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With one round of the World Cup to go and two weeks before (most of) the cyclocross world descends on Fayetteville to fight for the rainbow stripes, it’s time to crown the next class of national champions.
Saturday’s headlines focussed on successful defensive campaigns in Belgium and Luxembourg. In the rain, mud and sand of Middelkerke on the Belgian coast, Sanne Cant (IKO-Crelan) won the title for the thirteenth consecutive year after shaking off her rivals early in the race. While across the border in Luxembourg Christine Majerus (SD Worx) also mounted a successful defence, like Cant retaining the national colours that she’s owned since 2010.
Meanwhile, British Cycling probably took the prize for the most medals awarded across the weekend. No less than 16 national champions were crowned at the South of England Showground – U14, U16 and a few veteran categories, as well as junior, U23 and elite, the latter two within the same races. The major titles went the way of Harriet Harnden (Trek Factory Racing) and Thomas Mein (Tormans) on Sunday afternoon, in mercifully drier and brighter conditions than the amateurs endured the day before, albeit still in thick and sticky mud.
NB, if you’re looking for the names Zoe Bäckstedt (Tormans-ACROG) and defending national champ Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), neither were in attendance for COVID-19 and team camp reasons respectively.
In the Netherlands, the unofficial elite women’s World Championship race was won by Marianne Vos in Rucphen, a happy hunting ground for the Jumbo-Visma rider who sprinted to win the 10th round of the World Cup on the same course last month. Vos left nothing to chance this time round, distancing world champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) and incumbent Dutch champ Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) mid-way through the race.
With six-time Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel out of action, the on-form Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) added a third red, white and blue jersey to his wardrobe after a fantastic solo ride, attacking from the start to take his first national title since 2014.
Back in Belgium, Wout van Aert was the hot favourite to keep hold of the jersey which has become his second skin in recent years. He pounced on his rivals after a relatively steady first lap of nine, and Sunday’s late afternoon sun bounced off his box-fresh team issue jersey as the Jumbo-Visma rider flew to yet another dominant victory, closing out his cyclocross season with a ninth win in ten races.
- Austria: Nadija Heigl and Daniel Federspiel (Felbermayr-Simplon Wels)
- Belgium: Sanne Cant (IKO-Crelan) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
- Czech Republic: Kristyna Zemanová and Michael Boroš
- Denmark: Caroline Bohé and Simon Andreassen
- France: Line Burquier (A.S Bike Crossteam) and Josh Dubau
- Germany: Elisabeth Brendau and Marcel Meisen
- Great Britain: Harriet Harnden (Trek Factory Racing) and Thomas Mein (Tormans)
- Hungary: Blanka Kata Vas (SD Worx) and Zsolt Búr
- Italy: Silvia Persico and Jakob Dorigoni (Selle Italia-Guerciotti)
- Ireland: Maria Larkin and Christopher McGlinchey
- Luxembourg: Christine Majerus (SD Worx) and Scott Thiltges
- The Netherlands: Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions)
- Poland: Dominika Wlodarczyk and Marek Konwa
- Portugal: Ana Mafalda Sá Santos and Mário Luis Miranda Costa
- Spain: Lucía González (Nesta-MMR) and Felipe Orts (Burgos-BH)
- Switzerland: Alessandra Keller and Kevin Kuhn (Tormans)