two-up sprint, with Alvarado edging out Lucinda Brand by a tire-width.

The five-lap ‘cross came down to a tense final circuit as Brand, Alvarado, Annemarie Worst, and early race-leaders Denise Betsema and Sanne Cant marked each other out in a lead pack.

Although Brand and Alvarado had both struggled with slips and crashes in the early circuits, the duo went clear shortly after the turn of the final lap. The duo were inseparable through the frozen, technical circuit and sprinted shoulder to shoulder, with Alvarado pipping Brand by the finest of margins in the final kick for the line.

Betsema took third place, 13 seconds back.

Sweeck won the men’s event to take his second victory of the weekend. The Belgian went clear in the middle of the race before holding off a late chase from Michael Vanthourenhout and Corné van Kessel, who took second and third respectively.

Eli Iserbyt lost out on the podium after going sideways on the sandy, icey course in the final laps when riding in second-place, leaving him off the pace of Vanthourenhout and van Kessel as they scrapped for the positions behind Sweeck.

Vanthourenhout took second after distancing van Kessel in the final section of the circuit to make it a Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal one-two.

Wout van Aert, Tom Pidock and Mathieu van der Poel have now locked into their training for the road season and did not race.