Hexia Cyclo-cross Gullegem WE – Preview

By @EchelonsHub

The Course

Being outside of any cup and in a heavy racing period we find ourselves tomorrow in the outskirts of Kortrijk for the Hexia Cyclocross Gullegem where we should have an exciting race that is filled with technical features.

The track in Gullegem will be dry and that will mean we will be seeing high speeds and also more opportunities for riders to recover along in the several straight patches of the circuit that they will find, however despite being a mostly flat track with no mud there will still be plenty of obstacles and those will come in the form of several patches of stairs in the early part of the course, a set of barriers just after an S turn and countless 180º degree turns that will make it a very explosive race when combined with the several little artificial banks created along the course.

Video: 2021 course, which only has some minor changes related to this year’s course, in the 2nd half of the track.

The Startlist

1.Shirin van Anrooij 2.Maghalie Rochette 3.Yara Kastelijn 4.Inge van der Heijden
5.Aniek van Alphen 6.Zoe Backstedt 7.Marion N. Riberolle 8.Suzanne Verhoeven
9.Anna Kay 10.Sidney McGill 11.Erica Zaveta 12.Marie Schreiber
13.Madigan Munro 14.Jinse Peeters 15.Joyce Vanderbeken 16.Rebecca Fahringer
17.Karen Verhestraeten 18.Evie Richards 19.Emily Werner 20.Lauren Zoerner
21.Fauve Bastiaenssen 22.Julie de Wilde 23.Jana Dobbelaere 24.Jlie Brouwers
25.Rebecca Gross 26.Loes Sels 27.Camille Devigne 28.Siobhan Kelly
29.Lotte Kopecky 30.A. de Keersmaeker 31.Susanne Meistrok 32.Meg de Bruyne
33.Lara Defour 34.Maria Parajón 35.Lotte Baele 36.Jolisa Verscheuren
37.Michelle Geoghegan 38.Kim van de Steene 39.Febe Schokkaert 40.Kiona Dhont
41.R. Breugelmans 42.Jo Blanchaert 43.Lise van Wunsel 44.Laura Greenhalgh
45.Marthe Goossens 46.Kim Knaeps 47.Pien Limpens 48.Didi De Vries
49.Laura Alagna 50.Anne van Rooijen 51.Cato Cassiers 52.Fiona Mertsens
53.Naomi de Roeck 54.Lisette Schoon 55.Jennifer Malik

The Favourites

Off the back of a heavy racing period and not being a part of a cup, this race will provide an opportunity for some riders to take an important win as some of the big names are missing. It won’t be easy to create meaningful gaps here, with the lack of climbs on the track the riders should remain rather close to each other with the differences being set on how well they can tackle the more technical sections and then accelerate out of them.

The list of favourites, without Lucinda Brand’s presence, will always widen and we have quite a big flurry of candidates for tomorrow. I would say there is no woman to beat, instead several names at a rather equal level but one thing always stays the same which is that the Dutch keep their favouritism. Number 1 here is 19-year old Shirin van Anrooij who has been settling quite well within the Elite women and has a golden opportunity to make her debut winning in Belgium. To back the nation’s chances of a win there is Yara Kastelijn who has been a shadow of herself in the last few weeks but has a chance to pop back into action, and maybe get the motivation needed for the final month and a half of racing, Inge van der Heijden who has been very consistent this season, at times brushing a big win and Aniek van Alphen who had a very strong start to the season but, like Kastelijn, is in big need of a strong result in a race like this to get that spark back.

To rival them perhaps Maghalie Rochette is the big name to take into account, the Canadian started the season off very well in North America and has almost translated that quality into a win in Besançon, but for the last few weeks she’s been hanging around the Top10 for most races, and has a golden chance to nail her first European win of the season. Despite being a Junior, having a good starting position tomorrow will boost the chances of seeing Zoe Backstedt also in action near the front, as for the Belgians they should be counting on Marion Norbert Riberolle for a strong placement.

Prediction Time

1st– Inge van der Heijden

2nd– Shirin van Anrooij

3rd– Maghalie Rochette

4th– Zoe Backstedt

5th– Marion Norbert Riberolle

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Tomorrow’s race has prizes of at least €100 and an entry fee of just €2.5. Make good use of your knowledge!

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Rúben Silva

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