Exactly one week after the European Cyclo-Cross Championships in Pontchâteau, the third round of the World Cup is on the cross menu. Dendermonde is back on the cyclo-cross calendar after a year’s absence and that means that we can enjoy a solid game of dredging on Sunday, November 12, where In the Leader’s jersey teaches you everything you need to know!
The Dendermonde World Cup actually stems from the Ambiancecross in Wachtebeke, but is still a young, new race in itself. The race was only held as a World Cup race in 2020 and 2021, before disappearing from the World Cup calendar in 2022. The reason? Financial problems.
On December 26, 2021, the cross in Dendermonde missed out on about 10,000 spectators. The corona measures taken at the time threw a spanner in the works, with the result that the organization – where Jurgen Mettepenningen plays an important role – preferred not to take any risks a year later. And so last year there was no race in Dendermonde, a city in the Belgian province of East Flanders. “I don’t want to organize it again without fans, or with restrictions,” Mettepenningen and co explained at the time. But after a year without a spectacle, the cross will return this year!
Last World Cup winners Dendermonde
2021 Wout van Aert / Lucinda Brand
2020 Wout van Aert / Lucinda Brand
Course, weather and times World Cup Dendermonde 2023
The organization of the World Cup in Dendermonde has laid out a beautiful technical course, which should provide the necessary spectacle. The approximately 2,600 meter long circuit actually has a bit of everything: stairs, a washboard, a bridge, steeply ascending strips, a sandbox and cobblestones! In short, enjoy! The 2020 edition will still be remembered by many cycling fans. Then the race turned into an apocalyptic mudfest and it is not unlikely that something similar will happen this year!
We already mentioned it above: on December 27, 2020 we saw an unprecedented mud spectacle in Dendermonde. There will probably also be a lot of mud this year, especially because it has only rained in recent days. A lot of precipitation is also expected on Sunday itself. The floodgates will be wide open and so we expect a new tasty spectacle in that context!
Start women: 1.40 pm
Women’s finish: around 2:30 PM
Start men: 3.10 pm
Finish men: around 4.15 pm
Favorites women’s World Cup Dendermonde 2023
Fem van Empel, Puck Pieterse and Shirin van Anrooij are not there in Dendermonde. For that reason Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado the absolute top favorite to take the victory in the third edition. The 25-year-old Rotterdam native from Alpecin-Deceuninck told us after the European Championships, where she finished second behind a “Femtastic” Van Empel, In the Leader’s jersey that somehow she is a little happy that Van Empel temporarily disappears from the battlefield. “For the points and the rankings, it is better for me that she is away for a while,” the woman-in-form confided to us.
Alvarado will then have to deal with this Lucinda Brand. The 34-year-old lady from Dordrecht is a striking presence in Dendermonde, as she only takes to the field there for the first time of the season. ‘Lucinda trained last week and I got a good impression of her form. I think she can immediately reach a good level in Dendermonde,” said national coach Gerben de Knegt about her selection. Brand has been recovering in recent months from a shoulder injury from this year’s Simac Ladies Tour. So it is certainly still a guess as to her form, although she certainly has good memories of Dendermonde. In both 2020 and 2021 – the only two editions – the Baloise Trek Lions rider was first.
Also Inge van der Heijden is doing well. At the European Championships, the North Brabant from Crelan-Corendon just missed out on a medal, although a fourth place is of course something to write home about. Van der Heijden is almost always on her toes and so we should definitely take her into account. This also applies to Aniek van Alphen (Cyclocross Reds), one of the most consistent ladies in current women’s cyclocross.
For Annemarie Worst (Cyclocross Reds) finished the European Championships in a low key and so they will be keen on a triumph. She was doing well in the crosses prior to the West French blubber festival and so we are not surprised when she surfaces in Dendermonde. Finally, we would also like to write down the names of Manon Baker (Crelan-Corendon), Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal) and Leonie Bentveld (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): ladies from whom we are not necessarily expected to win, but who can certainly surprise on a good day.
Favorites women’s World Cup Dendermonde, according to In de Leiderstrui
Top favorite: Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
Outsiders: Inge van der Heijden (Crelan-Corendon), Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) and Aniek van Alphen (Cyclocross Reds)
Long shots: Annemarie Worst (Cyclocross Reds), Manon Bakker (Crelan-Corendon), Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Leonie Bentveld (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal)
Favorites men’s World Cup Dendermonde 2023
Some striking news came in last week, as it was announced that Thibau Nys – on his 21st birthday – would not make an appearance in Dendermonde. And while the now 20-year-old son of Sven Nys is in a good third place after two heats in the Cyclo-cross World Cup, after a win in Waterloo and a seventh place in Maasmechelen. Nys will be there a day earlier in the Superprestigecross in Niel, but his fans do not have to travel to East Flanders the day after.
Anyone who will certainly appear at the start in Dendermonde will be the ‘brand new’ European champion Michael Vanthourenhout. The 29-year-old native of Bruges from Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal could logically not believe his luck after a second consecutive victory at the European Cyclo-Cross Championships. The self-confidence will certainly be good for the ‘Witte van Wetteren’, who often knows how to peak at exactly the right moments. The question is therefore whether ‘championship rider’ Vanthourenhout has also circled Dendermonde as being of the highest priority. But with the form he showed in Pontchâteau, it is almost inevitable that he will also be very good in Dendermonde. Also his teammate Eli Iserbyt, who was described as a multiple winner by cyclo-cross celebrity Paul Herygers, will be there in Dendermonde. Things may not have gone as hoped for the little cross rider at the European Championships, but that does not alter the fact that he is doing very well and that he must always be taken into account.
Perhaps the absolute top favorite in Dendermonde Lars van der Haar, in the absence of Nys on certainly the most advanced pawn of the Baloise Trek Lions. The ‘Terrier of Woudenberg’, number three in the European Championship, has been showing a decent level all season. After all, the 32-year-old from Utrecht has never finished outside the top five. His teammate Pim Ronhaar is slightly less constant. He did well at the European Championships in Western France, with a fourth place as the end result (he was only beaten by Van der Haar in the sprint for bronze). The 22-year-old Frisian will probably be eager to take revenge and so – despite the fact that he finished outside the top ten several times – we are marking him down!
We also have to look forward to gentlemen like Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions), Gerben Kuypers (Circus-ReUZ-technord), Ryan Kamp (Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal) and Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Corendon). These men have come close several times this cyclo-cross winter (Kuypers even won twice), but were often just not able to match the absolute cyclo-cross toppers. The cross in Dendermonde is ideally suited to change that. In that context, we are extremely curious about the somewhat underexposed Kamp, who still managed to achieve a fantastic fifth place at the European Championships.
Favorites men’s World Cup Dendermonde, according to In de Leiderstrui
Top favorite: Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions)
Outsiders: Michael Vanthourenhout and Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal)
Long shots: Pim Ronhaar, Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions), Gerben Kuypers (Circus-ReUZ-technord), Ryan Kamp (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Corendon)
TV World Cup Dendermonde 2023
The Dendermonde World Cup round can be viewed live on several channels. Sporza will be there on Canvas from 1:30 PM. The same goes for international sports channel Eurosportwhich appeared on both television (Eurosport 1) and via the online channels (Eurosport.nl/Discovery+/GCN+) provides live images.
Youri van den Berg (Twitter: @YourivndnBerg)