Van Empel ends 2023 with fourth place at World Cup Hulst
Fem van Empel has not been able to secure victory in the final cyclo-cross race of 2023. In Hulst, the Netherlands, the world champion had to chase for the entire race. The victory went to Puck Pieterse.
Van Empel chased Lucinda Brand and Ceylin Alvarado for most of the race. After Van Empel's victory in Gavere, she had to settle for fourth place. Van Empel fought back to the front in the closing stages but could not take her 13th win of the year. In a thrilling duel for bronze, Brand proved to be slightly quicker.
"My body still feels far from optimal due to various ailments"
"I slipped off my pedal at the start”, Van Empel said. "I lost a few places and had to chase immediately. I was able to make up a few places, but I couldn't get back to the front. I don't want to use it as an excuse, but my body still feels far from optimal due to various ailments. It's a combination of a knee injury and recovering from a cold. At this level, you have to be one hundred percent to fight for victory. The competition is in good shape, so that you can't get far at half-strength. But I can only praise my mental resilience because I didn't let my head down and kept fighting.”
On New Year's Day, Van Empel will race in Baal.