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.”