OKBET CYCLING : In Waterloo, Fem Van Empel is victorious and wins home the World Cup

OKBET CYCLING : In Waterloo, Fem Van Empel is victorious and wins home the World Cup

OKBET CYCLING : In Waterloo, Van Empel is victorious and wins home the World Cup

Fem Van Empel

A two-rider sprint decided the first round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Waterloo, Wisconsin, with Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) edging off Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) to take the title.

Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek), the reigning World Cup champion and the current European champion, placed third.

After her third World Cup victory so early in her career, Van Empel said, “One word, ‘amazing.'” At the finish line, she told Cyclingnews, “The final round was a sprint. Today I knew I could attack on the last section of the circuit and maybe I took a risk. Lucinda and Ceylin were very close. It was a goal [to win] and I did it.”

After Brand lost control and produced a break in the first lap, Van Empel was one of five riders who emerged as a clear frontrunner. She, along with Denise Betsema, Alvarado, Inge Van der Heijden, and Annemarie Worst, was instrumental in setting the tempo on the dusty, fast track (777).

After Brand pushed her way to the front, Alvarado tried to divide that group, and eventually only three remained (the three who would ultimately occupy the podium, though Betsema and Worst temporarily regrouped).

Midway through the last lap, Brand and Van Empel launched a struggle, but the European champion was unable to equal her younger countrymen in the sprint for the win despite exerting herself to regain the lead.

“It was the idea to go with the final lap. Lucinda also went full throttle. It was a really fast circuit. I gave everything and I am thrilled,” the winner, a 20-year-old, said after the race.

The journey was lengthy, but I was really fit at the starting line, and it kept the grin on my face all day long. “Last season I worked harder than ever, so I am delighted I could cap it off today.”

After a close race, Van Empel came out ahead of Alvarado in the last turn, and the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider was unable to catch up. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic outcome for Alvarado because she struggled with her form during the previous season.

Fem Van Empel


I believe me and my family and trainer sensed it coming, and I’m glad it came out today,” Alvarado said of her renewed health.

“It was a hard race from the start to the finish. I’m glad of course, it’s my first podium of the season, so I’m thrilled about that, but I lost the sprint so a bit of a setback there,” Alvarado said. A loss against Fem was no big deal, so there’s that.

Brand said that she did not perform at her peak during the race. That wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for, but I did the best I could given the circumstances, which included being completely blocked and crashing on the first lap.

Betsema maintained fourth, followed by Worst and Van der Heijden. Clara Honsinger, one of several competitors from the United States, finished in seventh place.



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