With the arrival of rain and typical cyclocross weather, Nikki Brammeier had a successful weekend in two muddy crosses. After winning solo in the Jaarmarktcross in Niel on Saturday, she added a second place in the Superprestige Gavere on Sunday. Christine Majerus entered her first international cyclocross of the season in Gavere and finished seventh. 

Continue reading for full reports of both cyclocross races.


Nikki Brammeier wins Jaarmarktcross Niel
Nikki Brammeier has won the Jaarmarktcross Niel on Saturday, part of the Soudal Classic series. The British cyclocross champion distanced the competition in the last lap and arrived at the finish line solo. She was joined on the podium by Alice Arzuffi (Steylaerts-Betfirst) and Ellen van Loy (Telenet-Fidea Lions).
“This win means a lot for me,” Brammeier said. “I’ve been waiting for a victory for a long time.”
Brammeier had a good start to the race, leading from the beginning. She created a lead group of five, with Arzuffi, Van Loy, Loes Sels and world champion Sanne Cant (Beobank).
When Cant crashed on the tarmac and took Arzuffi and Van Loy down as well, Brammeier and Sels were able to avoid it. They were later joined by Van Loy again, while Cant continued the race, but never played any role anymore.
The leading trio of Van Loy, Sels and Brammeier were each other’s equals, never losing each other’s sight. Towards the end of the race, Arzuffi was able to catch the lead group. She didn’t wait around but took initiative straight after making contact, trying to enforce a split - but without success.
The slippery mud made it difficult to ride certain sections, but Brammeier’s technical skills eventually proved the wining move. She was able to distance her three competitors in the final lap and, covered in mud, she crossed the line with a big smile on her face. 
Although it might have looked easy, Brammeier assures us it wasn’t.
“It was a difficult race, I think the four of us were having a really good battle,” she said. “There was a lot of drama in the race and it was good for the spectators.”
“On the last lap, I tried to save some energy before I committed to the last half of the lap,” she explained her tactics. “I just went and never looked back. I took a gap and took the opportunity. I had a plan, to always stay upright and stay on the bike. I think I changed bikes one time, which is a little bit slower. I played it a little bit safe and went all in in the last lap.”
The Jaarmarktcross in Niel was the first of a double weekend for Brammeier, who will ride the Superprestige Gavere on Sunday with teammate Christine Majerus.
“Gavere is one of my favourite courses,” Brammeier said. “I’m super happy that it’s muddy now and there’s some rain. It’s real cross weather.”

Brammeier steps onto the podium in Gavere
Nikki Brammeier rode a strong race to take second place in the Superprestige cross in Gavere on Sunday, behind Ellen van Loy (Telenet-Fideo Lions). It was the second podium place of the weekend for Brammeier and her third podium in the 2017-2018 Superprestige, after second place in Gieten and third in Zonhoven.
The British champion used the slippery, muddy conditions to lead throughout the entire race with Van Loy on her wheel. Only in the last hundred meters did Van Loy pass Brammeier. Both exhausted from the fourty-minute muddy race, Van Loy won the two-up sprint for the win.
“If you told me last week that I would win yesterday and get second today, I would have been happy, so I can’t be too disappointed,” said Brammeier.
Brammeier didn’t have a perfect start, getting caught up and having to work her way back to the front. In the first lap though, Brammeier used her technical skills to catch everyone in front of her. She led the first time across with a short gap to Van Loy.
Teammate Christine Majerus, who returned to international cyclocross racing this weekend after having enjoyed her off-season, fared better at the start, leading the race into the mud. She paid a little for her fast start and dropped back a couple of places, but managed to finish seventh after a solid race.
During the four laps that the race consisted of, Brammeier led in the mud. Each lap, she increased her advantage to Van Loy on the long hill that was part of the course, but each time, Van Loy was able to get back on her wheel.
“It was really difficult but I love these conditions,” said Bramemier. “The harder the better. When it’s muddy, I always enjoy these courses.
With the danger of Van Loy behind her, Brammeier could never relax and had to keep pressure on the pedals. A crash on the last lap cost her precious time, which allowed Van Loy to reach and pass her just before the finish straight.
“The crash on the last lap, I was pretty annoyed with myself,” Brammeier said. “I think it cost me the win. But Ellen was also really strong, I think it was a good battle between us. Good for the spectators, good for the cyclocross. “
“I’m super happy, disappointed not to win, but still happy,” Brammeier concluded. “I hope the rain continues for the next few weeks and we get more difficult races.”

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