Puck Pieterse has competed in two races so far this cyclocross winter, but had to settle for second place on both occasions. In the United States, Fem van Empel was too strong, while Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado proved to be the better in France last Sunday.
The three will cross swords again on Saturday in Kortrijk, with Van Empel returning after a break of almost three weeks. Pieterse just returned last Sunday after a short break. "Of course I would have really liked to win, but I just bumped into a very good Ceylin. After only two weeks of training, it is not surprising that not everything has fallen into place and perhaps that is not a bad thing that it is not immediately a win when I go to the cross. These are moments from which you can learn a lot, also tactically. It also provides extra motivation," she says at Kortrijk's website.
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When asked, Pieterse discusses her good performances in the warmer months, including winning the final classification of the MTB World Cup. "Last summer I surprised myself. I knew I could perform well in the cross, but the mountain bike was still a big discovery for me."
Because of these performances, the versatile Fenix-Deceuninck rider approaches cyclocross in a different way. "I don't feel there is extra pressure at the moment. It was really cool last year that I was able to show myself in every competition. It will not be easy to do just as well, but that does not bring any extra pressure. To confirm? I have already done that for myself on the mountain bike. If you can't pedal uphill there, then you simply can't keep up," says Pieterse.