In her first cyclo-cross race of the season, Marianne made a statement by taking the win at the Ethias Cross Essen.
Saturday’s race in Belgium was Marianne’s first race since she secured the bronze medal at World Championships back in February. After winning the Women’s WorldTour overall title in October, Ethias Cross Essen was a stark contrast to racing on the road. In true cyclo-cross fashion, the race was extremely muddy and slick. With her closet competition losing traction in the mud halfway through the race and running into a barrier, Marianne road comfortably to the line for the victory.
“I chose to take a break after the end of the road season and to take the time to work towards cyclo-cross, resulting in a somewhat shorter cross-season,” said Marianne. “That may not be ideal in light of a favourable starting position, but I accept that. People who know me know that I enjoy cyclo-cross and that I love to get in action this winter.”
Marianne will race again Wednesday at the X20 Trofee Herentals, where season standouts Lucinda Brand and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado will both be riding, having sat out the Ethias Cross.
“Herentals will be a different story,” Marianne said. “It’s difficult to put an expectation on it, because I don’t know where I am against the others. Lucinda Brand is having a good series, Alvarado and Worst have already shown themselves. There is a large group that achieves a high level. I am not sure where I stand, but I will try to find my place.”