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Brand extends X2O Trofee lead with 18th victory of the season in Lille

Brand again poised to win three major 'cross series

Lucinda Brand bounced back from losing her rainbow jersey by pulling out a big lead in the X2O Badkamers Trofee with a victory in the penultimate round on a difficult course in Lille. Brand is poised to win the three major series–World Cup, Superprestige and X2O Badkamers–for the second year in a row. She has taken 18 races this season.

Going into Sunday’s race World Cup winner Lucinda Brand led Denise Betsema by 21 seconds at the top of the table with two races left. After American Clara Honsinger’s first round victory, Brand took the next five rounds. Marianne Vos, Puck Pieterse and Fem van Empel were all absent. No Canadians were racing in Europe this weekend.

There was a long, straight stretch to start the race on Lap 1. Marion Norbert Riberolle seized the first lead but Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado soon took over. Betsema, who missed the Worlds because of illness, got caught up in the mud. The mud and sand created some big gaps. Brand joined Alvarado up front, Betsema chasing. Betsema then crashed.

Brand and Alvarado lead on Lap 1.

Alvarado took the maximum bonus seconds at the end of the opening 12:01 lap, and Brand, wearing the European champion’s jersey, was two seconds back. Annemarie Worst and Manon Bakker were battling for the podium 12 seconds in arrears. Betsema had some catching up to do at +0:22.

Brand found Alvarado’s wheel at the beginning of Lap 2 and went clear. Worst, fresh off a win in Saturday’s Ethias Cross in Maldegem, caught up with Alvarado. Brand carried a 19-second gap into the penultimate lap.

Brand goes clear on Lap 2.

On the third of four laps, Betsema was beginning to see her hopes of winning the series slipping away. She was fifth, a minute back. Worst and Alvarado were locked into their own scrap for the runner-up spot, and Worst began to pull away. Betsema was having a difficult race and sifted down to sixth.

Worst and Alvarado tussle for the runner-up spot.

Worst took a nine-second buffer into the bell lap. Brand was in no danger of being caught up front. A crash didn’t help Alvarado’s efforts to catch Worst. Worst was 57 seconds slower than Brand on Sunday. Betsema placed seventh at +2:24.

The final round of the series is next Sunday in Brussels.

2021-2022 X2O Badkamers Trofee, Round 7, Lille
1) Lucinda Brand (The Netherlands/Baloise Trek Lions) 46:00
2) Annemarie Worst (The Netherlands/777) +0:57
3) Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (The Netherlands/Alpecin-Fenix) +1:50