Superprestige Overijse: Van Empel scores third win of 'cross season

Fem Van Empel (Jumbo-Visma) continued her winning streak to start the 2023-24 cyclocross season with a solo victory at the Superprestige round in Overijse.

The Dutchwoman led home Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Inge van der Heijden (Crelan-Corendon) on an all-Dutch podium at the first Superprestige round of the new season.

"I felt just OK today so I just tried to ride a fine race. I could have only dreamed of a lead so big," Van Empel said afterwards, according to WielerFlits. "Maybe the rest after Waterloo did me good. Maybe I should do it more often – take it a bit easier during the week and then go all out at the weekend.

"We have agreed within the team that, above all, I have to listen to how I feel about myself. Some people forget how young I still am. It's also very difficult to say to yourself that I should do a bit less. But I have the right people around me who monitor that well. That's very nice."

World Champion Van Empel dominated the race from the first lap to the finish, taking over at the front of the race after an early foray at the front from Marie Schreiber (SD Worx).

A chase group quickly formed behind the 21-year-old, with Schreiber joined by Alvarado, Van der Heijden, Hélène Clauzel (AS Bike Racing), and Annemarie Worst (Cyclocross Reds).

It was Alvarado who looked the strongest from the chase, pushing clear on her own and at one point seeming to close in on Van Empel. However, by the start of the third lap, the gap was up over 30 seconds as further back Van der Heijden fought with Worst over the remaining podium spot.

Up front, Van Empel's third win of the year was already assured, while Alvarado soloed home for second place, too. Van der Heijden eventually won out in her duel with Worst, dispatching with the 28-year-old in the closing stage of the race to fill out the podium.


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