Joris Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands) is the new world champion in the under 23 men category. The World Cup winner ruled like a boss on the muddy Luxembourg course on Sunday morning. Nieuwenhuis led from start to finish in Bieles, enjoying an advantage of 1:23 on Felipe Orts Lloret (Spain) and Sieben Wouters (Netherlands).
Overnight rain added mud and ice water as additional obstacles for the riders. The cold took out defending champion Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) and European champion Quinten Hermans (Belgium), with both performing below par.
Halfway through the opening lap, the 20-year-old Nieuwenhuis surged forward from the chaos that was forming behind him. The tall Dutch rider seemed completely in control of the slippery circumstances. In no time at all he had amassed a massive lead. The Dutch ace never crashed, and was only seen again back at the finish line.
“It was really fantastic. In the beginning, I immediately felt good. I knew before the race that I was ready for it but you don’t know in such a race like this, so I’m really happy. I just rode my own race and didn’t think of others. I knew I had to keep myself straight. I didn’t fall so that was good,” Nieuwenhuis said in the post-race flash interview.
Early on, Nieuwenhuis was joined by 2015 Junior men world champion Simon Andreassen (Denmark), but the latter quickly faded back. The chasers quickly realised that Nieuwenhuis was in a league of his own in Bieles. Halfway into the seven-lap long race, the riders were covered with mud and cold water with riders spread out over the course.
In the battle for the remaining two podium spots Nicolas Cleppe (Belgium), Thijs Aerts (Belgium) and Gioele Bertolini (Italy) had the best cards. They were nearly half a minute ahead of Joshua Dubau (France), Hermans, Orts and Wouters. By then, Iserbyt was riding just outside the top-10, having already crashed twice. ”Straight away, I was completely soaked. My race was ruined. I’m too cold. I’ve never had it this bad,” Iserbyt told Sporza, while still shivering from the cold. All riders were struggling with the slippery circumstances. Aerts and Bertolini crashed a couple of times and suddenly Orts, Dubau and Wouters managed to bridge back up.
When hitting the penultimate lap, Nieuwenhuis was more than a minute ahead of the six chasers, who were all within 20 seconds of each other. Andreassen and Hermans narrowly missed the cut. Bertolini flatted and dropped away in front. Briefly, it seemed like Aerts and Cleppe were about to flank Nieuwenhuis on the podium.
“All race long I was riding in the medals. I was 100 per cent sure I would be on the podium. I’m good friends with Thijs and it would’ve been too good to be true to be both on the podium,” Cleppe said.
Aerts, Cleppe and Orts hit the final lap together, with Bertolini and Wouters trailing them by ten seconds. Aerts flatted just before hitting the final lap and he dropped back behind Dubau and Bertolini. “I hit a rock in the big off-camber drop. When getting a new bike I saw the guys riding in front of me and tried to get back. It worked but then I flatted again,” Aerts said.
In front, Nieuwenhuis cruised seemingly effortlessly to the gold medal. At long distance, Orts was showing off his brutal power and technical skills. The Spaniard left Aerts and Cleppe behind, and reached out to claim the first-ever Spanish medal in the under 23 men category at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. Orts made no mistakes and crossed the finish line with a one-handed wheelie.
Behind Orts, five riders were battling for the final podium spot. Cleppe punctured at the back-end of the course and he tried hard to hold on to third place but was passed by Sieben Wouters and Aerts. When Aerts flatted again, Wouters grabbed the bronze medal.
“Sieben is such a boss. He’s a hero”, Nieuwenhuis said. Aerts finished fourth, just ahead of a frustrated Cleppe. Dubau was sixth and Bertolini seventh at more than two minutes from winner Nieuwenhuis. Andreassen finished in eighth place, hitting his handlebars in frustration when crossing the finish line. A few seconds later, Hermans narrowly held off Kelvin Backx (Netherlands) for ninth place. Eli Iserbyt finished seventeenth at 3:55 behind his successor Nieuwenhuis. Spencer Petrov (USA) was eighteenth. Curtis White (USA) didn’t take the start due to illness.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands)||0:53:58|
|2||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spain)||0:01:23|
|3||Sieben Wouters (Netherlands)||0:01:29|
|4||Thijs Aerts (Belgium)||0:01:34|
|5||Nicolas Cleppe (Belgium)||0:01:38|
|6||Joshua Dubau (France)||0:01:56|
|7||Gioele Bertolini (Italy)||0:02:03|
|8||Simon Andreassen (Denmark)||0:02:28|
|9||Quinten Hermans (Belgium)||0:02:30|
|10||Kelvin Bakx (Netherlands)|
|11||Clement Russo (France)||0:03:08|
|12||Maik van der Heijden (Netherlands)||0:03:13|
|13||Eddy Fine (France)||0:03:14|
|14||Lucas Dubau (France)||0:03:25|
|15||Kobe Goossens (Belgium)||0:03:39|
|16||Johan Jacobs (Switzerland)|
|17||Eli Iserbyt (Belgium)||0:03:55|
|18||Spencer Petrov (United States Of America)||0:03:58|
|19||Yannick Peeters (Belgium)||0:04:17|
|20||Nadir Colledani (Italy)||0:04:21|
|21||Timon Ruegg (Switzerland)||0:04:34|
|22||Cooper Willsey (United States Of America)|
|23||Manuel Muller (Germany)||0:04:44|
|24||Antonio Folcarelli (Italy)||0:05:18|
|25||Lance Haidet (United States Of America)||0:06:23|
|26||Marceli Boguslawski (Poland)||-1|
|27||Simon Vozar (Slovakia)||-1|
|28||Maximilian Mobis (Germany)||-1|
|29||Matej Ulik (Slovakia)||-1|
|30||Michele Bassani (Italy)||-1|
|31||Gage Hecht (United States Of America)||-1|
|32||Luc Turchi (Luxembourg)||-1|
|33||Maxx Chance (United States Of America)||-1|
|34||Lukas Meiler (Germany)||-1|
|35||Daniel Mayer (Czech Republic)||-1|
|36||Kevin Kuhn (Switzerland)||-1|
|37||Billy Harding (Great Britain)||-1|
|38||Niels Rasmussen (Denmark)||-1|
|39||David Jary (Czech Republic)||-1|
|40||Henrik Jansson (Sweden)||-1|
|41||Christian Storgaard (Denmark)||-1|
|42||Jonas Brezina (Czech Republic)||-2|
|43||Jokin Alberdi Mendizabal (Spain)||-2|
|44||Andreas Lund Andresen (Denmark)||-3|
|45||Noah Fries (Luxembourg)||-3|
|46||Trevor O'Donnell (Canada)||-3|
|47||Gosse van der Meer (Netherlands)||-3|
|48||Ben Walkerden (Australia)||-3|
|49||Hijiri Oda (Japan)||-3|
|50||Jakob Dorigoni (Italy)||-5|
|DNF||Jonas Degroote (Belgium)|
|DNF||Tony Periou (France)|
|DNF||David Eriksson (Sweden)|
|DNF||Felix Keiser (Luxembourg)|
|DNS||Curtis White (United States Of America)|
|DNS||Carl Sorensen (Denmark)|