It was a successful return to cyclocross from Puck Pieterse, however one without a win. The Dutch national champion put on an aggressive performance in Troyes but could only manage a second place on the day.
“It was a very tough race, I was definitely woken up. I had a very good start, I felt like going all-in. I placed a few attacks, but then Ceylin [del Carmen Alvarado] placed one really good attack. I just couldn't keep up," Pieterse admitted following the race. The explanation was quite simple, the Dutchwoman cracked in the second half of the race, unable to keep up with a high pace, whereas Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado was able to keep it all the way into the finish.
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado over the moon with Troyes victory: "this was perhaps my most memorable victory in recent years"
"I was very enthusiastic at the start, that's for sure. The two of us immediately had a gap. Then I had to pay for it," Pieterse says. Her lap times lowered, she payed a high price for her early attacks in the race. "I think I caught my breath a bit, yes. If you haven't raced for a while, you need to get back into it," she adds however, pushing away pressure from the victory.
"Am I satisfied? Second is podium, so at least I woke up feeling good. But when Ceylin kept coming back, it came to mind that you ride more with mud tires and have more resistance. That's why I decided to switch again, but I don't know if it was faster.” Either ways the 20-year old is back to competition and will be chasing more wins in the meantime, whilst Fem van Empel is also currently away from racing.