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Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado
Cyclo-cross World Cup: Alvarado outguns Pieterse in Troyes
Four wins in a row for Dutchwoman as she weathers storm from returning Pieterse and overcomes mistakes to win alone
Puck Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck) came out swinging on her return to cyclo-cross action in Troyes, but she was short of form compared to the flying Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who collected her second straight victory of the World Cup series.
The fourth round of the World Cup, taking place on a dry and fast-rolling course in northern France, quickly turned into a two-horse race.
Pieterse, who raced the opening World Cup in the USA but has since had a period of rest following her mountain bike campaign, stormed out of the traps and built an early lead thanks to a pair of errors from her rival.
However, her lack of racing perhaps told as she began to fade and Alvarado came storming back in the second half of the race. Alvarado, who was victorious in Dendermonde last Sunday and in the past two rounds of the Saturday’s Superprestige series, attacked on the fourth of the six laps and soloed home.
She did so with tears in her eyes, as the former world champion confirmed she’s back to her best following a difficult couple of years.
Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) clinched the final spot on the podium after leaving Sara Casasola on the final lap.
“I fought hard in the past years to be where I am today, and I fought hard also today the race,” said Alvarado.
“I knew [Pieterse] was strong and would come back strong. I fought for every second and every metre today. After the past years, it was maybe my most venerable win.”
Alvarado wore the white jersey as leader of the overall World Cup standings and, in the absence of Fem van Empel, winner of the first two rounds, was very much the leading force of the moment. However, she did not set off on the front foot, as Pieterse, who has had a period of rest after a busy multi-discipline season, came storming back into the fold.
The Dutch champion dictated the tempo on the opening two laps and Alvarado had to fight to stay with her. When she crashed over her handlebars and the slipped on the stairs in quick succession, Pieterse was handed the advantage.
However, Alvarado never gave up, and came storming back in the second half of the race, as her rival’s lack of recent top-end racing perhaps began to show. She stalked her throughout lap four before pouncing towards the end of the lap, hitting Pieterse with a stinging attack almost as soon as she’d caught her.
Pieterse had no response, and could only watch Alvarado drift further away on the final two laps. She did change to a slicker tyre, but to no avail. Alvarado had the superior power, and didn’t make another mistake, taking the bell with 25 seconds in hand and holding it to the finish.
In the overall World Cup standings, Alvarado extends her lead, moving to 135 points, ahead of Van Empel on 85 and Zoe Bakcstedt (Canyon-SRAM) – eighth on the day – on 77. Pieterse is up to sixth on 60 points.
ALVARADO Ceylin del Carmen
VAN DER HEIJDEN Inge
+ 1' 05"
+ 1' 09"
+ 1' 13"
+ 1' 24"
+ 1' 33"
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