November 13, 2022
Cyclo-Cross World Cup 2023 WE – BEEKSE BERGEN
The UCI World Cup series is the pinnacle of the cyclocross season. The series often attracts the world’s best cyclocross racers and includes some of the most prestigious races on the calendar.
November 13, 2022
Cyclo-Cross World Cup 2023 WE – BEEKSE BERGEN
The UCI World Cup series is the pinnacle of the cyclocross season. The series often attracts the world’s best cyclocross racers and includes some of the most prestigious races on the calendar. This series will feature 14 rounds this season, with races held across Europe and the US as the UCI attempts to broaden the sport’s reach and bring cyclocross to a global audience. The UCI CX World Cup uses a points system to decide the rankings, with the first 25 riders to cross the finishing line scoring points. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place score 40, 30, 25, 22 and 21 points respectively, with riders then scoring one less point for every position they finish further down the field. These points then go towards the UCI CX World Cup rankings, with the rider who has accumulated the most points by the end of the series taking the overall victory. During the series, the leader in the rankings after each round will receive a white jersey with red accents to wear at the next race.
A last-lap attack by Shirin Van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) gave her the first elite cyclo-cross World Cup victory of her career in Beekse Bergen.
The 20-year-old, who has ridden with Trek-Segafredo Women on the road this season, launched an impressive move just before taking the last lap bell and held on to take a slender victory.
World Cup leader Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) was locked in a battle with Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) throughout the race but the pair hesitated as Van Anrooij built her unassailable margin.
Van Empel led the sprint behind and closed within a single second of the leader but had to settle for second and Pieterse third.
Pieterse, who has finished second at the World Cup six times, attacked her rival early in the race in search of her maiden World Cup win.
However, Van Empel held the gap at five seconds before gradually pulling back to the leader with over two laps remaining.
Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin – Deceuninck) had also been in the thick of the action until a crash at the halfway point resulted in her falling back to finish
Van Anrooij was part of a chasing group before pulling back to the leaders as they eased approaching the closing stages.
The Baloise Trek Lions rider then launched her winning attack on the asphalt finish while taking the last lap bell and just did enough to hold on for the victory.
The under-23 rider said Baloise Trek Lions team manager Sven Nys, who won 253 ‘cross races including two elite world titles during his stellar career, told her to attack the two favourites in the closing stages.
“I came back to the first two and Sven (Nys) screamed at me just go as they were slowing down,” said Van Anrooij.
“He told me to not go on the road but then they really slowed down and I just went full gas. I knew I had to be the first one at the barriers as Fem and Puck were both jumping.
“I didn’t make any mistakes and just rode full gas.”
Van Anrooij is the European under-23 road race and time trial champion but her best elite cyclo-cross World Cup result was third in Maasmechelen last month.
“It means a lot I’ve never won a big television race in cyclo-cross before so to now win a World Cup,” she added.
“I was just dreaming to maybe get on the podium this season but now I win. It’s something really important for me to get more confidence again. It will just be a big boost for the next weeks.
Van Empel holds a healthy lead in the World Cup overall series 81 points ahead of Alvarado going into the sixth round at Overijse next weekend.
How it unfolded
Coming into the fifth round of this season’s cyclo-cross World Cup newly crowned European Champion Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal) had a healthy lead overall after winning all the previous rounds.
The 20-year-old moved up to the elites from the under-23 category for last weekend’s European Championships and despite suffering a puncture came back to win by 22 seconds.
Like the last round in Maasmechelen two weeks earlier, the Dutch course in Beekse Bergen was holding a cyclo-cross World Cup event for the first time.
The course ran alongside a lake and fast conditions greeted riders but with a technical wooded section to test their skills and loose sand.
After fracturing her hand in course recon at Tabor three weeks ago last year’s World Cup winner overall Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) made her return to competition on home Dutch soil.
Starting on a fast and wide asphalt section Van Empel got away fastest as they hit the woods for the first time.
Puck Pieterse (Alpecin – Deceuninck) pushed her Dutch rival at the previous round in Maasmechelen and was in close pursuit with both riders able to bunny hop the barriers.
Pieterse’s teammate Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado took her first victory in 21 months two days earlier at the Jaarmarktcross in Niel and joined the leaders during the opening lap with the trio four seconds clear.
After finishing third at last week’s European championships Blanka Kata Vas (Team SD Worx) bridged across to the leaders along with world champion Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma) and Shirin Van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions).
However, the speed and technical ability of Van Empel and Pieterse pulled the duo clear again on the second lap with Alvarado again forced to pull her Dutch rivals back.
The Alpecin – Deceuninck started playing team tactics with Pieterse pulling away as Alvarado made a slight mistake forcing Van Empel to lose four seconds.
European champion Van Empel also made a mistake trying to follow the pace of technically gifted Pieters as they reached the halfway point.
Buoyed by her recent form Alvarado was able to hold onto the pace of the unbeaten World Cup leader who continued in her steady pursuit of the leader.
However, with three laps remaining Alvarado slid into the course marker hitting her back tyre and going down.
The Alpecin – Deceuninck rider fell out of the top three, behind Van Anrooij who was chasing alone, and back to Vos and Vas.
At the front, Van Empel came back to her Dutch rival with the pair having an 11-second lead over fellow under-23 rider Van Anrooij as they entered the penultimate lap.
An easing of the pace at the front by Van Empel looking to recover from her effort allowed Van Anrooij to close back to the leaders.
Taking the bell Van Anrooij used her road racing speed to attack on the asphalt and pulled out an advantage as her rivals watched each other.
In a bid to protect her unbeaten World Cup record this season, Van Empel led the chase behind the Baloise Trek Lions rider who was looking strong at the front four seconds ahead.
Van Empel did everything she could to catch Van Anrooij on the finishing asphalt section but finished just a second behind with Pieterse on her wheel in third.