Brand sprinted herself dizzy in Herentals: "It must have been painful for Fem too" Cyclo-cross

Brand sprinted herself dizzy in Herentals: "It must have been painful for Fem too"

Brand sprinted herself dizzy in Herentals: "It must have been painful for Fem too"

The Dutch Lucinda Brand, who has been living in Belgium, described the X2O Trofee-cross in Herentals as her 'home race,' but narrowly missed out on victory in the Kempen region. After a gripping duel with Fem van Empel, she ultimately had to concede to the Jumbo-Visma rider at the finish line. caught up with Brand afterwards.

"It's a bit like a home race, so it's a shame I barely missed out on winning," Brand said post-race, reflecting on her neck-and-neck final round with Van Empel. "It was a real battle to start the Skiberg first, and Fem is obviously very explosive. Leading is tough because she can overtake from behind, but in her slipstream, you have to try and surprise her. I couldn't quite manage that, but luckily, I could still catch up. Then you know it will be difficult in the sprint."

The audience had turned away from the action several times, but Brand kept coming back. "I was just riding really well, and it must have been painful for Fem too. It was about who could endure the longest, and being in the slipstream is a slight advantage. In the leading position, you don't know how far the chaser is behind you, so maybe I was a bit more advantaged there."

"I was pretty dizzy after the finish, especially after that tough sprint where you still give it your all. And that's saying something for a non-sprinter," Brand laughed. "I definitely felt that." Despite the discomfort, she looked forward to the upcoming challenges with confidence, though they won't be happening as soon as this Sunday in Namur, due to Fem van Empel's absence. "Hopefully, there will be more such duels in the coming weeks. Getting back to this level was my main goal this season, so achieving that is already very satisfying," the Dordrecht native noted with satisfaction.

lucinda brand 2

Training in Spain gave Brand an extra boost

Brand had been at a training camp recently, which she feels has given her an additional edge. "In Spain, I trained really well, and it's great to continue that momentum. From my training camp, I had a much clearer idea of where I stood in terms of my performance metrics. That gave me a lot of confidence, but after all that road training, I had to wait and see how I would readjust to cyclo-cross. Especially on the descents, but that actually went very well."

The fact that she has fewer cyclo-cross races under her belt this season due to a later start doesn't necessarily mean an advantage or disadvantage, according to Brand. "All the big names have had a break, but of course, I now have slightly fewer cyclo-cross races in my legs than in the past. However, in other years, I have also felt fresh during the Christmas period, so we'll see how things go in the coming weeks."


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