Tom Meeusen (Fidea) and one of his closest rivals in the European U23 ranks this season, Kenneth van Compernolle, have officially moved up to the Elite ranks after dominating the leader board in U23 races this season. Meeusen put in a crushing performance to take the U23 race in Baal and has also claimed wins in Kalmthout and Zolder and a second place at Scheldecross.
Meeusen has gone on to put in impressive performances in Elite fields, battling it out with the likes of Sven Nys and Niels Albert in Tervuren. Meeusen is also an excellent technical rider, a skill set that will be necessary in all of the snow that has piled up on the championship course. Bart Wellens has recently discounted his own chances, saying that his recovery hasn’t come as quickly as he would have liked. He claims to have shifted his focus to Worlds and says he’s looking out for Meeusen and Kevin Pauwels, his Fidea teammates.
With Meeusen gone, Sunday’s U23 race for the title becomes a lot tighter. As Stef Boden (AA Drink) told Sport Wereld, “I can off the cuff think of five candidates for the title: Jim Aernouts, Joeri Adams, defending champions Bastaens Vincent and myself.”
With the current, snowy course conditions, Boden sees the scales tipping more in favor of Jim Aernouts and him–two technically skilled riders.