OKBET Shirin van Anrooij wins

Cyclocross World Cup

OKBET Cyclocross World Cup

The Cyclocross World Cup Dutchwoman fights her way to her maiden World Cup victory, beating off competition leaders Van Empel and Pieterse. Shirin Van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) won her maiden elite Cyclocross World Cup win in Beekse Bergen with a last-lap onslaught. The 20-year-old, who has rode for Trek-Segafredo Women this season, made a spectacular move just before the last lap bell and hung on for a narrow win.

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Throughout the race, World Cup leader Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) was embroiled in a struggle with Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck), but the duo paused when Van Anrooij gained an insurmountable advantage. Van Empel led the sprint from behind, closing within a single second of the leader, but had to settle for second, with Pieterse taking third at the Cyclocross World Cup.

Pieterse, who has come second six times in the World Cup, targeted her competitor early in the race in pursuit of her first Cyclocross World Cup victory. Van Empel, on the other hand, maintained a five-second advantage until steadily closing the distance to the leader with more over two circuits remained. Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin – Deceuninck) had also been in the heart of the battle until a mid-race collision forced her to drop back to finish.

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Van Anrooij was part of a chasing group before drawing back to the leaders as the race neared its end. The Baloise Trek Lions rider then made her winning charge on the asphalt finish as the last lap bell rang, narrowly managing to cling on for the win.

The under-23 rider stated Baloise Trek Lions team manager Sven Nys, who won 253 ‘cross races during his illustrious career at the Cyclocross World Cup, including two elite world championships, advised her to assault the two favorites in the final stages. “When I got back to the first two, Sven (Nys) yelled at me to simply go as they were slowing down,” Van Anrooij said.

“He warned me not to drive, but then they slowed down and I simply drove full throttle. Because Fem and Puck were both leaping, I knew I had to be the first one to the boundaries. “I didn’t make any errors and simply went full throttle.”

OKBET Cyclocross World Cup

Van Anrooij is the European under-23 road race and time trial champion, but her best elite cyclo-cross World Cup finish was third last month in Maasmechelen. “I’ve never won a large televised event in cyclo-cross before, so to suddenly win a Cyclocross World Cup means a lot,” she continued. “I was hoping to finish on the podium this season, but now I’ve won. It’s quite crucial for me to regain my confidence. It will simply be a significant lift in the coming weeks.

Van Empel leads the Cyclocross World Cup overall series by 81 points over Alvarado heading into the sixth round in Overijse next weekend.

What happened

Fem Van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal) held a big lead overall heading into the fifth round of this season’s Cyclocross World Cup after winning all four previous rounds. The 20-year-old moved up to the elites from the under-23 category for last weekend’s European Championships and won by 22 seconds despite sustaining a puncture. The Dutch circuit in Beekse Bergen, like the previous round in Maasmechelen two weeks previously, was hosting a cyclo-cross World Cup event for the first time.

The route meandered beside a lake, with rapid conditions and a tricky forested stretch to test riders’ abilities, as well as soft sand. After breaking her hand during course recon at Tabor three weeks ago, last year’s World Cup overall champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) returned to compete on Dutch soil. Van Empel pulled away quickest when they entered the woods for the first time, starting on a fast and broad asphalt part.

Puck Pieterse (Alpecin – Deceuninck) pushed her Dutch competitor in the previous round in Maasmechelen and was close behind, both riders able to bunny hop the barriers. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Pieterse’s partner, won her first race in 21 months two days earlier at the Jaarmarktcross in Niel and joined the leads on the first lap, with the three four seconds ahead. Blanka Kata Vas (Team SD Worx) and world champion Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma) crossed over to the leads after coming third at the European championships last week (Baloise Trek Lions).

The speed and technical abilities of Van Empel and Pieterse, though, drove the two away again on the second lap, forcing Alvarado to draw her Dutch competitors back. The Alpecin-Deceuninck team began to play team tactics, with Pieterse moving away after Alvarado made a little error, causing Van Empel to lose four seconds. Van Empel, the European champion, too made a mistake by attempting to keep up with the technically skilled Pieters as they approached the midway mark.

Alvarado, buoyed by her recent form, was able to keep up with the undefeated World Cup leader on Cyclocross World Cup, who kept up her relentless chase of the leader. With three circuits to go, Alvarado slipped into the race marking, damaging her rear tyre and collapsing. The Alpecin – Deceuninck rider dropped out of the top three, behind Van Anrooij, who was following alone, and falling back to Vos and Vas.

At the front, Van Empel caught up to her Dutch adversary, and the duo started the last lap with an 11-second advantage over fellow under-23 racer Van Anrooij. Van Anrooij was able to close back to the leaders as Van Empel slowed the pace at the front in order to recuperate from her exertion.

Taking the bell on Cyclocross World Cup, Van Anrooij utilized her road racing pace to assault on the tarmac and pull out an edge while her competitors looked on. Van Empel led the pursuit after the Baloise Trek Lions rider who was looking strong at the front four seconds ahead, hoping to keep her unblemished World Cup record this season. Van Empel tried everything to catch Van Anrooij on the last asphalt portion, but she ended only a second behind, with Pieterse on her wheel in third.