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Honsinger impresses with 2nd place European World Cup finish

Posted by on December 22nd, 2020 at 1:59 pm

Clara Honsinger (left) and the stars and stripes on the podium.
(Image via Flobikes.com video)

Riding past the World Champ like it’s no big deal.

Portland local Clara Honsinger continued her ascension into the top ranks of cyclocross with a second place finish at the UCI World Cup in Namur, Belgium on Sunday.

Honsinger (Cannondale P/B Cyclocrossworld.com) stormed through the field and set her sights on a podium finish about half-way through the grueling, one-hour race. On the third lap, Honsinger pedaled past current World Champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) for third place. “It’s wonderful to see from the American,” said race commentator Anthony McCrossan, who was clearly impressed with the 24-year-old rising star. Not satisfied with a podium position, Honsinger rode the difficult Namur course with enough skill and speed to catch and pass Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) for a comfortable second place finish.

It’s a massive accomplishment for Honsinger to not only get her first European World Cup podium, but to do it at Namur which is considered by most people to be the toughest course on the circuit.

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Honsinger won the U.S. Under-23 National Championship in 2018, then followed it up by winning the Elite National Championship last year. Honsinger raced for Portland-based Sellwood Cycle Repair – Team S&M the past two years and signed a pro contract with the Cannondale – Cyclocrossworld.com team back in August.

Sunday’s performance sets Honsinger up well for the Covid-shortened World Cup scheduled. She’ll have three more races before the UCI World Championships on January 30th.

Keep up with Clara and support her season by following her on Instagram.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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SERiderjered l bogliDavid HampstenLazy SpinnerMiddle of the Road Guy Recent comment authors
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Jeff
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Jeff
Ryan
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Ryan

Was disappointed that this was one of the few major CX races not available on the GCN app in the U.S. Apparently, Betsema was getting a little aggressive with Clara while she was overtaking Betsema for 2nd place, glad Clara dropped her anyway 🙂

Jeff
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Jeff

You can see a grab at about 3:00 in the highlight video, weak.

Brian
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Brian

Thanks for posting this. If anyone finds the full race anywhere online, let us know. Are there American Men doing ok this year so far? I need to start paying attention.

AL Dente
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AL Dente

I had to use a VPN to watch live that morning. The women’s racing has been great this year!

Anthony
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Anthony

I have heard this is the go to site to see almost any professional bike race. Live and videos of old races. tiz-cycling.io/main

SERider
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SERider

If you get a good VPN (and watch from another country), you can watch the races live on other countries streaming. Then you can watch the replay on the UCI’s youtube channel.

SERider
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SERider

Curtis White is the only American man that went over to Europe this season. All the domestic US races were cancelled so most thought it likely wasn’t worth it (or didn’t have the funds). Curtis is doing pretty well with some top-20s in world cups.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

I’ve been to Namur, but not the race course. A very beautiful hilly city with a gigantic citadel, site of many major battles. Capital of Wallonia, the French-speaking state of Belgium. There’s a good hotel next to the train station.

Middle of the Road Guy
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Middle of the Road Guy

How were the bakeries?

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

Great pastries and breads! They also have a weekly book fair with open stalls along several streets, selling used and rare books, as well as graphic novels and comic books. Several excellent book stores there too (or at least there was in 2012 when I was last there.)

Middle of the Road Guy
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Middle of the Road Guy

I’ve always wanted to go to Belgium to combine a beer tour and check out where my father was in WW2. He was in the Battle of the Bulge (Hurtgen Forest) before being moved to Bastogne days before the Siege.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

Belgium and the areas around it (Duchy of Burgundy) are a beautiful part of the world, lots of history, battlefields, and bike races. The northern plain, Flanders, Brebant, Zeeland, Gelderland, and Holland is flat but has always been pretty rich since the 1100s, with cities to match. The south, Wallonia and Limburg, is hilly, sparsely populated, forested and a bit poorer, is well worth exploring.

I’ve passed through the rugged Ardennes region several times: between Brussels and Luxembourg, which is a fairly scenic fast train that passes through Namur; between Luxembourg and Liege Belgium on a slower train, which is REALLY scenic, lots of canyons, tunnels, and streams; and I also once took a train through a back route from Trier to Koln, on the German side; Trier to Koblenz along the Mosel is a long canyon with incredible trellised vinyards. Luxembourg is a city built on forested mesas, with very deep canyons – Patton is buried near there. Nearby Trier is the oldest historic city in Germany, lots of Roman buildings and ruins. Arlon and Bastogne are also Roman in origin. Along with Namur, I highly recommend Bruges and Ghent/Gand/Gaunt in the north, in Flanders (not Ned).

I once took a train from Lille to Amiens in France. All along the route was cemetery after cemetery – I later learned I was passing through the Somme battlefield. Agincourt (now Azincourt) is just a bit north of Lille, near Belgium.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

I enjoy reading about history and then visiting places involved, including WW2 areas like the Ardennes, but to be honest I had never heard the Battle of Hurtgen Forest until you mentioned it, still apparently the longest battle the US Army has ever fought (3 months in late 1944, before the Battle of the Bulge). If you get a chance, the nearby city of Aachen (Aken in Dutch; Aix-La-Chapel in French) is well worth the visit – I have never seen a cathedral even remotely like theirs, plus Charlemagne’s bones are in a glass box inside. Nearby Maastricht is also worth visiting, actual hills in the Netherlands.

Memorials commemorating WW2 are rare in cities in Europe – I saw one in an out-of-the-way spot in Worms, a few in Britain, and a big plaque in Luxembourg – but mostly what you see are the rebuilt cities bombed by the various sides. However, I did look closely at a structure that the Germans built in all their cities (and most occupied ones too) that resembles an huge oversize outhouse about 60 feet high, reinforced concrete, asymmetrical construction, designed to house a hospital and fire station even as the rest of the city is being bombed and destroyed. The one I saw was in Trier, but apparently Vienna has 4 of them and was completely unsuccessful dynamiting one of them a few years ago (they are very ugly.)

Rebecca
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Rebecca

The first-place finisher pulled ahead early so for the last three laps the cameras were all on Honsinger and Betsema. Clara fought for it so hard! The two of them had been right on each other’s wheels but she pulled ahead in the last lap and took her lead to the finish line. Betsema congratulated her after the race & Clara looked right at home on the podium. Great to see it.

Middle of the Road Guy
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Middle of the Road Guy

I encountered her on the road two years ago…could not keep her wheel – that lady is fast!

Lazy Spinner
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Lazy Spinner
David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

I know this has nothing to do with much of anything else, but when I see links to races in other countries, I then go to Google Maps to see if I’ve ever been in the area (I have been to some nearby cities, but not to that community), then I start to explore the area using satellite images. I note that Dendermonde Belgium has the kind of bicycling infrastructure we all want our cities to have and fantasize about, including protected bike lanes and intersections along the major roads and highways: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Station+Dendermonde/@51.0324792,4.1067948,126m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x47c3913015d0625f:0x6ab65978d5c280d!2s9200+Dendermonde,+Belgium!3b1!8m2!3d51.025477!4d4.1019516!3m4!1s0x0:0x72b2e38b6d0dec00!8m2!3d51.0232103!4d4.1011834

jered l bogli
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jered l bogli

GO CLARA!! Her PNW foundation for sure gave her an advantage in the conditions at Dendermonde!