Lucinda Brand topped an all-Dutch podium at the Cyclocross World Championships in Ostend, Belgium, after Annemarie Worst slipped in the final as the pair were neck-and-neck heading towards the finish line.
The pair had dropped Denise Betsema towards the end of the five-lap race, who would eventually finish third, 19 seconds down, as Worst and Brand continued to battle it out.
After Worst had put in a dig and looked to be gapping her rival, Brand caught up on the inside of a right-hand corner towards the end of the final lap. Worst had to take a wider line and slipped in the mud, which handed the rainbow jersey to Brand, crossing the line eight seconds clear of her compatriot.
“I just touched her elbow or something,” Brand said of the incident after the finish. “Of course, it was the weakest point to touch her so it wasn’t that nice but also not easy to avoid that situation. Unfortunately, it happened…”
Brand finally reaches the top spot after making the podium the last three years, saying it’s a big relief to claim the rainbow jersey at long last with her 12th victory of the season.
“Yes, definitely, for so many years I was so close and now finally after such a great season, to finish it off like this is really cool.”
Defending champion Ceylin del Carman Alvarado could only manage sixth place, having fallen early in the race.
Britain’s Evie Richards finished seventh overall, nearly matching her sixth place last year in Dubendorf, but finishing half a minute closer to the winner.
UCI 2021 Cyclocross World Championships, Ostend
1. Lucinda Brand (Ned), in 46-53
2. Annemarie Worst (Ned), at eight seconds
3. Denise Betsema (Ned), at 19s
4. Clara Honsinger (USA), at 52s
5. Yara Kastelijn (Ned), at 1-04
6. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned), at 1-12
7. Evie Richards (GBr), at 1-13
8. Sanne Cant (Bel), at 1-43
9. Elisabeth Brandau (Ger), at 2-07
10. Christine Majerus (Lux), at 2-08