EuroCrossAcademy returns to Belgium for ‘kerstmis’ cyclocross

Twelve US junior riders will race some of the iconic races on the cyclocross calendar. Check VeloNews for rider diaries in the coming days.

Photo: EuroCrossAcademy

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After a successful October block of European racing, EuroCrossAcademy returns to Belgium for its 20th kerstmis block of cyclocross racing led by ECA director Geoff Proctor.

Twelve junior riders from the United States will undertake a busy couple of weeks of racing after their domestic seasons culminated two weeks ago with the U.S. national championships in Hartford, Connecticut.

Each ECA athlete will compete in approximately five races, ranging from national races to top Belgian series races and, if selected, the Zonhoven World Cup.

ECA’s traditional December block provides an ideal opportunity for young, aspiring U.S. cyclocross athletes to improve through full focus on learning, racing, and living in Belgium.

During October block, ECA athletes achieved several top-10 results in some big races, with one athlete, AJ August, notching an historic victory at the iconic KoppenbergCross.

“For eight of 12 of our kerst block athletes, this will be their first time racing in Europe,” Proctor said. “So, the key to these ECA Euro race blocks is to help athletes see the importance of process, to learn and take the necessary steps, to be creative and playful, and let the outcomes follow in a natural way.”

The December block of racing is focused on development. ECA’s holistic vision also emphasizes character skills that riders can apply to their competitive pursuits as athletes, as well as to their lives beyond sport, Proctor said.

“We work hard to cultivate critical aspects like teamwork, work ethic, attitude, reinforcement of self-belief, in addition to serving as a bridge to help ECA athletes move from domestic to European racing,” Proctor said.

During the next two weeks, VeloNews will again feature ECA athlete journals daily throughout the block, with each rider contributing a fresh set of eyes and voice on the crazy kerstperiode and Belgian experience.

EuroCrossAcademy Block II roster

Miles Mattern, 17, Rochester, NY — CXHairs Devo Cycling Team
Ben Stokes, 18, Norwalk, CT — FinKraft Junior Cycling Team
Ian Brown, 18, Bend, OR — Bear Cx Development Team
Leif Bryan, 18, Boulder, CO — Boulder Junior Cycling Team
Henry Rapinz, 17, Boulder, CO — Boulder Junior Cycling Team
James Halverson, 17, North Branch, MN — Minnesota Junior Cycling Team
Elsa Westenfelder, 18, Missoula, MT — Team Stampede
Finley Aspholm (Finland), 17, Haworth, NJ — FinKraft Junior Cycling Team
Haydn Hludzinksi, 17, Boulder, CO — Boulder Junior Cycling Team
Jorja Bond, 17, Louisville, CO — Boulder Junior Cycling Team
Ellen Davis, 17, Missoula, MT — Team Stampede
Haylee Johnson, 17, West Sand Lake, NY — FinKraft Junior Cycling Team

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