For the second year in a row, Brand does preparation in atypical cycling country: "I'm enjoying it very much" Cycling

For the second year in a row, Brand does preparation in atypical cycling country: "I'm enjoying it very much"

For the second year in a row, Brand does preparation in atypical cycling country: "I'm enjoying it very much"

On Wednesday, Lucinda Brand began her road cycling season with the Classic Brugge-De Panne, and she did so with flair. The lady from Dordrecht delivered great work for her fast Lidl-Trek teammate Elisa Balsamo, who eventually clinched the 170-kilometer race in the sprint against Charlotte Kool (DSM-Firmenich PostNL). Brand shared her story with after the event.

It had been more than half a year since we last saw Brand in action on the road. She had a fall at the beginning of September during the Simac Ladies Tour, following which a collarbone injury disrupted the start of her cyclo-cross winter. She continued her cyclo-cross season - winning the Dutch National Championships, among other achievements - until the end of February in Oostmalle. In the Classic Brugge-De Panne, she made her comeback in road cycling.

What has she been doing in the meantime? "I've been to Cyprus for the second consecutive year, but in a completely different part. That made it feel totally different. I was able to relax initially, but then I also put in many hours of work, with some fun in between." Cyprus, now that is not exactly a well-known cycling country. What can we imagine that to be like, Lucinda?

"Actually, it's a very nice island. It's diverse, so you can also do long climbs. The highest point is 1900 meters, so that's quite a long climb," explains Brand. "But if you want the terrain more rolling or flat, that's possible too. Of course, it's busier near the larger cities, but aside from that, you hardly see anyone, and everyone is chill. I enjoy it very much, sometimes you even feel like you are in Tuscany a little. That might give you a bit of an idea of what it's like. And oh yes, you have to cycle on the other side of the road!"

Brand not yet sure where she stands after first race

Now that we know a bit more about Cyprus, it must have been quite a shift switching to the tram tracks and bustling streets of De Panne. "Is it an adjustment? It's very strange, but it happens naturally. Initially, you think to yourself that there is so much unnecessary stress here, but eventually, you get more into it," says Brand, who was pleased with her performance. "It went well, but it's hard to say exactly where I stand. When I read the data from my bike computer, I don't see a very high average power. But maybe I can draw some conclusions from my power outputs in the final kilometers," Brand suggests. "Last year, we raced half the race on the side, then you know much better where you stand."

In the final kilometers, she was facing the wind. "We were well positioned at the front. It wasn't necessarily the plan to be right at the front, but we were in a very good spot and felt strong enough. That's why we thought: why not? On this course, it's also nicer to be further ahead," says Brand, who saw her teammate Balsamo win. "Elisa is very chill and always realistic. You don't hear her much until it gets important, but when necessary, she speaks up about what she wants. That's very nice, I must say. You know she has confidence in you."

Where will we see Brand in action in the coming weeks, and what are her goals? "These first races are mainly about doing as much as possible for the team and getting into shape, but by Flanders and Roubaix, I hope to really be there. Of course, we will be a strong team overall, so hopefully, something beautiful will come out of it. My dream race is, of course, still Roubaix," she concludes.

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