This cyclocross season started of quite unusual. Warm and dry weather felt a bit strange as cyclocross is associated with mud, rain and snow. But beginning during the last weekend, the weather turned more and more into something familiar for the fans of mud, sweat and tears.
While the former parcours in Hamme-Zogge had been a deep and muddy meadow, the new location in Hamme-Meulenbroek where the Flandriencross took place for the second time is much more diversified. Some meadow parts are still vulnerable to become a mud feast, but the wooded sections showed some fast sectors and technical challenges showed up on the BMX track.
Nevertheless the rainfalls of the past days turned the track in a slippery and strength-sapping field. During the races quite a few rider should face a direkt (and sometimes kind of face to face) contact with flanders grounds.
The U17 race saw a winner no one had heard of before. The swiss champion Laris Roulier appeared on belgian ground for the first time and won a bit suprisingly. At the junior’s race, the dominator of last years U17 races Florian Vermeersch managed to gain his first victory of the season.
This year Eli Iserbyt starts in the category of the U23 riders. And he seems to continue where he stopped last year at the juniors: In Hamme the young talent from the Telenet-Fidea team could raise his arms in the air to glory in victory one more time.
A short charity race was scheduled just before the launch of the women’s race. A bunch of five former world champions ((Niels Albert, Danny de Bie, Paul Herygers, Erwin Verwecken and Bart Wellens) representing a total of nine world champion titles competed two laps in a race for the good of a foundation for the research of cardiac deseases. With a lot of fun and a small sporting effort Niels Albert won the race in a final sprint ahead of Erwin Verwecken. Bart Wellens, beeing handicapped with a bit of weight he gained after terminating his active carreer, finished in third position. During the podium ceremony, Niels Albert was champained by his comrades before he managed to hand over a genereous cheque for the good of the cardiac foundation.
It’s been a long time since british champion Helen Wyman won a race in on of the mayor belgian cross series. The last victory had been at the nationals in january and the start of the season had not been as planned. But luck comes to those who can wait. This time everything worked out well for the gentle british lady. Right from the start Wyman managed to put pressure on her opponents and quickly she had a pretty gap between herself and the rest of the bunch. European champion Sanne Cant didn’t start as good as usual and had to struggle to get into the chase of Wyman. From lap to lap Cant seemed to get closer to Wyman, but some small mistakes of Cant and a perfect race of Wyman left the lucky side for the british champion. Nikki Harris prooved once more, that she is in a good and consistent shape finishing one more time on the podium, as she crossed the finish line in third position.
Wout van Aert continues to be the measure of all things. The vice worldchampion never ever left any chance for his opponents and once again gained a solo win in his usual plomb. The only other rider who appeared to be nearly a match for Wout van Aert was Sven Nys. The “Kanibal van Baal” almost managed to close thc gap to van Aert and finished on second rank. Last years winner Kevin Pauwels finished in third position abd gained the last remaining spot on the podium.
The price for the most spectacular touch down belongs to world champion Mathieu van der Poel, for sure. Van der Poel showed an awesome salto with a twist while chasing Kevin Pauwels. This stunt threw him back into fith position.