One of the biggest teams in cyclocross has a new leader. See the news below.

New Team Leader For Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal

Ryan Kamp celebrates an emotional win. U23 Men. 2020 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Dübendorf, Switzerland. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Ryan Kamp celebrates an emotional win. U23 Men. 2020 UCI Cyclocross World Championships, Dübendorf, Switzerland. © B. Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Belgian-based cyclocross team Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal will have a new team leader from the start of September.

49-year-old Dutchman Richard Groenendaal succeeds Gianni Meersman and will join the team on September 1, as reported by News In 24. The former rider was commended by team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen, who claimed he has “personality and charisma” and showed “a lot of knowledge” as a studio guest on television over the last couple of years.

Groenendaal comes from a rich cycling heritage. His father, Reiner, was an Elite cyclocross cyclist and was Dutch Elite champion in 1985, whilst he was a Dutch Junior champion in 1988 and 1989. In 1993 he turned professional after taking part in the Olympics road race, where he finished 17th. He is perhaps most well-known for winning the Cyclocross World Cup in 1998, 2001, and 2004 and becoming World Champion in 2000. His last major victory came in 2008 when he won the Hamburg Cross.

He joins the Belgian team at an exciting time, as several of their riders look set for a solid future in the sport. The team’s riders finished first and second at the 2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships this year in the Men’s Under 23 race. Pim Ronhaar conquered the sand in Ostend to take gold, and he looks to have a solid and exciting future under Groenendaal. The 19-year-old from Leeuwarden already has a host of junior titles under his belt, as well as a third-place finish in the Under 23 category at the Dutch National Cyclo-cross Championships. That is an event Groenendaal knows well, having won gold on eight occasions between 1994 and 2005.

Ryan Kamp took silver at the championships this year, finishing eight seconds behind his teammate and 14 seconds ahead of Belgium’s Timo Kielich. Kamp is also Dutch, born in Heerenveen, and is a year older than his teammate. He defended his position as the top rider in the Under 23 category, unsuccessfully, having comfortably taken the gold medal in the 2020 event held in Dübendorf, Switzerland, leading Switzerland’s Kevin Kuhn by 36 seconds.

Both riders will have one eye on the exploits of 26-year-old Mathieu van der Poel, who beat Wout van Aert to the Men’s Elite race title in Ostend. Whilst van Aert is making his name in the Tour de France this month, van der Poel, who also made history in France, is the man Groenendaal will be hoping to help his team members catch. Those two are ranked odds on favorites by Bwin Sports to finish in the top three of the 2022 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships and are the men to catch if Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal is to elevate to the next level in the cyclocross field.

Much of the team’s focus will now be on preparation for January’s huge event, to be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in the United States. It will be a historic event as it is only the second time it has been held outside of Europe, having once taken place in Louisville back in 2013. Taking place over two days at the end of the month, Kamp and Ronhaar will be determined to continue their progression and hopefully use Groenendalls’ experience to ascend to the elite race with a degree of success.