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Lucinda Brand (Baloise-Trek Lions) soloed to another victory at the women’s elite Azencross Loenhout.
The world cyclocross champion distanced Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen–Bingoal) by 14 seconds with less than a lap remaining.
Brand’s teammate Shirin van Anrooij rolled across the finish line some 33 seconds back to take third.
The win in Loenhout makes four in a row for the Dutch world champion and a Dutch sweep of the women’s podium.
Aggressive racing from the start saw Brand, Betsema, and Van Anrooij get away quickly while Annemarie Worst (777) went full-gas to try to keep in contact with the leaders.
After the opening lap, Betsema, Van Anrooij, and Brand had a lead ahead of Worst, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix), and Sanne Cant (IKO-Crelan).
Into the second lap, Worst closed the gap while Betsema attacked and gained as much as six seconds before van Anrooij and Brand brought her back.
Over the next two laps Betsema repeatedly tried to break the two Baloise Trek Lions riders and would pay for this on the final lap when Brand charged away for the win.
Brand has now finished on the podium of 13 consecutive races, a sequence stretching back to early November, and has won four in a row.
Notably absent in Loenhout were Blanka Kata Vas (SD Worx), Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Fenix), Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), and Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma).
X2O Bathrooms Trophy Loenhout 2021 elite women’s results
- Lucinda Brand (Baloise-Trek Lions), 46:33
- Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), at :15
- Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise-Trek Lions), at :33
Wout van Aert powers away in elite men’s race
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) made it six in a row with a win at the X2O Trofee in Loenhout.
Sitting mid-field in the opening laps, van Aert went to the front after the second lap with Quinten Hermans (Tormans-Circus Cyclocross Team) and Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) tagging along. They were pursued by Corné van Kessel (Tormans-Circus Cyclocross Team) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal).
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Top Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) were not at the start, however, the elder van der Poel brother, David, went to the lead from the start. He was soon brought back by Toon Aerts (Baloise-Trek Lions), Sweeck, and Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal).
After three laps van Aert and Sweeck were on the front, joined by Vanthourenhout with Aerts and Van Kessel on their wheels.
With three laps remaining, there was a gap of only eight seconds between the front groups, and then van Aert dialed the pace up a notch, distancing Vanthourenhout.
The three-times world cyclocross champion van Aert went into the final two laps with nearly a 12-second gap behind him to Vanthourenhout.
This margin expanded to nearly half a minute in the final lap.
Then, Van Aert deepened his lead over Vanthourenhout towards half a minute, while Aerts settled in third place at the start of the final lap.
The gap behind van Aert stretched to 14 seconds for Vanthourenhout, and 27 seconds for Aerts as the two sorted out the final podium places.
The Belgian multi-disciplinary star has wins in the UCI World Cup series, the Superprestige series, and the X2O Trofee series, pocketing the top prizes in Boom, Essen, Val di Sole, Dendermonde, Heusden-Zolder, and now also Loenhout.
X2O Bathrooms Trophy Loenhout 2021 elite men’s results
- Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma), 56:16
- Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), at :14
- Toon Aerts (Baloise-Trek Lions), at :27