Day 2 of the National Championships in the European powerhouses presented fast, frozen racing, with major favorites prevailing with a few upsets along the way.
The Netherlands Day 2:
Lars Boom would be ashamed if he was not racing Worlds in his homeland without the national championship jersey already in the bag, but he wasn’t brimming with confidence entering today’s race. With a week off, he was unsure of his fitness, saying, “When you have a week of doing nothing, you have questions about your form.”
So the tall Dutch rider wasted no time in testing his fitness, attacking on lap two to gap his rivals, mainly the soon-to-be-retired Richard Groenendaal and his new teammate Thijs Al. The two worked together to close the gap, and Al got as close as ten seconds by the finish, but Boom’s jersey was secure. It won’t show itself, however, unless Boom loses his defense of rainbow jersey. Video highlights are here.
In the junior race, another Lars triumphed, as heavy favorite Tijmen Eijing lost to Lars van der Haar. Van der Haar had a minute lead that was helped by a late flat by Eijing. David van der Poel took third.
1. Lars Boom (Rabobank) in 1:04:15
2. Thijs AL at 0:10
3. Richard Groenendaal 0:26
4. Gerben de Knegt 1:21
5. Eddy van IJzendoorn 1:31
Belgium Day 2:
Sven Nys took advantage of a slow start and mechanical of Niels Albert, and then survived a late slip to narrowly defend his Belgian national championship jersey.
The Belgian championships took place on a frozen course in Ruddervoorde, and the elite men fought for what is arguably the third most valuable jersey in all of cyclocross, after the World Championship and World Cup jerseys. Bart Wellens made the start, after saying he may not because his wife was expecting on the day.
Teamwork came into a play early in the race, as Nys sent teammate Rob Peeters out to put the hurt on the other Belgians. Klaas Vantournout took up the chase, and Nys followed. Young Kevin Paulwels had good legs, and joined the leading gropu.
After his early effort, Peeters dropped back, his work being done, and Sven Vanthourenhout joined to make it a leading four.
Behind, current U23 world champ Albert collided with Vervecken just after the start and broke a spoke, and rode for half a lap with his wheel rubbing the brakes. After a bike swap, Albert would chase with Wellens to try to reconnect with the leaders. Wellens was clearly having an off-day, perhaps distracted by his family matters. But Albert was determined to chase down his neighbor, Nys and would tow Wellens and the other chases to within eight seconds of the leading group.
Nys sensed his main threat was approaching, and hit the throttle, but while he could gap his companions, they returned to his wheel. But later, Vantournout lost his front wheel on a frozen section, and hit the ground hard, taking Paulwels down with him. Venthourenhout was able to avoid the crash, but would be later passed by Paulwels and a surging Albert. Vantournout would drop out from the crash
With the crash, Nys was gone, and had a gap that grew up to 15 seconds. But on the last lap defending champion rode conservatively, running a sand section and slowly climbing the stairs. Perhaps Nys was too careful, as he slipped on the stairs, and in an instant his gap was down to just a handful of seconds. Albert sensed his chance of winning was growing, and clawed his way back, but would finish just one second behind Nys by the end of the finishing pavement.
Nys was clearly not happy with his last lap finish, saying “I drove too cautious and still made a driving error. Niels example came back up to 20 meters.” Still, he maintained his title was earned, not stolen due to the crash behind him.
In the women’s race, Joyce Vanderbeken upset Sanne Cant to take the women’s race, but not without controversy after Vanderbeken’s coach impeded Cant’s way in the pits. Defending champ Loes Sels finished a disappointing eighth.
