Since making her cyclocross return in Dendermonde on the 12th of November, Lucinda Brand has acquitted herself extremely well, finishing on the podium of all five of the races she's ridden, winning one.
This form has given the 34-year-old hope of replicating her 2021 feat of winning the Cyclocross World Championships. “Of course that’s still in the mind to fight for,” she tells Velo from the UCI World Cup round in Dublin, in which Brand was victorious.
"A cyclocross season is not ideal preparation for a road season" - Experts look to explain Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock's reduced winter calendar
Defeating the likes of Annemarie Worst and Denise Betsema back in 2021, if Brand is to triumph this time, it will be against the next generation. “It is definitely not easy. They’re young, they’re talented, they have good technical capabilities," says Brand of stars such as Fem van Empel, Puck Pieterse and Shirin van Anrooij.
“To be honest I’ve been doubting a lot if I ever will be able to really fight with them [the younger rivals] again. It’s just hard. It also becomes a fight with yourself too. So yeah, there have been a lot of doubts. And I’m happy that I can put away the doubts at the moment,” she concludes. “If you look back to when I was last winning a cyclocross race, it’s quite a long time with some injuries in between. It’s great to be really back.”