Mud, rain and a technical, challenging course. The World Cup cyclo-cross in the Belgian town of Namur offered Sunday noon all the ingredients for a spectacular race. Marianne Vos performed strongly and seized the second place. Lucinda Brand outraced everyone.
Marianne, until last week on training camp with the team, immediately proved to be in the mood for a cross. She was good at the technical mudslides and lead several times in the first part. In the third lap, Lucinda Brand, advancing from the sub top, took over the baton, in a supreme way. Marianne crossed the line 27 seconds later and remains the leader in the World Cup classification.
Marianne: "The question this morning was what the conditions would be on this course. Because of the rainfall, the mud had become less thick than during the recon yesterday making it slightly better. We had to keep paying attention though, especially on the tricky descents. I was always able to follow, but I could not fend off Lucinda Brand's attack. She was just too strong. It was then important to ensure the second place which I succeeded in, so I can only be satisfied."
Inge van der Heijden did not have her lucky day at the Citadel in Namur after a few strong cyclo-crosses. "My start was still good. But I was on the wrong track in the first lap on the slanted side. I wanted to go back up to get on track again, but it was too slippery. It made me fall and I lost a lot of places. I fought in the back of the field. Towards the end, I came back into my rhythm."
Pauliena takes victory
Earlier in the day, Pauliena Rooijakkers already achieved success in the green WaowDeals shirt. She won the national cross in the Brabant town of Boxtel. It was the first cyclo-cross for Pauliena. "I decided to complete a few cyclo-crosses in preparation of the road season which would improve my explosiveness and technique."
Pauliena started at the back and had a strong catching-up game on a rainy course. "The start went well, I quickly overtook some riders. At two laps from the finish, I took the lead. I noticed that I was the strongest on the straight sections, but on a technical level I was a bit less. In order to shake off Lizzy Witlox, I opened all registers. I had not expected this victory.”