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Alvarado carves through the slop to triumph in the Merksplas Superprestige round

Dutch rider hasn't finished off the podium in nine races this season

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado’s fine form continued in Saturday’s rainy, windy, muddy fourth round of the eight-round Superprestige series. Alvarado won the “Strawberry cross”, her fourth victory of the season; she hasn’t finished off the podium in nine races. She padded her series lead.

The Situation Heading into Saturday

Alvarado led the series, five points ahead of Annemarie Worst, having won the second and third rounds after Fem van Empel took the opener in Overijse.

Inge van der Heijden scored the hole shot on Lap 1. The field struggled through the mud and the first bike changes came a minute into the race. Lucinda Brand assumed the lead and pushed away with van der Heijden. Alvarado was in Position 3. Brand went clear before Alvarado came around van der Heijden. Brand led Alvarado by six seconds after the first circuit.

Brand clear on Lap 1.

Van der Heijden and Worst battled for the final podium position on Lap 2 of 4. Alvarado continued her pursuit of Brand and made the junction a third of the way through the circuit and then slipped ahead. A mistake allowed Alvarado to surge away. Brand’s errors stacked up and she shook her head in frustration. The series leader had a 12-second gap by the line.

Alvarado runs through the sand ahead of Brand.

By Lap 3, Worst’s main rival for the podium was van der Heijden’s teammate Marion Norbert Riberolle. Brand started to make inroads into Alvarado’s lead but lost her footing and went down in the mud.

When Alvarado heard the bell, Brand was 20 seconds in arrears. Riberolle moved closer to Worst and then rounded her, but a bobble put Worst back on the podium. Again Riberolle passed Worst. Alvarado took a fresh bike and was too exhausted to celebrate fully.

The next round is December 2 in Boom.

2023-2024 Superprestige, Round 4, Merksplas
1) Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (The Netherlands/Alpecin-Deceuninck) 41:04
2) Lucinda Brand (The Netherlands/Baloise Trek Lions) +0:25
3) Marion Norbert Riberolle (Belgium/Crelan-Corendon) +1:10