The Belgian Toon Aerts and the Dutch rider Thalita de Jong won today in Pontchâteau (France), the Elite Cyclo-Cross European Champions titles.
In the Elite Men’s race, the most highly anticipated battle was between the reigning World Champion Wout van Aert and the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel. Right from the start, the best group formed and some riders were able to attack like the Belgian Laurens Sweeck, the French rider Matthieu Boulo and Mathieu van der Poel. Five laps from the finish, the most significant action was that of Toon Aerts who quickly gained a good lead and won the continental title solo at the Parc de Coët-Roz in front of 12,000 spectators. Behind him, the sprint of the pursuers who finished 45” later, was won by Mathieu van der Poel over Wout van Aert.
The prediction in the Women’s race was totally fulfilled with a superb race from the World Champion Thalita de Jong. The Dutch rider controlled the situation before attacking three laps from the finish, crossing the finish line with a 17” lead on the two pursuers, her compatriot Lucinda Brand and the French rider Caroline Mani.
The Junior race held in the morning was also won by one of the favourites, the Englishman Thomas Pidcock beating Nicolas Guillemin (France) and Timo Kielich (Belgium).
The continental competition began yesterday with the race for the Women Under 23 won by the Italian Chiara Teocchi. From the start, a group including the favourites formed, with the French rider Hélène Clauzel. In the final part of the race, Chiara Teocchi pushed the pace at only two laps from the finish. The Italian crossed the line solo with an 11’’ lead on Hélène Clauzel and the Czech Republic representative Jana Czeczinkarova.
The Men’s Under 23 race, won in the sprint by the reigning European Champion Quinten Hermans, was very exciting. On the Parc Coët-Roz’s fast and technical circuit, it was the Belgian and Dutch riders who organised themselves right from the start creating a group of around fifteen riders leading the race. There were numerous attempts to attack in the last laps but no rider managed to break away. The race played out in the sprint with a clear win by Quinten Hermans, who replicated his title won last year in Huijbergen, beating the Dutch riders Joris Nieuwenhuis and Sieben Wouters.
The next edition of the European Cyclo-Cross Championships will take place in Tabor (Czech Republic) on 5 November 2017.