Lucinda Brand already has a new target following a bronze medal finish in the elite women’s race at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships – a victory at Paris-Roubaix Femmes.
After missing the first women’s edition of Paris-Roubaix in 2021, she played the loyal teammate last year to winner Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) before finishing third. In two months’ time, Brand wants to use her cyclocross ability to win an iconic cobblestone trophy herself.
The 33-year-old multi-discipline rider finished third Saturday at cyclocross Worlds in front of home fans at Hoogerheide after being unable to hold the pace of Dutch compatriot and young winner Fem van Empel.
Brand plans to ride two more weeks of cyclocross races as she hopes to win the X20 Trofee overall and then begin preparations for Paris-Roubaix.
“I will finish the X20 Trophy and take a little rest and train hard towards Roubaix,” said Brand while wearing her bronze medal. “Roubaix is a very big goal and hopefully it will work out. Then my main focus will be working towards the Tour De France and I will be there for our leaders to be a good support.”
Brand suffered misfortune this cyclocross season after fracturing in her right hand during practice for the Tabor World Cup in October.
She has returned to form with a host of podiums but lacked the pace of her under-23 Dutch rivals Van Empel and Puck Pieterse, who took silver in the elite race at Hoogerheide. During the race, Pieterse crashed allowing Brand to ride back to her, but the youngster powered away for second, while Van Empel soloed to an impressive win.
Brand added: “Of course in the race you always focus on the highest which is the first place winning, but you also need to be realistic, and from the moment Puck made a little mistake I tried to go as fast as I could, but I also know her physical level is just a bit higher than mine at the moment.
“For how my season went which wasn’t great I just tried focusing on today and getting the highest lvel of the moment possible.
“I think I did quite a good job of it if you look back a few weeks ago, I’m very happy with third place. It was the highest possible at the moment. Looking back to how the whole season was it was a very nice way to end the season.”
Dutch youngsters Pieterse, Van Empel and 20-year-old Shirin van Anrooij, who will compete in the women’s U23 contest on Sunday, have emerged to dominate the cyclocross World Cup this season. Brand says…
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