Cyclo-cross shorts: American Hecht wins junior race in Koksijde

Hecht wins in Koksijde, Haley on the podium in Francorchamps

The US junior men's cyclo-cross team had a strong weekend of racing in Europe with Gage Hecht winning the UCI race in Koksijde on Saturday and Gavin Haley taking third place at the Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, both in Belgium.

After dominating on the sandy terrain in Koksijde, Hecht crossed the finish line seven seconds ahead of Belgium duo Alessio Dhoore (Young Telenet Fidea) and Stefano Museeuw (Enertherm-BKCP). Haley finished the race in 11th, Cameron Beard 13th, Spencer Petrov 14th and Michael Owens 17th.

The next day Haley captured third place at the Spa-Francorchamps, finishing a minute and half behind the winner Eli Iserbyt, who took his 11th consecutive win, and Jarne Driesen, both from VZW Young Telenet Fidea. Beard ended up in 21st place, Hecht 27th, Petrov 36th and Owens 37th.

Pauwels and De Boer lead World Cup standings

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon) and Sophie De Boer (Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team) moved into the lead of the elite men’s and elite women's World Cup standings after their performances in the second round held in Koksijde on Saturday.

Pauwels, who placed second in the race to Wout Van Aert in the elite men's race, has 140 points ahead of Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon), both with 115 points. Valkenburg World Cup winner, Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano) did not race the second round and dropped to ninth overall.

"The World Cup jersey was the most important goal today. It's also good Mathieu finished in between me and the rest," Pauwels said. "The overall win is my ambition now."

De Boer was third in the elite women's race, behind winner Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) and Sabrina Stultiens (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team), but it was enough to push her up into the lead of the World Cup rankings with 90 points. Cant is sitting in second place with 88 points and Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) is in third with 82 points.

Compton suffers from asthma and allergies in Koksijde

US cyclo-cross champion Katie Compton opened the World Cup season with a victory in Valkenburg in October and was leading the overall standings heading into round two in Koksijde on Saturday. She went into the race as a favourite to win, having won it on four previous occasions, but an asthma attack and allergies caused her to fall behind and lose time to her competitors early in the race. She finished 10th place on the day and dropped to third place in the World Cup standings.

"I just had an asthma attack and allergies. I come back from being sick and don't have the fitness. The sand, the fitness, the asthma attack... a little bit of everything. I just couldn't go fast today," Compton said.

A winning weekend for Van Aert in Belgium

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace Cycling Team) captured the biggest win of his season at the elite men's World Cup in Koksijde. The young Belgian rider, 19, dominated the race with a solo win by 41 seconds ahead of Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon) and 53 seconds ahead of Mathieu van der Poel (Giant-Shimano).

"I managed to go off alone and it was incredible to be in front on the last lap with the crowds going crazy," Van Aert said.

He went on to win the under-23 men's race at the Spa-Francorchamp on Sunday in the same dominating fashion. He recovered from double flat tires after passing the mechanic's pit on course, and closed a 40-second gap to the race leader Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team). He won the race by 19 seconds ahead of Vanthourenhout and 1:23 minutes ahead of third placed rider Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team.

Kemmerer wins back-to-back races at Super Cross Cup

American cyclo-cross racer Arley Kemmerer (PB2 Pro Cycling) won both elite women's C2 races at the Super Cross Cup in Stony Point, NY on Saturday and Sunday. She won the opening round in a two-woman sprint ahead of Ellen Noble (JAM Fund/NCC), and Laura Van Gilder (Van Dessel p/b Mellow Mushroom) was third. On the second day, Kemmerer took a solo victory again ahead of Noble, but this time Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob's Red Mill p/b Steven Cycles) was third.

World Cup heads to Milton Keynes

The third round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup will takes place in Milton Keynes, UK on November 29. It is the first time that a World Cup will be outside of mainland Europe. There are a series of strong riders from Great Britain on the circuit including Helen Wyman (Kona), Nikki Harris (VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team), Gabby Durrin (Neon Velo) and Hannah Payton in the elite women's races. Ian Field has been representing Great Britain in the elite men's field, and Jack Clarkson and Jack Ravenscroft will race in the under-23 category. William Gascoyne, Cameron Biddle and Anthony Neave are competing in the junior ranks.

Following the World Cup, the venue will also host a round of the British National Series.

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