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Three Gold Medals on STEVENS Super Prestige

Mathieu van der Poel, Sanne Cant and Loris Rouiller win Cyclocross European Championships in Tabor.

Mathieu van der Poel on His Way To The Top

Three Gold Medals on STEVENS Super Prestige! The European Cyclocross Championships in Tabor/Czech Republic could not have worked out better for the teams riding STEVENS’ top-of-the-line ’cross bike. Mathieu van der Poel of Beobank-Corendon wins the Men’s Elite race in superior fashion.

Sanne Cant (Enertherm-Beobank) makes full use of her experience and sprinting capabilities in a duel for the home stretch. And Loris Rouiller, also Enertherm-Beobank, gives proof of his good shape in the U19-Juniors’ race. In addition Nikola Nosková (CZ) wins the Bronze Medal in the U23 Women’s race.

Mathieu van der Poel had obviously memorized the Tabor course very well since in 2015 he had become the youngest Elite World Champion there. This year, after a second place in 2016, it was about winning the European title. With 11 season wins under his belt he had been declared the favourite prior to the event, even more so since World Champion Wout van Aert could not participate due to health reasons.

Mathieu van der Poel met the expectations right from the start in impressive manner and was the first to enter the course. ”To start well was important because right at the beginning there was a hill traverse which is best when you are first to ride it,” he said after the race.

Another key section was the hurdles: Van der Poel was almost the only one to clear them by jumping in every lap. This gave him the advantage of better being able to accelerate for the subsequent climb. This was exactly what he did in lap two to drop his last remaining chasers Lars van der Haar und last year’s European champion Toon Aerts.

In the subsequent laps of the quite slippery course, Lars van der Haar chased persistently and kept close until the finale at only 20 seconds behind. Mathieu van der Poel finishing a flawless race becomes Elite European Champion for the first time after he already won twice as a junior. ”I have always loved this course after my starts in the youth category. It might have looked like an easy win but Lars was a really tenacious opponent.”

Behind the two Dutch nationals a 12-strong chase group followed. Even though most of them were Belgian they could not agree on making the chase a common effort – and therefore only went for third place. Earlier Mathieu’s brother David van der Poel did his part to not increase the pace of the pursuit.

Shortly before the finish and after the hurdle section, he had difficulties getting back on the bike. ”This way I lost the contact to the Belgians and reached the finish line a little behind. Otherwise the sprint might have become quite exciting.” Toon Aerts comes in third in front of Michael Vanthourenhout.

Sanne Cant Grabs Euros in the Sprint
Sanne Cant won her third European Championship. On the finish line she outsprinted Lucinda Brand (NL). Alice Maria Arzuffi (IT) finishes third. U23 World Champion Annemarie Worst (NL), ERA-Circus, in her first Elite European race comes in strong in fourth place.

The lead constantly interchanged between the four riders and it wasn’t until the final lap, Brand and Cant could open a gap. In the finale Lucinda Brand kept the pressure high but the World champion countered and used her sprinting prowess to her advantage. ”When I was able to get next to her, I found the strength to continue sprinting”, said the new European Champion.

With this victory Sanne Cant possesses all three important jerseys – National Champion of Belgium, World Champion and now also European Champion. In addition she leads in the World Cup overall rankings.

Euro Gold for Loris Rouiller
By winning the Euros, Loris Rouiller currently owns two special jerseys. The Swiss U19 national champion of team Enertherm-Beobank was in the head group from the beginning and soon broke away. Midway through the race Czech Tomas Kopecky was able to catch up. It wasn’t until the final sprint that Rouiller got away. Ben Tulett comes in third.

”The Euros were my big goal for the season. I am happy that it worked out. This is the most beautiful victory of my career.” Rouiller’s team mate Arno van den Broeck (BEL) finishes 9th, Nil van de Putte 15th.

In the U23 race Jens Dekker got a bad start. Initially positioned in the 20s, he fought his way back into the head group but that effort cost him dearly when trying to keep up. ”I didn’t have the power anymore to finish strongly,” Dekker said after the race. His team mates shared a similar experience. Both were part of the brake-away and eventually rode to 11th and 12th place respectively.

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