It is the first cycling championship of the year. Three weeks before the Worlds national championships are held in most countries: For the honour, in some case for being nominated to the Worlds and of course for the coveted jersey in national colours (see all results on uci.org).
The male and female riders on STEVENS Super Prestige delivered many great results on the race weekend on January 12 and 13. From the Elite categories down to the U19 male and female juniors it was a total of eight (!) new and re-confirmed national champions to raise their hands in victory. Add to that five Silver and five Bronze Medals and a couple of victories in the Masters and U17 classes.
The Belgian media was discussing if Sanne Cant of team IKO-Enertherm would be able to win her tenth national title, since she did not have as great a start into her season like the previous years, and she also had injured herself in a crash the week before. Yet, she was the best in handling the muddy course with lots of hill traverses and crossed the finish line with all ten fingers extended (what will she come up with next year?). Silver was won also on Super Prestige by Loes Sels, Pauwels Sauzen Vastgoedservice, who had been considered Cant’s strongest competitor before the race. Sels’ team mate Jinse Peeters comes in 9th overall and third best U23 rider to receive the Bronze medal.
Quite a surprise in the Men’s Elite was the long duel between Toon Aerts and Wout van Aert (Cibel-Cebon, Super Prestige). By the middle of the race, the World Champion still was 10 seconds ahead but obviously struggled with the muddy surface. Toon Aerts eventually won by a significant margin, Michael Vanthourenhout came in third, Gianni Vermeersch of team Steylaerts 777 finished 7th.
In the U23 race Timo Kielich of Steylaerts 777 rode the complete race in superior fashion and won the Gold Medal in that category. Ryan Cortjens of IKO-Beobank confirms his good form and wins the U19 competition. In the U19 female juniors his team mate Kiona Crabbé finishes third.