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Ava Holmgren earns first junior World Cup triumph in Besançon

Sister Isabella took the X2O Badkamers Trofee junior category

Photo by: Nick Iwanyshyn

The Holmgren twins are current Canadian cyclocross champions—Ava elite and Isabella junior—but their 2022-23 season just keeps getting better and better. On Saturday they didn’t even need to race the final junior X2O Badkamers Trofee for Isabella to win the overall category with Ava the GC runner-up. And on Sunday Ava won her first junior World Cup race in Besançon, France, with Isabella finishing third place two seconds back. They are peaking before the world championship in Hoogerheide.

The X2O Badkamers Trofee

In the second junior women’s round of the X2O Trofee on New Year’s Day, Bella triumphed with Ava runner-up. Two days later in the Herentals round, Ava was second and Bella third.

Bella led her twin by a single second going into Hamme’s final round, with the third place rider so far back it was clear that one of the sisters was going to be crowned champion on Saturday. Perhaps their most impressive X2O round was when they raced elite level at November’s Koppenbergcross and placed 7th (Bella) and 9th (Ava).

World Cup

In the World Cup series, Dutch rider Lauren Molengraaf had claimed all four of the junior women’s races before Sunday’s final contest in France. Ava was on the podium and Isabella was sixth, but after Besançon Ava became the overall runner-up and Isabella sprung onto the podium. They’ve had a fine junior World Cup January, Isabella placing third and Ava fourth in Zonhoven. Last Sunday in the Benidorm World Cup junior race, Isabella was runner-up to Molengraaf, with Ava third.

Ava on her way to 15th place in the World Cup elite women’s race in Waterloo.

In the elite women’s race, Fem van Empel didn’t even have to show up to the last World Cup to earn the overall title, seven rounds in her pocket. Puck Pieterse took her fourth round, finishing five points behind victor van Empel in the standings. Maghalie Rochette placed 12th, Sidney McGill 33rd and Christine Bilodeau 52nd.

Laurens Sweeck secured the elite men’s title last week in Spain. Canada’s Ian Ackert was 12th overall in the junior men’s category.