World champion Van Empel wins solo in Antwerpen
Saturday 23 December 2023
World champion Van Empel rode to victory in Antwerpen with an advantage of 18 seconds. She took off in lap four and made it ahead of her compatriots Brand and Pieterse.
After missing Namur due to illness, world champion Van Empel (Team Jumbo-Visma) was back on the starting line in Antwerpen. Already in the first lap on Sint-Annastrand, she went into the lead together with Brand (Baloise Trek Lions). It was Brand who opened the throttle at the beginning of the race.
Van Empel was able to jump over the bars, while Brand had to set feet on the ground. It was there that the world champion put her companion under pressure, forcing a gap with Brand. Van Empel did not ride away however and in the fourth of a total of six laps Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck) was able to join the other two in front. That story did not last long because half a lap later Van Empel went flawlessly through a bend while Brand had to put feet to the ground.
The world champion kept up the relentless tempo in front. The gap could no longer be closed. Just like she did last year, Van Empel soloed to victory in Antwerpen. Brand finished in second place, 18 seconds behind. Pieterse was third at 55 seconds. World Cup leader Alvarado finished in fourth place and remains at the top of the classification after the ninth round.