1. Sven Nys 1:04:16
2. Niels Albert at 0:01
3. Kevin peacock at 0:20
4. Sven Vanthourenhout at 0:43
5. Bart Wellens
6. Bart Aernouts
7. For the Vanthourenhout
8. Rob Peeters
9. Jan Verstraeten
10. Be bears
1. Joyce Vanderbeken in 37.50
2. Sanne Cant at 0.01
3. Veerle Ingels at 1.53
4. Nancy Bober at 2.06
5. Katrien Pauwels at 2.13
France Day 2:
The men took to the course in Pont-Château, France to contest for the French national champion’s jersey. Twice defending champion Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux) managed to hold off a charging Steve Chainel (Bouyges Telecom) in a sprint to the line to win his third consecutive national title. Chainel’s Bouyges Telecom teammate Julien Belgy rounded out the podium 5 seconds behind the winners. David Derepas (UVCA Troyes) outsprinted Cyrille Bonnand (Les Bleus de France) to take home fourth place, just 8 seconds behind Mourey.
In the women’s race, former World Champion Maryline Salvetat (Midi Pyrenées) dominated the field en route to a 49 second victory over Christel Ferrier Bruneau (Languedoc Roussillon). 1:01 behind Salvetat was Caroline Mani (Vienne Futuroscope) who outsprinted Nadia Triquet-Claude (Lorraine) to take home the bronze medal.
Italy Day 2:
Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas) proved to be the strongest man in Modena, Italy, taking home his fourth Italian crown in the last five years. Franzoi got back the jersey he lost last year after missing the national championships due to Injury. Franzoi survived a muddy, sloppy day, to best defending champion and runner up, Marco Aurelio Fontana (Selle Italia Guerciotti A.S.D.) who crossed the line 1:41 behind the multitalented Franzoi. Third place went to L Arcobaleno Carraro Team’s Marco Bianco who finished 2:21 behind Franzoi.
Cristian Cominelli (Tx Active Bianchi) defended the U23 crown he won last year by thoroughly outpacing his rivals en route to his second Espoirs championship. Second place went to Matteo Trentin (Moro Scott Bicycle Line) who finished at 1:23 followed by Patre Roberto De (Asd Aran World- Cantina) who took the bronze medal 4:35 behind Cominelli. Michele Straccia (A.S.D. Team Co.Bo Pavoni) was the last man on the lead lap out of 27 finishers at 5:19 adrift.
Switzerland Day 2:
Christian Heule (RendementhypoCycling Team) won his fourth consecutive Swiss elite men’s championship by narrowly defeating Bürgi CyclingTeam’s Simon Zahner in a mass sprint to the line. Lukas Flückiger (Trek) finished 3rd at 1 second behind, followed by Ralph Näf (VC Bürglen Märwil) at 2 seconds, Florian Vogel (Scott-Swisspower Mountainbike-Team) at 3 seconds and Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-Swisspower Mountainbike-Team) at 5 seconds.
Jasmin Achermann (Fischer-BMC) was also able to defend the Swiss title she won last year by outpacing second place finisher Katrin Leumann (goldwurst-power Sputnik) by 58 seconds. Alexandra Bähler (Rennaz Sport) was the third place finisher at 2:06.
The Swiss U23 crown went to Julien Taramarcaz (GS Selle Italia Guerciotti – VC Mendrisio) who edged 2 time Swiss Junior champ (2007, 2008) Matthias Rupp (Scott-Swisspower Mountainbike-Team) by a slim 1 second. Third place went to Romain Beney (Cyclophile Aigle DOM Cycle) who finished 6 seconds shy of victory.
Germany Day 2:
Young Gun Philipp Walsleben (Team BKCP-Power Plus) put the older fella’s to rest in the elite German championships by putting a full 45 seconds into the country’s next closest challenger, René Birkenfeld (Stevens Cyclocross Team Hamburg), who took home the silver medal. Paul Voß (Team Milram) came across the line a little north of 1 minute behind the young German. Walsleben takes home his second career German championship, with his first coming as an Espoir in 2007.
Denmark Day 2
Joachim Parbo (Århus) scored his third career Danish national title by winning this year’s episode in Kronborg, Denmark. The silver medal went to Christian Poulsen (Kolding CC) with Tommy Moberg Nielsen (CK Kronborg) taking home the silver medal.
Check back soon for more results from other countries.