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Paulissen, Turpijn win international Granny Awards

Roel Paulissen is the winner of the 2009 Granny Award for the elite international category.

Roel Paulissen is the winner of the 2009 Granny Award for the elite international category. (Image credit: Maarten Paulissen)

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

#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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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.