FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. (October 13, 2021) – World-champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions Racing) of The Netherlands soloed to victory in the women’s race of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Fayetteville, Ark., at Centennial Park.
Wednesday’s race christened the new course, considered the “new gold standard” for the sport, which will play host to the UCI World Championships for cyclo-cross in Fayetteville, January 28-30, 2022.
Brand entered the final lap of the 3-kilometer mud-soaked circuit with six-time world-champion Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma) of The Netherlands. On the serpentine downhill section entering the circuit, Vos crashed behind Brand, which launched the opportunity for Brand to solo through the final ¾ lap to win.
“It was a tough course. I had to get a little bit in my rhythm,” said Brand. “I was in the front with Marianne on the final lap downhill. Then, suddenly I was alone. She made a little mistake and crashed. I was just going all in until the finish to make sure nobody was coming back. It was a hard race with hard conditions but I really liked it. The course changed to a muddy one.”
Heavy rain greeted the 54 elite cyclists at start line and did not relent for the totality of the race, which most finished in less than an hour. Tuesday’s test runs were on a dry and fast circuit, something many of the athletes had noted. Within 24 hours, however, conditions shifted dramatically, which altered the style of racing.
“I like the mud. The course went from a fast course to one for power, which suits my style of racing. I think I need to bring some water with me in January for the World Championship,” said Brand, laughing. “I know how to train and race here now. That will be an advantage.”
After the crash on the final circuit, Vos faded to 4th while The Netherlands Denise Betsema (Team Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) finished second, nine seconds behind.
“Towards the end of the course I was becoming more used to it and I got better and better,” said Betsema. “I was very happy with the second place. I will hope the conditions in January will be the same.”
One of the biggest surprises of the race, which included one of the deepest fields to race on American soil, was American Clara Honsinger (Team Cannondale/Crossworld) who clawed her way on to the podium with a gritty last lap, only 16 seconds in arrears of Brand.
“This race was about holding steady and pushing through because the conditions were so heavy (mud and rain) and fatiguing,” said Honsinger. “I tend to be a very diesel-type rider. I don’t have the snap that Vos or Brand have in heavy conditions like today. I try to keep a steady state, getting people blowing up along the way. It feels really good to nail a podium and just keep checking it up to the top step for the World Championships in Fayetteville on home soil.”
The World Cup gave attendees a preview of what’s to come when Fayetteville hosts the 2022 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. Wednesday’s conditions could have not been worse for the women’s race but the new course, with its 39 steps, steep drops and corkscrew finishing stretch provided spectator’s plenty of features to gather around. The mud made for epic images on the new course, which sits atop a hill on the outskirts of Fayetteville, which is gaining international notoriety for its diverse cycling trails and byways.
“Today’s event was great for the region,” said Molly Rawn, the executive Director of Experience Fayetteville. “We literally welcomed the world to Fayetteville. The success of today’s race set us up for an exciting three-and-a-half month run up to the World Championships.”
More than 3,000 spectators were on hand for Wednesday’s race with more than 20,000 expected for the weekend of the World Championships, January 28-30, 2022.
PODIUM | RESULTS
- Lucinda Brand, NED (Baloise Trek Lions Racing) 51 minutes, 46 seconds
- Denise Betsema, (NED) (Team Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) @ :09 seconds
- Clara Honsinger, (Corvalis, Ore., USA) (Team Cannondale/Crossworld) @16 seconds
About UCI World Cup
The 2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internantionale and USA Cycling, the national governing body for the sport of cycling in the United States. The race is hosted by Experience Fayetteville and organized by Medalist Sports.
About Experience Fayetteville
Experience Fayetteville is the convention and visitors bureau for the city of Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is responsible for marketing the city to visitors and achieving a positive economic impact through tourism. It is the first point of contact for convention and meeting planners, sports tournament coordinators and tour operators. Experience Fayetteville oversees the visitors bureau and Experience Fayetteville Visitors Center, Fayetteville Town Center and the historic Walker Stone House. The Fayetteville Advertising & Promotion Commission is the governing body of Experience Fayetteville. For more information on Fayetteville, visit experiencefayetteville.com.
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