With a strong race, Nikki Brammeier finished second in the IKO Cross Essen on Saturday, behind Sanne Cant (IKO-Beobank) and ahead of Katie Compton (Trek). It was a fierce battle between the British champion, world champion and American champion from halfway though the race, before Cant attacked in the penultimate lap to take the win.
“You always want to win a race, but I gave everything I could,” Brammeier said. “And second was the best place I could get today.”
With fresh motivation and renewed spirit after a weekend off racing to train in sunny Spain, Brammeier returned to racing this weekend in the fourth round of the DVV Trofee series.
Brammeier stood third ahead of the IKO Cross, but with a muddy course in Essen, Belgium, it offered the perfect conditions for her to improve her position in the classification – which she did, jumping back up to second place overall after the race. Compton increased her lead in the classification.
“To be honest, I don’t really think about it until the last couple of races,” Brammeier said of her overall position. “I just want to get the best result I can every time and if that’s first, or second, that’s what it is on the day.”
The race took place in two parts. In the first part, Brammeier, Cant and Ceylin Alvarado (Kleur op Maat) formed a lead group of three. The three women had a small gap on the first chasers and cooperated well. When Cant made a technical mistake in the mud, Brammeier used this to her advantage to take the lead and leave the competition behind.
Cant managed to get back to the lead, but instead of Alvarado in her wheel, it was now Compton who joined the lead group. The three women never gave away their lead in this second part of the race. But when Cant rode away from her rivals in the penultimate lap, she kept her lead until the finish line. Brammeier crossed the line ten second later.
“I’m super happy, I wasn’t really sure how I’d come back off the back of a training block, but I felt pretty good,” Brammeier said. “I’m looking forward to the next block of races.”
Brammeier lines up for the Druivencross in Overijse, Belgium, tomorrow. “It’s one of my favourite races, the course is super fun, hilly and heavy as usual, so it should be good.” The start of the elite women’s race is at 1.45pm CET.