Lucinda Brand (Netherlands) secured her seventh consecutive medal at the UCI Cyclocross World Champions, this time bested only by one, her Dutch compatriot, Fem van Empel. Van Empel soloed to her second consecutive rainbow jersey in the elite women’s race, finishing 1:20 ahead of Brand.
“Winning is always the best thing, but this one was also very nice. I am the best of the rest,” Brand, who won the world title in 2021, said in a post-race interview.
“Fem is simply head and shoulders above the rest at the moment. She is someone with a lot of talent. I hope that she can continue this trend so that she can achieve many other great results. For me, it is important to stay on track for as long as possible.”
Van Empel pulled away from her rivals in the opening laps of the race and eventually distanced her main rivals on the day, Brand and Puck Pieterse (also from the Netherlands), for an all-Dutch podium.
Pieterse was one of the race favourites but faded on the penultimate lap and appeared disappointed to be passed by Brand.
Head of the World Championships, Van Empel had dominated the season with a whopping 17 victories, including five rounds of the World Cup. Brand also had a strong season, winning two rounds of the World Cup in Flamanville and Dublin.
She crashed while leading the World Cup round in Zonhoven, where she sustained a broken nose, but she was back to racing the following weekend at the Dutch Championships and won the elite women’s title.
Brand was happy to return to Tabor healthy and ready to compete for the world title. The last time she was in Tabor, she sustained a fracture in a metacarpal bone on her right hand following a crash while warming up for the next round of the World Cup in 2022.
“When I broke my hand here in Tábor, it was all worthless. Lots of ups and downs, it wasn’t always pleasant at home. But I’m glad that somewhere inside, I was able to find the confidence and continue to believe in it,” she said in an interview with Wielerflits.
Brand’s silver medal at the Tabor Worlds adds to her collection of now seven medals in the World Championships; gold in 2021, three silver medals in 2019, 2022 and 2024, and three bronze in 2018, 2020 and 2023.
“We don’t know how she keeps pulling it off, but Lucinda Brand is taking home the silver medal,” her team, Baloise Trek Lions, wrote in a post on social media following the race.