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Cyclocross

Lucinda Brand hangs on under pressure from Clara Honsinger in World Cup Dendermonde

American champion Honsinger places second after fierce final lap chase to secure best World Cup result of the season.

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Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) did it again at the World Cup Dendermonde on Sunday.

Brand scored her 11th win of the season and extended her lead in the World Cup standings as she continues her dominant run through the winter. She now takes a 28-point lead over Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) in the classification.

But it wasn’t all easy for Brand in her solo win.

Clara Honsinger (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) came a close second after a fierce late chase, pulling back around 15 seconds in the final circuit of the boggy course. The result was the 24-year-old’s best World Cup result of the season.

Brand was slow out of the gate in the opening lap, spending the first circuit around 15th on a muddy course packing steps, sand stretches, steep climbs and tricky descents.

The world champ soon found her legs and by lap two had connected with an all-star nine-rider group also containing the likes of Betsema, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek), Kata Blanka Vas (SD Worx), Puck Pieterse and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (both Alpecin Fenix).

Van Anrooij and Betsema pressured at the front of the group the second lap, but once Brand had her motor running she was back to her peerless best.

Brand pulled away in lap three as Betsema led the chase around 10 seconds back, with Pieterse close behind her.

U.S. champion Honsinger also took a lap to hit top gear.

The Oregon native time trialed her way from mid-pack to connect with the main chase group in lap two. Honsinger carried her momentum from her U.S. title defense earlier this month to overhaul Betsema on lap four and take the lead in the race for second-place.

Betsema began to falter as Honsinger surged, and her stumble let the American take a handful of seconds of a lead.

Brand stretched her lead with every section of the heavy muddy course on lap four, fast on her feet and powerful in the saddle, but Honsinger chased hard and skipped the pits in the final lap to pull more than 15 seconds back on Brand.

Honsinger came within eye-view of Brand through the final corners, but the World Cup leader kept cool and dieseled away to her 11th win of the season, and second consecutive victory on the Dendermonde course.

UCI Cyclocross World Cup Dendermonde elite women results

  1. Lucinda Brand: 47:38
  2. Clara Honsinger: +00:04
  3. Denise Betsema: +00:36