Following on from his success a year ago in Namur (Belgium), Michael Vanthourenhout won his back-to-back European Elite Cyclo-Cross title today in Pont-Château (France). The Belgian rider took the lead of the race in the third lap and was able to resist in the final stages to the comeback of his closest rivals: British rider Cameron Manson and Dutch rider Lars van der Haar, who finished second and third respectively. It was a hotly contested and spectacular race in front of 8,000 spectators who thrilled the historic circuit in the Loire-Atlantique town.
In the Elite Women's category, victory went to Dutch rider Fem van Empel. The reigning world and European champion led the race from start to finish. Second place for Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Netherlands) at 1'35", third for Italian Sara Casasola at 1'56".
In the Men's Under 23 race, the Belgians Michiels and Verstrynge challenged each other, with Jente Michels launching the decisive attack on the last lap and pulling away from his compatriot to cross the finish line alone, 25" ahead of Emil Verstringe (reigning European champion) and 44" ahead of Rémi Lelandais (France), who completed the podium.
In the Women's Under 23 category, Great Britain's Zoe Backstedt dominated the race. The multiple world and European champion had virtually no rivals and attacked from the start, managing to pull away. At the finish, Backstedt was 34" ahead of Luxembourg's Marie Schreiber and 1'11" ahead of Kristyna Zemanova (Czech Republic).
French victory in the Men's Juniors, where the European champion's jersey was won by Aubin Sparfel, who won a very close two-man sprint, leaving Hungarian Zsombor Takacs behind him, while another Frenchman, Jules Simon, completed the podium.
The long day in Pont-Château began with the Junior Women's race, won solo by Celia Gery (France). Second at 26" was Britain's Cat Ferguson, while Viktoria Chladonova (Czech Republic) finished third at 31".
The first European Team Relay title was also awarded on Friday in Pont-Château: France (Aubin Sparfel, Rémi Lelandais, Joshua Dubau, Celia Gery, Electa Gallezot and Hélène Clauzel) won ahead of Great Britain and Belgium.
The next Cyclo-Cross European Championships will be held in Pontevedra (Spain) from 1 to 3 November 2024.