Alvarado dominates in Namur under radiant winter sun
Under a radiant winter sun, the 8th round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur unfolded with high expectations. With the absence of Fem van Empel, all eyes were on the top favourites Alvarado, Brand, and Pieterse.
In the opening lap, Marie Schreiber (Team SD Worx) took the lead closely followed by Puck Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck). Unfortunately, Pieterse’s chain derailed, leading to an early bike change and relegating her in a chasing position. World Cup leader Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) immediately surged ahead and created a significant 17-second gap over Pieterse, who was riding relentlessly leaving other competitors behind.
As the race progressed to the second lap, Alvarado maintained her lead with Pieterse and Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) hot on her heels. Despite a commendable effort by Pieterse and Brand in the chase, Alvarado’s advantage remained intact. A crucial moment occurred on a steep incline where Brand caught up with Pieterse, who was having a shoe problem, which added extra drama to the race.
Entering the next lap, Brand narrowed the gap with Alvarado to 20 seconds, while Pieterse followed closely behind at 23 seconds. The trio were navigating the challenging course flawlessly, showcasing their technical skills on the demanding sections of the course.
In the fourth lap, Pieterse and Brand managed to reduce the deficit to 18 seconds, thus intensifying the chase behind Alvarado. The race then experienced a dynamic shift as Brand surged ahead leaving Pieterse behind. In the meantime, Van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) experienced a challenging moment with a big fall further back in the race.
In the final laps, Alvarado increased her lead to an impressive 33 seconds over Brand. The Dutch rider delivered a dominant performance and secured her third World Cup success of the season. Pieterse made a strong comeback on the final lap to finish in second place, while Lucinda Brand secured third spot.