The 2021-22 cyclocross pre-season is taking its first steps while the road cycling season is in its final part although some of its appointments have been rescheduled. The Dutch Lucinda Brand (Dordrecht 1989) has been the great winner of the winter season after getting the World Championship, the overall World Cup and the Super Prestige, as well as the X2O Trophy.
That good preparation and the confidence generated, has earned Lucinda to prove herself on the road with great victories and places of honor. The renewal of it announced at the beginning of June 2021 will allow us to enjoy her for at least 2 more years, both in the Baloise Trek Lions of Sven Nys and in the Trek Segafredo. And at El Sterrato we have had the honor of exchanging a few words with this superb cyclist, in which she tells us about some of her plans for the CX season.
El Sterrato: -First of all we want to thank you for being so kind to us. How did you get started in cycling ? Or maybe you started in another sport.
Lucinda Brand: –“We are a cycling family from both of my parents sides. When my brother started I quickly wanted to ride aswell. And so I started racing from my 8th. My parents are my biggest supporters and try to follow all what they can. I didn’t do many other sports only did Gymnasics bit more fanatic on young age and a lot of fun sports outside, but not in a club”.
El Sterrato: – And how did you get to cyclocross? Have you practiced it since you were very young or was it a step that you took later?
Lucinda Brand: –“Training wasn’t my most popular activity, which meant in the winter I didn’t rode my bike. Coming to a age of 14/15 it wasn’t ideal doing nothing and so I started to do cross races on the club in the weekend. That was fun, I started to do a local competition and a few years later some national races in NL and BE. Becoming an Elite rider, I got the advice to keep CX small and just as training, because the combi wasn’t possible. But I always kept the feeling I wanted to do more cross and getting older I made the choice to try to do both on a high level”.
El Sterrato: – Your last cyclocross season (2020-2021) has been spectacular. You have been on the podium in 93% of the races, you have archieved 12 victories, finished off with the Ostend World Title. How did you prepare so well in the middle of a year as complicated as 2020 was with the pandemic and confinement?
Lucinda Brand: –“2020 definitely wasn’t an easy year. I tried to see it as an opportunity to have a break from racing while didn’t retarded because other riders also came to a stop of racing. But the other side was that it was hard to keep motivation as I’m getting better by racing. I did make the choice to keep the focus on CX as the change of a ‘normal’ season was way more realistic. But getting closer to the season and having some road races I could feel the disadvantage of not race. On top of that I had a hard crash in August and became ill just before the Giro. So again, I missed some race, which made the run into the CX far from ideal. The good thing of having all the time in the forest during summer, was the improvement on the technical side. In the end I had to get better during the begin of the cross season but once I had my level the biggest challenge was keeping it”.
El Sterrato: – In September (2-5 /9) La Challenge by La Vuelta will be held in our region (Galicia), with the final stage in Santiago de Compostela. Many pilgrims, including Dutch, make El Camino de Santiago every year arriving at our Cathedral. Is it on your calendar to compete it and that the fans of Galicia can see you on our roads?
Lucinda Brand: –“La Vuelta will not be on my calendar, because I will join the CX team on a training camp preparing for the coming season. And then I will be on the start of Tour de l’Ardèche“.
El Sterrato: -The CX 21-22 World Cup schedule has already been released. With the first races in the USA, which is on the same dates as Paris-Roubaix. Are you planning to go to them or haven’t you thought about it with your team yet? (For us you are one of the clear favorites for the first Paris-Roubaix).
Lucinda Brand: –“Paris-Roubaix will be in the same weekend of the first superprestige in Gieten, one of the few races in NL. With the first WC in USA the next week it makes it a almost impossible combination. PR is such a demanding race for your body, that a good recovery is needed. So for this moment I have made the decision to keep the focus on the CX”.
El Sterrato: -Finally we have 2 more questions. Do you see growth and increased media attention on the WE Cyclocross, or are there still a lot of steps to take? And how do you approach the CX 21-22 season?
Lucinda Brand: –“There is a lot of attention to CX. I hope the sport will become more and more international which will make the attention only bigger. Most of our races are interesting till the finish. Of course this helps a lot to make our sport attractive. I want to approach the new season the same as last year. Which means a full program. We keep on working to become stronger and improving my technic”.