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Rochette seventh in soaked Fayetteville, Arkansas World Cup race

Brand outduels Vos in the mud for the victory

Canada’s Maghalie Rochette improved three places on her tenth spot at the World Cup opening with a seventh in Wednesday’s second round in Fayetteville, Arkansas. On a wet, sloppy day demanding numerous bike changes world champion Lucinda Brand fought back to Round 1 winner Marianne Vos after a crash and then soloed home after her rival’s late crash. Brand took over the World Cup lead from Vos and Rochette moved up to ninth.

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

Canadian contingent
Pan American champion Rochette, Sidney McGill, Nicole Bradbury, Siobhan Kelly, Isabella and Ava Holmgren finished in that order in Waterloo for Sunday’s World Cup opener, and they were back for more in Arkansas.

Yolanda Neff took the hole shot and led early. Vos muscled her way past Hungary’s Kata Blanka Vas and they charged ahead with Denise Betsema. Rochette kept steady on the chase with Yara Kastalijn. Betsema fell back to chase Vos and Vas with Brand and the pursuers made it over before the end of the sodden first 3.1-km lap. Rochette and four others were close on their heels.

Vos stayed at the sharp end of the column at the beginning of Lap 2 before Vas and then Brand grabbed her wheel. Rochette stayed around sixth and seventh. Brand and Vos pushed open a five-second gap back to Rochette and Vas.

Rochette (white helmet) in sixth place on Lap 2.

On Lap 3 Vas lost some ground and soon it was Rochette, Betsema and Puck Pieterse comprising the main pursuit, with the Canadian doing all the chasing. The Dutch aces continued to grind it out in the rain, wrenching out more time. At the end of the lap Rochette’s work began to show and she fell back to fifth. When Brand biffed on a greasy corner, Vos had to steer around her.

Vos steers around the prone Brand near the end of Lap 3.

The questions of Lap 4: Could Rochette return to Betsema and Puck in the muck? Could Brand find Vos again? Would it stop raining? Rochette and Vas made it back to Betsema and Pieterse. Vos tried to hold onto her lead but a flat tire stymied her. Sydney McGill was working in 32nd place.

The Hungarian chaser attacked at the start of Lap 5 and gaps started to open up between the racers. Now Rochette had American Clara Honsinger in her rear-view mirror. Honsinger moved up in the line through the Canadian and Hungarian. The Arkansas sky really began to tip down the rain while Betsema and Puck began to think about the podium.

Vos crashed soon into the bell lap and carried on with Betsema for company. Brand quickly carved out a 15-second lead. Rochette had Vas to stalk on the last circuit, but could find no purchase. Vos continued to have trouble, as both Betsema and Honsinger overtook the Dutch veteran to stand on the podium. Betsema finished strong, only nine seconds after Brand.

The next World Cup round is Sunday in Iowa.

2021-2022 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Round 2, Fayetteville
1) Lucinda Brand (The Netherlands/Baloise Trek Lions) 51:46
2) Denise Betsema (The Netherlands/Pauwels Sauzen) +0:09
3) Clara Honsinger (USA/Cannondale) +0:16
7) Maghalie Rochette (Canada) +0:49
34) Sidney McGill (Canada) +6:54
39) Ava Holmgren (Canada)
42) Isabella Holmgren (Canada)
42) Nicole Bradbury (Canada)
45) Siobhan Kelly (Canada)