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Maghalie Rochette runner-up in muddy Besançon, France round of the World Cup

Lucinda Brand takes hat trick of wins at the midpoint of the series

On Sunday, Magahlie Rochette, who was supposed to defending her national cyclocross title on Vancouver Island, instead had her best-ever European round of the World Cup, coming second to series leader Lucinda Brand in muddy Besançon, France, the midway point of the 2021-2022 series. It was her best World Cup result since winning Jingle Cross in September of 2019.

You can watch the 2021-2022 UCI ‘cross World Cup at FloBikes.

The World Cup So Far

Going into Sunday’s race, Marianne Vos and Lucinda Brand had won two rounds each and Kata Blanka Vas, Denise Betsema and Annemarie Worst had all taken a round, Worst last week in Koksijde. Having stood on all but one podium in seven rounds, Brand led the overall standings by 14 points over Betsema and 51 points ahead of Puck Pieterse.

With no Canadian nationals this weekend Maghalie Rochette and Sidney McGill were back in World Cup action. They were the only Canucks racing in France on Sunday.

On Lap 1 Brand quickly took the lead in the mud, with Betsema in position two. Rochette was in sixth and seventh place.

Brand and Rochette took new bikes on Lap 2 and soon after Brand tripped up a little on the stairs. Betsema continued as Brand’s closest pursuer 14-seconds back, as Rochette toiled in fifth place behind Pieterse. McGill was 30th.

Rochette and Puck Pieterse on a tricky section of the French course.

Early in Lap 3 Inge van der Heijden bumped Rochette down to sixth, but the Canadian yanked it back and then overtook Pieterse. Rochette roared past Fem van Empel to muscle into third place.

Rochette moves past Pieterse on Lap 3.

Going into the penultimate lap, Brand had a 23-second gap over Rochette and Betsema. The Canadian pushed ahead into second; she was taking a fresh bike on every lap. Rochette kept the other Dutch riders in her rear view mirror as she splattered along behind Brand. McGill was 32nd.

Rochette pits on Lap 4.

On the bell lap it was clear that barring disaster, Brand was going to win the round. Rochette had a comfortable gap in second with the other Dutch women 10 seconds behind. The Canadian celebrated as if she had won after a fantastic performance.

Rochette high fives the crowd at the finish after a great performance.

After the race Rochette said, “I’ve always had trouble in Europe and I finally proved to myself I can do it. I kept telling myself, ‘Just stay focused, change gears’. I’m staying (in Europe) until January.” She thanked the Besançon fans for cheering her in French.

The next round is next Sunday in Antwerp, Belgium.

2021-2022 UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Round 8, Besançon, France
1) Lucinda Brand (The Netherlands/Baloise Trek Lions) 51:09
2) Maghalie Rochette (Canada) +0:26
3) Denise Betsema (The Netherlands/Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) +0:34
33) Sidney McGill (Canada)