After a less than optimal start, Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) took her sixth cyclocross win in a row, and sixth World Cup win of the season, in Hulst, Netherlands.
The CX World Cup returned to the picturesque town centre location for a fast course featuring plenty of very steep banks up and down the ramparts and alongside the moat of Hulst’s historic fortifications.
Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) enjoyed a very aggressive start, which saw the Dutch veteran power through the fast flat sections with the field strung out behind her. The terrain was relatively dry, but with so many violently steep slopes to contend with, mistakes and/or luck played its part again, and a front wheel slide-out for Vos robbed her of the advantage.
19-year-old Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Fenix) led the race by about 15 seconds for almost five whole laps, desperately hunting down her first elite win. Her young Hungarian rival Blanka Vas (SD Worx) led the chase group behind.
Meanwhile, Brand was steadily making her way through the field, going from eighth position at the end of lap one to Pieterse’s back wheel on the fifth lap of six. The world champion finally laid down her inevitable punishing attack through the penultimate passage of the finish line, and from there she rode the final lap alone.
Pieterse held on for second behind Brand, while Annemarie Worst (777) bested Vas to take the last step of the podium.