Cyclo-cross national champions crowned around the world

Belgium - Van Aert wins first elite ‘cyclo title in hometown Lille, Cant wins seventh

Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) won his first elite cyclo-cross title in front of a hometown crowed in Lille, Belgium, on Sunday. The 21-year-old took a solo victory ahead of Laurens Sweeck (Era Real Estate - Murprotec) and veteran Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink).

Van Aert dedicated the victory to his dad saying, “The last lap I had to hold back not to celebrate. When passing the pit I saw my father. It’s been a few rough weeks. It’s a win for my father.”

Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) won her seventh title in the elite women’s category, taking a solo win by nearly half a minute ahead of Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea), while Loes Sels (Young Telenet-Fidea) finished third. “It will not be easy to keep racking up the titles,” Cant said. “I might have bad luck one year. I’m pleased with every title I capture.”

Jappe Jaspers (BKCP-Enertherm) won the junior men’s title, Femke Van Den Driessche won the under-23 women’s title and Thijs Aerts won the under-23 men’s title.

Netherlands - Van der Poel and De Jong claim Dutch titles

World Champion Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) won the elite men’s title in the Netherlands, beating Lars Van Der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) by a slim margin and his own brother David Van der Poel in Otegem.

“I had come very motivated to Otegem and considered this to be so much more than simple training,” Mathieu Van der Poel said. “In ‘cross you can’t win without going deep.”

Thalita De Jong won the elite women’s title ahead of Sabrina Stultiens and Maud Kaptheijns.

Great Britain - Upset victories see Killeen and Harris secure titles

In Shrewsbury, Liam Killeen (Specialized Racing) took top honours in the elite men’s race at the British Cyclo-cross National Championships, taking an upset win over race favourite Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles Ridley RT), who had won the race on four previous occasions. Jack Clarkson (Hope Factory Racing) finished third.

Nikki Harris (Boels Dolmans CT) also took an upset win over nine-time champion Helen Wyman (Kona), who led the race from the start until she crashed on the last lap.

Harris won by nearly a minute over Wyman, while Delia Beddis (Vicious Velo) finished third. “I came into Nationals a little unsure of my form, but I really liked the course,” said Harris, who was sick during the end of December.

“It was heavy and muddy, and my new bikes rode really great. I’m so happy I could take the title – and that I could do it in Boels-Dolmans colours.”

Evie Richards (100% ME) won the under-23 women’s race and Iain Paton (100%me) won the under-23 men’s race.

Germany – Walsleben and Brandau win in Vechta

Philipp Walsleben won the elite men’s cyclo-cross championships in Vechta, Germany, on Sunday, taking the win by a minute ahead of Sascha Weber and Marcel Meisen.

Elisabeth Brandau won the elite women’s race by half that margin ahead of Jessica Lambracht and Lisa Heckmann.

Luxembourg – Helmig wins elite men’s title, Majerus adds ‘cross to road and time trial titles

Christian Helmig won the elite men’s title in Hesperange, Luxembourg, ahead of Gusty Bausch and Massimo Morabito. Boels-Dolmans’ Christine Majerus, a favourite ahead of the women’s race, won the elite title by a five-minute margin ahead of Edie Antonia Rees and Suzie Godart.

It is Majerus’ third title, as she is already the national champion in the road race and time trial. “People think it’s easy for me to get my titles,” said Majerus following her win on Sunday.

“Most of the journalists here act as if it’s done before the race even begins. That’s not how I feel at all. It’s still a race – and it’s a race where anything can happen,” Majerus said on the team website.

“It’s also not very motivating when everyone tells you it’s already done, so I don’t act as if it’s done. I still fight for it and give it 100 per cent. Giving only 70 per cent is not my nature, and it would be disrespectful for the spectators, organizers and other cyclists.”

France - Mourey and Mani claim French titles

Francis Mourey continued his domination of French cyclo-cross winning the national title by five seconds over Clément Venturini and a minute ahead of John Gadret.

Caroline Mani, who mainly races in the US for the team Raleigh-Clement, won the French title in the elite women’s race in Besançon on Sunday. She won by two minutes over runner-up Laure Bouteloup and Marlène Morel Petitgirard.

Defending champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was not in attendance this year. She pulled out of the cyclo-cross season in November after suffering a tibial plateau fracture during a training ride.

USA - Powers and Compton defend stars-and-stripes

In what turned out to be an unexpectedly cold event at the USA Cyclo-cross National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina on Sunday, defending champions Jeremy Powers (Aspire) and Katie Compton (Trek) earned stars-and-stripes jerseys in the elite men’s and women’s events, respectively.

Both races gave way to exciting three-way battles but finished with predictable champions, with Powers claiming his fourth title and Compton claiming her 12th.

The elite men’s race showcased the talents of veteran Powers against his younger compatriots Stephen Hyde (, who finished second ten seconds back, and Logan Owen (California Giant Strawberries) in third. While Jonathan Page finished off the podium in fourth place.

It was also a close women’s race as Compton dueled with Georgia Gould (Luna) for the national title, winning by a 22-second advantage. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) held onto the pair for as long as she could but fell off pace with a lap to go and finished an additional 12 seconds back in third.

Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle Co) claimed the junior men’s title, Ellen Noble (Jam Fund) won the under-23 women’s race and Tobin Ortenblad (Cal-Giant) won the under-23 men’s race.

Denmark – Andassen and Bohe take Danish titles

Simon Andeassen and Carline Bohe won elite titles at the Danish cyclo-cross championships on Sunday in Kalundborg. Andeassen took his win by nearly 30 seconds over Kenneth Hansen and Klaus Nielsen was third an additional minute back.

The women’s race came down a two-up sprint between Bohe and Malene Degn, while Margriet Helena Kloppenburg.

Ireland – Aiken and McCluskey win in Rostrevor

In Rostrevor, Ireland, it was Rodger Aiken who took the title ahead of David Montgomery and Glen Kinning. Beth McCluskey won the elite women’s title leaving Maeve O’Grady and Maria Larkin to settle for the remaining podium places.

Spain - Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga Ibanez

There were more than 80 participants in the elite men’s race but it was Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga Ibanez who won the title in Torrelavega, Spain. Kevin Suarez Fernandez was second and Ismael Esteban Aguando was third.

Aida Nuno Palacio won the elite women’s title, beating sisters Lucia and Alicia Gonzalez Blanco.

Switzerland – Forster and Frei win Swiss championships

Lars Forster took the win at the Swiss championships held in Dagmersellen. He won by ten seconds over Julien Taramarcaz and an additional 30 seconds over third place Nicola Rohrbach.

Sina Frei won the elite women’s race after a sprint to the line ahead of Nicole Koller, while Lise-Marie Henzelin finished third almost a minute back.

Italy – Italian titles go to Bertolini and Lechner

It was a close race in Forgaria nel Friuli as Gioele Bertolini won the Italian title by five seconds ahead of veteran racer Enrico Franzoi. Cristian Cominelli was third by a mere two more seconds back.

Eva Lechner won the Italian title, finishing the elite women’s race almost three minutes ahead of runner-up Anna Oberparleiter and Alessia Bulleri.

Lechner announced in December that after spending most of her career with the Colnago Team, she has signed for the American squad Luna Pro Team beginning in the 2016 season.

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