Eckmann riding in second. GP Sven Nys 2009, Baal, GVA Trofee cyclocross series. © Bart Hazen

Eckmann riding in second. GP Sven Nys 2010, Baal, GVA Trofee cyclocross series. © Bart Hazen

by Dan Seaton

Baal, Belgium – Riding through sticky mud and occasional snow flurries on a cold New Years Day, Euro ‘Cross Camper Yannick Eckmann powered away from Diether Sweek in the last lap to take second place in the Juniors race.  Eckmann, who holds German citizenship despite living in Colorado, claimed the top result so far this season for any attendee of the camp.

Ahead of Eckmann, third place finisher Diether Sweek’s twin brother, Laurens, rode away from the field early in the race and continued untouched, racking up almost a 90 second lead over Eckmann.  Further back, Diether Sweeck managed to hold off Floris De Tier, who finished fourth, two seconds behind.  Timo Vershueren was fifth.

“I liked the course a lot,” said Eckmann after the race. “I liked the downhills and mud. It’s just a perfect course for me.”  Eckmann, for whom this marked his sixth race in Belgium, added that  he hoped that his strong Belgian campaign might propel him to a spot at Cyclocross Worlds at the end of this month.  Nonetheless, Eckmann acknowledged that the Belgian competition was much tougher than anything he had seen in the United States. “I won a few races in the States,” he said, “but here the juniors are a lot harder to race in. It’s a higher level for me to be up there—a lot harder.”

Skyler Trujillo and Jeffrey Bahnson, two other Euro ‘Cross Camp racers claimed top ten finishes as well, crossing the line in seventh and tenth place, respectively.

Meeusen Crushes U23s

In the Under-23 race, Belgian powerhouse Tom Meeusen, who has been on a tear lately, with wins in the U23’s in Kalmthout and Zolder and a second place at Scheldecross among his palmares, attacked on the first lap of the race. Meeusen, pursued by a select group including Kenneth Van Compernolle, Joeri Adams and Jan Denuwelaere, simply couldn’t be matched, opening a lead of more than 40 seconds by the beginning of the third lap. From there, it was cruise control for Meeusen, who stretched his lead to more than a minute by the end of race.

Behind him, Joeri Adams emerged from the chase group of three late in the race, gaining maybe ten seconds over Van Compernolle and Denuwelaere. Adams claimed second, while Denuwelaere outsprinted Van Compernolle for third. Robert Gavenda rode alone into fifth, almost a minute behind Adams, Denuwelare and Van Compernolle.

For the Americans, the new year brought no new luck. Brandon Mart left the race with a broken handlebar, while Danny Summerhill, Joseph Dombrowski and Zach McDonald were out of the race with four laps to go. Joshua Berry held on for another lap, but was also pulled from the race.

Photo Gallery – Juniors:

Photo Gallery – U23:

Full Results

Juniors (24 starters)
1. Laurens Sweeck (Schriek) 44:53
2. Yannick Eckmann (USA) 1:26
3. Diether Sweeck 1:37
4. Floris De Tier 1:39
5. Timo Verschueren 3:35
6. Lorenzo Pepermans 4:07
7. Skyler Trujillo (USA) 4:25
8. Gabriel Chavanne (Swi) 4:29
9. Twan Brusselman 5:39
10. Jeffrey Bahson (USA) 5:42
11. Nick van Dijke (Ned) 6:35
12. Stijn Gielen 7:17
13. Mike Van Aken 7:27
14. Olivier Vandevyver 7:42
15. Joni Geeraerts at 1 lap
16. Robin Van den Bruel
17. Bryan Borowski (Ned) at 2 laps
18. Birger Vandael at 3 laps
19. Sibe Smets
20. Alexander Verslegers at 4 laps
21. Jonas Van Rensbergen at 5 laps

Under-23
1. Tom Meeusen (Essen/Telenet/Fidea) 54:41
2. Joeri Adams 1:05
3. Jan Denuwelaere 1:13
4. Kenneth Van Compernolle 1:15
5. Robert Gavenda (Svk) 2:09
6. Stef Boden 2:24
7. Lubomir Petrus (Cze) 2:48
8. Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) 3:01
9. Tijmen Eising (Ned) 3:10
10. Wietse Bosmans 3:11
11. Corné Van Kessel (Ned) 3:15
12. Kevin Cant 3:37
13. Jim Aernouts 3:40
14. Twan van den Brand (Ned) 3:47
15. Jiri Polnicky (Cze) 4:05
16. Vinnie Braet 4:21
17. Dave De Cleyn 4:35
18. Vincent Baestaens 5:36
19. Kevin Eeckhout 5:52
20. Pawel Szczepaniak (Pol) 6:05
21. Thomas Vernaeckt 6:14
22. Jelle Brackman 6:40
23. Kobus Hereygers (Ned) 7:09
24. Kristof Cop 7:16
25. Jasper Ockeloen (Ned) 7:29
26. Dany Lacroix 8:06
27. Jan Van Zeebroeck 8:34
28. Mattias Nilsson (Zwe) 8:46
29. Dries Pauwels 9:33
30. Kristof Zegers 10:08
31. Stijn Mortelmans at 1 lap
32. Jens Gys
33. Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)
34. Ritchie Denolf
35. Ben Roach (GBr) at 2 laps
36. Ingmar Uytdewilligen
37. Myagmasuren Baasankhuu (Mgl)
38. Raf Risbourg
39. Geert van der Horst (Ned)
40. Bart Barkhuis (Ned) at 3 laps
41. Joshua Berry (USA)
42. Kenny Maes
43. Khangarid Naran (Mgl)
44. Thomas Lowe (GBr)
45. Niels Dirikx
46. Mitchell Huenders (Ned) at 4 laps
47. Zach McDonald (USA)
48. Karl Peeters
49. Sean De Bie
50. Joseph Dombrowski (USA)
51. Daniel Summerhill (USA)
52. Manuel Timmermans (Ned)
53. Rutger La Haye.