World champion Lucinda Brand is the strongest at heavy World Cup...

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Lucinda Brand (32) won the second World Cup round in Fayetteville, USA. The Trek Baloise Lions rider is also the new leader in the World Cup standings. Betsema came in second, the American Honsinger finished in third place.

Due to the heavy rain of the last few hours, the World Cup course in Centennial Park had suddenly become very heavy. The top start went to Olympic mountain bike champion Jolanda Nef, but the Swiss rider soon fell back. The Dutch hegemony – led by Vos, Brand and Betsema – was broken only by the Hungarian Vas and the Canadian Rochette. At the end of the second round, Vos and Brand made a first gap.

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Fox or Fire? The world champion made a small slide just before half way, enough for Marianne Vos to do the forcing. Brand couldn’t close the gap and saw Vos drive further and further away from him. Until a flat tire threw a spanner in the works for Vos and Brand was able to reconnect.

Now it was up to Brand to put pressure on Vos and we once again had a wonderful denouement between the two Dutch veterans. Things went wrong for Vos at the start of the final lap. “Marianne made a little slide and I had to keep going,” Brand said. “Early in the race I also made a little push and I had trouble getting back to Marianne. I did it at my own pace.”

Because of Vos’s slide, Brand had a wide gap and Vos was actually caught up and passed by Betsema and a little later by the strongly advancing Honsinger. World champion Brand smelled the victory and rode unthreatened to the win. Fox reacted resignedly. “In the descent I crashed and I lost it. Unfortunate! That climb was pretty tough. The rest didn’t bulge as well anymore.”

(gvdl)

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