UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships: Aerts claims junior title

Thijs Aerts (Belgium) won the junior world cyclo-cross title in a thrilling race in Hoogerheide on Saturday. The Belgian jumped clear on the final lap and finished clear of Yannick Peeters (Belgium) and Jelle Schuermans (Belgium).

Home favourite Joris Nieuwenhuis put in a dogged performance but had no answer to the Belgian dominance in the final laps and eventually finished fourth.

“Beforehand I would not have believed it. I was stressing to make it into the Belgian selection and was glad that I survived the cut,” the winner said at the finish.

“It’s my first ever world championships race and I just wanted to get a good result. This win comes as quite a surprise. It’s great of course.

On one climb I made the difference as I was able to keep riding until the top whereas the others were running. In the last lap I used that advantage to ride away from Yannick Peeters.

The start of the race was marred by a crash that caused chaos in the opening sectors. Pre-race favourite and World Cup winner, Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic), lost ground and despite briefly regaining contact with the tail end of the lead group he was unable to assert any dominance and quickly began to fall back.

While Toupalik struggled the Belgian contingent came to the fore. However it was Nieuwenhuis who threw the cat amongst the pigeons as the Dutch rider set a furious pace on the first lap. By the end of the lap the leaders were spread thinly over the course with less than a dozen riders still in contention. Yannick Peeters (Belgium), Manuel Todaro (Italy), Johan Jacobs (Switzerland) were present, along with Kobe Goossens (Belgium) and Aerts. America’s Austin Vincent crossed the line after the first lap in 14th place.

As the second lap got underway the Belgians began to assert themselves on the front, sweeping by Nieuwenhuis and forcing him to counter several accelerations.

By now Toupalik was in serious trouble and losing further ground but just as Aerts and his teammates began to look in control Nieuwenhuis moved to the front once more and began to tap out a near unmatchable pace. Aerts (Belgium) and Goossens (Belgium) were the only ones who could briefly follow with Toupalik 24 seconds down after the second lap.

Goossens, Peeters and Schuermans (Belgium) then went clear on the third lap, leading Aerts and Nieuwenhuis.

However a crash on a right hand corner saw Schuermans and Goossens fall, allowing Nieuwenhuis to come back.

The fall saw Peeters able to go clear and the Belgian looked set to pick up the first rainbow jersey of the championships but Nieuwenhuis again fought back, showing his technical ability and making it four leaders with Aerts and Schuermans.

Heading into the final lap Nieuwenhuis changed bikes in the pits and Peeters swiftly moved clear. The move was closed down but no sooner had Nieuwenhuis nullified the move had Aerts laid down his winning attack.

There was now no way back for Nieuwenhuis who struggled to match Peeters with fatigue setting in. He lost his footing several times and when Schuermans caught him with half a lap remaining the sprint for bronze became a formality too.

It is the first time in history the Belgian close out the podium in the junior category. Despite their dominance in the elite ranks, Belgium's last junior world title was in 2007 with Joeri Adams. Since then only one medal was won when Wout van Aert took silver in Koksijde.

"I’m not disappointed," said Peeters.  "We’ve got three Belgians on the podium and that’s never happened before so that’s great. We’ve got a very strong generation of riders. That’s good for Belgium. Of course only one spot matters at the world championships but Thijs was stronger so I’m very satisfied with second place. He rode where everybody had to run. I tried to go with him but I was unable to hold it."

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thijs Aerts (Belgium)0:45:55
2Yannick Peeters (Belgium)0:00:10
3Jelle Schuermans (Belgium)0:00:12
4Joris Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands)0:00:13
5Kobe Goossens (Belgium)0:00:22
6Johan Jacobs (Switzerland)0:00:35
7Eli Iserbyt (Belgium)0:00:42
8Yan Gras (France)0:00:58
9Sieben Wouters (Netherlands)0:01:10
10Hugo Pigeon (France)0:01:19
11Manuel Todaro (Italy)0:01:38
12Thomas Joseph (Belgium)0:01:45
13Kelvin Bakx (Netherlands)0:01:51
14Pascal Eenkhoorn (Netherlands)0:02:22
15Sébastien Havot (France)0:02:28
16Simon Andreassen (Denmark)0:02:43
17Diego Pablo Sevilla (Spain)0:02:54
18Thomas Craig (Great Britain)Row 17 - Cell 2
19Moreno Pellizzon (Italy)0:03:00
20Timon Ruegg (Switzerland)0:03:15
21Juraj Bellan (Slovakia)0:03:25
22Kamil Malecki (Poland)0:03:35
23Kevin Geniets (Luxembourg)0:03:36
24Lucas Dubau (France)0:03:37
25Florian Vidal (France)0:03:52
26Maxx Chance (United States Of America)0:03:58
27Giulio Franzolin (Italy)0:03:59
28Willem Boersma (Canada)Row 27 - Cell 2
29Cooper Willsey (United States Of America)0:04:06
30Austin Vincent (United States Of America)0:04:10
31Gotzon Martín (Spain)0:04:14
32Andrej Petrovski (Macedonia)0:04:15
33Raúl Fernández (Spain)0:04:16
34Tadaaki Nakai (Japan)0:04:17
35Ludwig Cords (Germany)0:04:29
36Raphael Scrhöder (Germany)0:04:33
37Matej Ulik (Slovakia)0:04:43
38Lukas Kunt (Czech Republic)0:04:58
39Jack Ravenscroft (Great Britain)0:05:59
40Sean Dunlea (Great Britain)0:06:16
41Martin Matejcek (Czech Republic)0:06:25
42Peter Goguen (United States Of America)0:06:34
43Mason Burtnik (Canada)0:06:37
44Steven Schreiber (Germany)0:06:45
45Adrian Sirek (Czech Republic)0:07:03
46Lauritz Urnauer (Germany)0:07:29
47Paul Lindenau (Germany)0:08:20
48Ryo Takeuchi (Japan)0:08:31
49Sean Germaine (Canada)0:09:01
50Nicholas Smith (Australia)Row 49 - Cell 2
51Dusan Rajovic (Serbia)Row 50 - Cell 2

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