World champion Lucinda Brand took an imperious win in the Tabor round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup.
Brand gapped the lead group on the sixth lap to make it three victories at the venue, having also won in 2020 and 2018. Going into the Czech round, Brand and her compatriot Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) were tied in the overall standings on 147 points.
Although the Bohemian course is slightly outside the Dutch-Belgian bubble, Tabor is renowned for its selective parcours, its famous uphill barriers, and the preceding section that is well suited to powerhouse riders.
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Conditions were favourable for the travelling riders with the lines running fast on the wide course and the early race was dominated by Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Fenix), Brand and Kata Blanka Vas (SD Worx) as they gradually gapped their pursuers who included Brand’s co-overall leader Betsema. There was a re-grouping on the third lap, but the trio remained chief animators.
The talented Pieterse is arguably the most gifted rider in terms of handling in the current crop of front-runners and the 19-year-old showcased this ability by bunny hopping the famed hurdles on every lap, gapping her chasers. More often than not though, these small digs were reeled back in by Brand.
The Alpecin-Fenix rider attacked the barrier section on the fourth lap as she shifted into a harder gear and built up an advantage. With the Hungarian champion Blanka Vas having slight trouble dismounting, Pieterse’s advantage extended.

'A phenomenal victory' - Brand storms to World Cup Tabor victory

In the following penultimate lap, Betsema, who was biding her time during the race following the wheels, made the junction back to the under-23 classification leader.
This meant that a front group of six, which included Brand, Betsema, Pieterse, Blanka Vas, Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) and Annemarie Worst (777) raced the final lap.
Brand, keen to put a gap into Pieterse going into the barrier section, rode hard to try and distance the lead group. This proved a successful tactic as the final lap was the only one in which Pieterse was unable to extend an advantage as fatigue showed and her bunny hopping technique faltered momentarily.
Brand sustained a four-second advantage going through the technical section and was able to raise her arms aloft at the end of the 52-minute race.
Pieterse, keen to have something to show for her impressive performance, out-sprinted Worst and Alvarado to the second step of the podium.
With the victory, Brand regains control of the overall standings as Betsema and Overijse winner Vas finished fifth and sixth respectively. The result leaves Brand on 187 points, Betsema on 168 and Pieterse on 142.
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