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Isabella Holmgren lands first junior World Cup podium in Zonhoven

Canadian sisters finish 3rd and 4th in Belgian sand dunes

Isabella and Ava Holmgren race Bear Crossing GP Photo by: Nick Iwanyshyn

Isabelle Holmgren’s first cyclocross World Cup podium could not have come at a more iconic venue. The Canadian junior national champion flew through the sandy dunes of Zonhoven, Belgium, to finish third on Sunday. Her sister, Ava Holmgren, followed close behind in fourth.

Lauren Molengraaf of the Netherlands earned the win ahead of France’s Célia Gery. Isabella Holmgren followed eight seconds behind Gery to take bronze.

The sensational result in the final event of cyclocross’ traditional Christmas period highlights an impressive run by the two Holmgrens. There are very few events with separate junior women’s categories in cyclocross. The two Stimulus Orbea riders have lined up against the elite and under-23 women throughout final weeks of December and into January. They’ve frequently been the top juniors in the race, and often the top Canadian women. They’ve regularly finished inside the top-20 while racing against the world’s best elite women. Zonhoven’s separate junior category properly showcases the impressive riding of both sisters.

Madeline Pollock and Geza Rodgers were also on the start line for Canada in Zonhoven. They finished 36th and 37th in the junior women’s World Cup.

On the junior men’s side, Mika Comaniuk led the Canadian effort with a 5oth-place finish. Filipe Duarte followed in 57th. Ian Ackert, who also had a run of very fast finishes in Europe during the holiday period, saw his race end on the first lap.