UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Van Empel’s greatness

UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Van Empel’s greatness

UCI (Czechia) - Press Release: UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Van Empel’s greatness.

Victory second year running:

Fem van Empel claimed a dominant and historic victory on the second day of the 2024 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, also marked by the successes of Célia Gery (Women Junior) and Tibor Del Grosso (Men Under 23).

Women Elite: Van Empel rides into the legend:

At 21 years old, Fem van Empel is already a two-time Women Elite UCI Cyclo-cross World Champion. She is the youngest to claim two Elite crowns after her stellar performance in Tábor, Czechia, today (Saturday), soloing her way to the rainbow jersey ahead of Dutch teammates Lucinda Brand and Puck Pieterse.

“I did everything for this race, the whole season,” rejoiced the winner after her 18th victory of the season (out of 20 races). “It’s just the cherry on the cake after a pretty good season. It’s a special day today. Everything needs to be in the right place at the right moment and it went so well today. I’m super happy.”

Van Empel took a flying start to open a 15’’ gap to Brand and Pieterse as early as the first lap, while another Dutch contender, Ceylin Alvarado, saw the battle for the podium slip away. The tone was set, with Oranje stars at the front, and the brightest of them giving an absolute masterclass.

Pieterse tried to resist but the gap kept growing and the chaser faltered in the third lap, dropping 45 more seconds on Van Empel while Brand moved up to second position, albeit more than a minute behind the leader.

Impressive physically and technically, Van Empel triumphed after 46’19’’ of effort. Brand was also delighted when she crossed the line 1’20’’ behind - she’s been on the podium of every edition since 2018 (1 gold, 3 silvers, 3 bronzes). Pieterse’s bronze (+1’54’’) is her second medal in the Elite class, after silver in 2023.

Alvarado pursued the Dutch dominance with 4th place (+2’37’’), ahead of Belgium’s Laura Verdonschot.

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