Paulissen, Turpijn win international Granny Awards

Tielens, Nelen take home top national honors

Roel Paulissen and Laura Turpijn were among the winners of the 2009 Granny Awards presented this weekend in Diest, Belgium. Awards were given out to Belgian and Dutch mountain bikers who excelled in racing at a national and international level.

Paulissen won the international elite men's award ahead of Rudi Van Houts and Bas Peters. The Belgian beat the two Dutchmen after winning his second world marathon title this season. Jelmer Pietersma finished fourth and Sven Nys was fifth.

"My best accomplishments are winning gold medals in the marathon World Championships - especially doing it two years in a row. I am proud of that. Maybe next year, I will win for a third time?" said Paulissen.

"My next target is the Olympic Games (in 2012). So I will get as many points as possible next season with the hope we can send a minimum of two, maybe three riders for Belgium. Curently only one cyclist is qualified to go."

"In the sport of mountain biking, the circuits have changed," said Paulissen, an experienced racer. "Everything is faster and more technical. I am in the sport for almost two decades. When I started, the races were longer. Now they have shortened up."

The international elite women's award was a tight contest between Laura Turpign and Githa Michiels. Both women had good World Cup results and World Championship results. Turpign eventually emerged as winner ahead of Michiels and Monique Zeldenrust. Kritien Nelen was fourth and Arielle van Meurs was fifth.

It was the second year Turpign won the women's award. "It was much harder this year," she said. "I trained more than six hours per day - that was something."  She explained what is behind her success.  "I always look at life positively. Mountain biking is a fun sport, and the 2012 Olympic Games is my next goal."

A final international award went to Under 23 rider Irjan Luttenberg who was voted number one, ahead of Sebastien Carabin and Henk Jaap Moorlag.

Luttenberg is looking forward to riding in 2010 for the Trek - Bart Brentjens team, with whom he recently signed. "Despite some setbacks this year, I still had some bright performances. Next year, I'll race with a new team. Brentjens is someone with great experience. His is the best guidance I can imagine. Now I will set higher goals such as the Olympics."

In the national competition, Jimmy Tielens won the elite men's category after he won both the Flanders and Benelux Cups. Belgian marathon champion Nicolas Vermeulen and Kevin Van Hoovels rounded out the top three.

"Winning the Benelux Cup was a goal for me this year," said Tielens, who was third last year. "I trained hard all winter and always try to be better. This year I peaked at Averbode. Next year I want to do for the Benelux Cup and European Championships. This year was my best season yet. I got 16th in a World Cup in Canada. My family and my wife gave me so much support."

Belgian National Champion Kristien Nelen took top honors in the women's national award. She shared the stage with Joyce Vanderbeken and Sanne Cant.

Nelen said, "Githa Michiels was the best in the Benelux Cup. But with luck, I was able to win. It is not always the strongest who wins. I want to improve every year, and next year I want to do the World Cup and be the Belgian Champion again, but the competition will be heavy. The younger riders are moving up, too. It will be exciting."

Jens Vandekinderen won top honors among the newcomers; Jeff Luyten won best junior man; and Elise Marchal was the revelation of the year among the junior women. Marchal was pleased with her World Cup and is looking forward to next year, also her final year in school. She hopes to repeat her good season of 2009. Luyten is looking toward the 2016 Olympics, but for now, is happy with being in the top 20 in the World Cup. He was also Belgian champion for the first time.

The youngest of the youth were not forgotten. Arnaud Beeckman, Gianni Van Doninck and Remy Mertz won the 12-, 13-, and 14-year-old categories respectively.

Benelux Champion Gerrit Delfosse won the Masters 1 while Patrik Wellens, winner of the Beneluxcup, took home top Masters 2 honors.

Granny Award Winners 2009

International elite men
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Roel Paulissen  
2Rudi Van Houts  
3Bas Peters  
4Jelmer Pietersma  
5Sven Nys  
International elite women
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Laura Turpijn  
2Githa Michiels  
3Monique Zeldenrust  
4Kristien Nelen  
5Arielle Van Meurs  
Internation Under 23 men
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Irjan Luttenberg  
2Sebastien Carabin  
3Henk Japp Moorlag  
4Tom Meeuwsen  
5Niels Wubben  
National elite men
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Jimmy Tielens  
2Nicolas Vermeulen  
3Kevin Van Hoovels  
4Patrick Gaudy  
5Hans Urkens  
National elite women
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Kristien Nelen  
2Joyce Vanderbeken  
3Sanne Cant  
4Petra Mermans  
5Nancy Bober  
National 12-year-olds
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Beeckman Arnaud  
2Knaeps Jasper  
3Derveaux Niels  
National 13-year-olds
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Van Doninck Gianni  
2Seykens Scott  
3Vanpol Nick  
National 14-year-olds
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Mertz Remy  
2Bruyr Augustin  
3Dehaeze Mathieu  
Novices
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Jens Vandekinderen  
2Jens Schuermans  
3Laurens Sweeck  
4Didier Bats  
5Pieter Geluykens  
National Under 23 men
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Olivie Labie  
2Sebastien Carabin  
3Nick Daems  
4Tom Meeusen  
5Tim Wijnants  
National junior men
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Jeff Luyten  
2Bart De Vocht  
3Ruben Scheire  
4Fabrice Mels  
5Matthias Bossuyt  
Masters 1
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Gerrit Delfosse  
2Peter Verstraete  
3Telly Parys  
4Wim Feyaerts  
5Geoffrey Maes  
Masters 2
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Patrick Wellens  
2Ronny Geerts  
3Erik Evers  
4Benny Heylen  
5Ivan Porters  
Young women
#Rider Name (Country) Team 
1Elise Marchal  
2Steffi Derveaux  
3Claudia Claesen  
4Caroline Soussigne  
5Annelies Derveaux  

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