Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
Fem van Empel has won the European cyclo-cross title for the second year in a row. In Pontchâteau, France, the 21-year-old Dutch rider of Team Jumbo-Visma was once again in a class of her own. Ceylin Alvarado and Sara Casasola took silver and bronze respectively.
After a tricky start, Van Empel took the lead at the end of the first lap. In the laps that followed, the defending champion extended her lead over the chasing pack. By the halfway point, Van Empel had built up a one-minute advantage and rode comfortably to her second consecutive European title.
"I made too many mistakes on the first lap", Van Empel said. "That made it difficult to get into the right rhythm. The plan before the start was to attack on the sloping section at the end of the lap. That worked and I was able to ride at my own pace. I am happy to keep this jersey for another year."
"Time for some rest"
After a busy and successful start to the season for Van Empel, who has won all seven cyclo-cross races she has competed in, it is time for a well-deserved break. "I need some rest", Van Empel admitted. "Mentally it is a challenge to start every race as the favourite. I'm in great shape, but it's not easy to keep myself motivated. That's why I decided to take two weeks off. This will allow me to recharge my batteries for the rest of the season."