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The majority of European nations held their cyclo-cross national championships this weekend, and...
The majority of European nations held their cyclo-cross national championships this weekend, and many of the titles fell into familiar hands. Sven Nys defended his place as Belgium's top dog, taking his sixth career championship in his typical dominant fashion. World Champion Lars Boom defended his title in the Netherlands against the onslaught of the AA-Drink team of Thijs Al and Richard Groenendaal. Remarkably, he has taken the national title every year since 2001 - the first three as a junior, the next three as an under-23 and the final three as an elite rider.
Things were quite different in Germany, where Philipp Walsleben stunned the elite ranks by winning the championship as an under-23 rider. He is currently leading the espoirs Superprestige and is a strong candidate to inherit the U23 world championship from Niels Albert.
The familiar names continued to shine in other countries. Peter Presslauer took his eighth Austrian 'cross title, Christian Heule took number five in Switzerland, as did Gusty Bausch in Luxembourg. In Italy, Enrico Franzoi reclaimed the title he was unable to defend due to injury last year, making it four in the elite ranks to add to his four victories as an espoir. Frenchman Francis Mourey also claimed his fourth national championships in a tight race with the Bouygues Telecom duo Steve Chainel and Julien Belgy.
In Germany, World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel added to her already dense palmares by piling on her sixth consecutive win in the elite women's cyclo-cross, bringing her record to eight in cyclo-cross and 23 total German championship gold medals.
In the Netherlands, Daphny Van den Brand took back the title which she has owned for eight of the past ten years. Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel, who took second today, has been the only other rider able to claim the Dutch title (2008, 2004). Boy Van Poppel took home the Dutch espoirs jersey for the second year running.
Perhaps the most impressive display of repeat victories came from Irish champion Robin Seymour, who took his 16th career crown ahead of Conor McConvey. The 37-year-old beat the McConvey, 19, in a two-man sprint for the line.
Other repeat winners include Helen Wyman, who took her fourth British championship, Zdenek Stybar, who took his third career title in the Czech Republic, and Joachim Parbo took his third Danish championship.