With five wins this season, including four wins in her last four outings, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado has been in top form this winter. Can she continue to compete for victories once the likes of Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse return to week in week out action though?
Alpecin-Deceuninck boss Christophe Roodhooft believes Alvarado is more than capable of challenging the all-conquering van Empel. "Ceylin is very happy that she has reached her level again and she will be particularly pleased with the way she won yesterday," he tells Sporza, about Alvarado's victory at the UCI World Cup in Troyes.
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"The expectations after her world title were high and she met them. But the rise of van Empel and Pieterse left her sidetracked. Then it is extra nice that she comes back in this way. It is the victory of perseverance," Roodhooft continues.
Given her form, confidence is understandably high about the prospect of competing against van Empel. "We have to be realistic," Roodhooft explains. "Those other ladies may have intrinsically more talent. But Ceylin can take the heat for them. Who knows, she could win one in three meetings in the near future. The competition will have to be 100% to beat her."