Cycling News

Fem van Empel undefeated in X2O Badkamers Trofee after six rounds

Fem van Empel undefeated in X2O Badkamers Trofee after six rounds

The final weekend before the UCI Cyclocross World Championships kicked off with Saturday’s sixth round of the 2023-2024 X2O Badkamers Trofee, Flandriancross in Hamme, Belgium. World Champion Fem van Empel stayed undefeated in the series after her 16th victory of the season. With two rounds remaining van Empel has an enormous lead over Lucinda Brand in the standings. Siobhan Kelly was the sole Canadian entrant among 40 riders.

Van Empel tore into the forest first on Lap 1 with Brand on her six. Van Empel was able to ride where the others had to dismount and run. A Brand mistake put Manon Bakker into second place, 11 seconds adrift of the world champion after one circuit.

Van Empel gets loose on Lap 1.

Bakker continued to lead Brand, Denise Betsema, Marion Norbert Riberolle and Annemarie Worst at the start of Lap 2. Brand and Bakker started to distance the other chasers. Van Empel’s lead was 25 seconds by the end of the lap.

Brand and Bakker kept Betsema and company at arm’s length on Lap 3 of 6. The Hamme muck was dictating regular bike changes. At the midpoint of the race, the Visma-Lease a Bike rider was 42 seconds in the clear.

Brand and Bakker waged their own personal battle on Saturday.

Brand started to pull away from Bakker on Lap 4. Van Empel took a 53-second gap into the penultimate lap.

With Brand out of sight, Bakker had to worry about her podium spot going to Laura Verdonschot on the penultimate lap. But after pitting Verdonschot fell in the mud.

The victor prepared to head off to Hoogerheide, the Netherlands for Sunday’s penultimate round of the World Cup.

The next X2O round is on February 12 in Lille.

2023-2024 X2O Badkamers Trofee, Round 6, Hamme
1) Fem van Empel (The Netherlands/Visma-Lease a Bike) 44:21
2) Lucinda Brand (The Netherlands/Baloise Trek Lions) +1:08
3) Manon Bakker (The Netherlands/(Crelan-Corendon) +1:37

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