While most of the U.S. (including CXM’s full team) had its attention on the 2017 Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, CT, many of the cyclocross countries across the pond also had their championships, albeit not in the form of a week-long event.

In Belgium, the favorites rose to the top, with Wout van Aert (Creland – Charles) powering his new Felt cyclocross bike to keep what’s arguably the second-most prestigious cyclocross jersey hanging in the closet. (The 2017 Cyclocross World Championships in Luxembourg will dictate whether it ever makes an appearance.)

Van Aert had time to celebrate, shooting an invisible gun, perhaps mimicking a rival Dutch sniper, and lifting his bike into the air in a salute cyclocross fans saw by Stephen Hyde in Hartford, without the late-race heart-stopping mechanical drama.

Without Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel (he would defend his Dutch title), the cagey perpetual third place Kevin Pauwels (Marlux – Napoleon Games) seized the opportunity to step up higher on the podium, using his trademark patience and late-race surge to claim second by outkicking Laurens Sweek and Tim Merlier on the last lap in an exciting race for second.

See the race in the full Belgian National Championships men’s race video and results below the slideshow, and stay tuned as we catch up on the other European National Championship races including the women’s Belgian race.

2017 Belgian Cyclocross National Championships Video – Elite Men

2017 Belgian Cyclocross National Championships: Elite Men - Ostend / Oostende

1Wout VAN AERT231:01:15100
2Kevin PAUWELS331:02:0460
3Laurens SWEECK241:02:0540
4Tim MERLIER251:02:1530
5Toon AERTS241:02:3725
6Tom MEEUSEN291:02:4120
7Michael VANTHOURENHOUT241:02:4915
8Jim AERNOUTS281:02:5610
9Gianni VERMEERSCH251:03:045
10Klaas VANTORNOUT351:03:053
11Rob PEETERS321:03:40
12Jens ADAMS251:03:45
13Daan SOETE231:04:31
14Vincent BAESTAENS281:04:39
15Diether SWEECK241:04:50
16Dieter VANTHOURENHOUT321:04:55
17Braam MERLIER231:05:00
18Angelo DE CLERCQ261:05:11
19Eli ISERBYT201:05:12
20Stijn HUYS311:05:28
21Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE291:05:48
22Jappe JASPERS19
24Bart HOFMAN32
26Vinnie BRAET26
28Quincy VENS31
30Dave DE CLEYN29
31Hendrik SWEECK25
32Kevin CANT29
34Mathieu WILLEMYNS27
35Pascal COLAERT28
36Dario TIELEN23
37Dries PAUWELS29
39Wouter GOOSEN31
40Jens GYS28
41Niels KOYEN26
42Vincent OGER23
43Jochem DANCKAERS41