Lucinda Brand of Team Sunweb literally rode away from the competition on Saturday’s Dutch National Cyclocross Championships in Surhuisterveen, the Netherlands. Only sitting second for a brief period at the start of the race, Brand made her move and never looked back, winning the title by nearly a minute.
The National Championship course was extremely challenging with multiple stair sections, a sand pit and thick mud to contend with. Though Brand felt at home on the fast road and dry grass sections, the deep mud required consistent power output that was a challenge for all riders. Even after sliding into the tape in the slick, muddy conditions on the first lap, Brand had already established enough of a lead to hold her position at the front comfortably.
Due to the conditions, Brand and other riders made the decision to stop through the pits for a clean bike multiple times to ensure tires, drivetrain and pedals remained clear and working. As she passed through for a clean bike on the final lap, Brand pumped her fist in early celebration. With nearly a minute lead, she cruised confidently to victory.
“I had expected a little bit more of a battle but I had a really good feeling from the start,” said Brand. “I could directly take a gap and keep going to make it a little bit bigger throughout the race which gave me a lot of confidence that I could bring the title home. I’m super happy with the win and I’m looking forward to enjoying the victory.”
Brand is now a multi-discipline National Champion, winning road national championships in 2013 and 2015. The win was especially sweet after a second place finish to former teammate Marianne Vos at last year’s National Cyclocross Championship race. She will surely be looking for redemption at this year’s World Championships as well, after a narrowly missing the 2017 podium in Bieles, Luxembourg. The 2018 World Championships will take place in Valkenburg-Limburg, the Netherlands on February 3 and 4.