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European Championships

Five riders defend their country at the European CX Championships in Pontchâteau

Five riders of Circus-ReUz-Technord will defend the colours of their countries at the European Cyclocross Championships in French city Pontchâteau, where sports director Bart Wellens won his second world title in 2004.

Arne Baers was selected by Belgium to participate in his second European Championships in the U23 men’s category on Saturday November 4th.

The next day, on Sunday 5th of November, Belgian U23 champion Julie Brouwers and the Dutch outgoing European junior champion Lauren Molengraaf will race for the European starred jersey.

Later that day follows the race for elite men with Swiss rider Kevin Kuhn, who was 5th at the European Championships in Namur last year, and Belgian rider Gerben Kuypers, sixth of the World Championships in Hoogerheide. The teammates of Circus-ReUz-Technord achieved five UCI victories together: Illnau, Mettmenstetten, Steinmaur (Kuhn) and Oisterwijk and Ardooie (Kuypers).

The parcours of 3 kilometer in Pontchâteau is mainly characterized by the large amount of climbing meters (100m), just like in the two previous editions on the Col du VAM and the Citadel of Namur, where the team under direction of the Wellens brothers each time conquered one title. Some of the most important obstacles are three staircases and the planks and long final climb towards the end of the loop.

“I remember the previous European Championships in Pontchâteau in 2016, on an extremely fast parcours. With the stormy weather circumstances, it looks completely different now. The condition of the grass will be determined by the amount of rain that will fall before Sunday afternoon. In my ideal scenario the course would stay quite fast, even though a mud pool doesn't frighten me. This European Championship is a nice opportunity to show myself. That's why I prepared with our weekly team training on Wednesday instead of participating to the very challenging race on the Koppenberg. This can be an advantage compared to my competitors. I'm hoping for good legs to equal last year's top five in Namur."

“After an excellent first road season in the structure of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty I managed to continue the momentum in the first month of cyclocross. I made a big step forward. Last season I wasn't even not selected for the European Championship. Now I can aim to play a role, it's a huge difference. I'm heading to this first big goal of the season with a very positive mindset. I'm in good form and the parcours suits me really well thanks to the climbing and short accelerations. In addition, a lot of rain and mud is expected. I'm hoping for very hard circumstances, so we are forced to go all out from start to finish. That's what I did in Beringen and Ruddervoorde, to come back from far behind, and each time I managed to return to the front after a long chase. In difficult circumstances it it important to line up for the start with fresh legs and to dispose of your full power. That's why I chose to skip the Koppenbergcross last Wednesday. Anyway, I want to begin the race with a good start. Then a lot is possible with my current form. My ambition is to finish in the top five. But a championship is always special... In my wildest dreams I dare to follow in the footsteps of our sports director Bart Wellens, bringing home a jersey from Pontchâteau."

“After a success season and a first European title in the junior category I am progressively adapting to the races in the elite category. The races are not only longer, also the pace is high without interruptions. I want to develop step by step and each time finish as good as possible between the elite riders. On the short term I hope to finish in the top fifteen in elite races regularly and battle for the podium in the U23 category. Last Sunday I finished fifth best U23 rider in the World Cup in Maasmechelen. That's my goal for my first European Championship in the U23 category. I start without pressure and will give everything to produce the best possible performance."

“Since my first race in the kit of Circus-ReUz-Technord at the end of September I feel like I'm growing every week. In the World Cup in Maasmechelen I even managed to follow the strongest riders in the beginning. That was good learning. I hope I can continue this positive spiral at the European Championship on Sunday. I want to repeat my performance of the World Championship in January and finish among the ten best riders of my age category."

“Last season I finished tenth in my first European Championship, despite a crash in the start. With 100 meters of climbing each lap, the course in Pontchâteau can be compared to Namur and it looks like the weather circumstances might ensure that, like then, it will be every man for himself. The past couple of weeks I have confirmed in Beringen and Overijse that these circumstances suit me. Each time I was one of the first U23 finishers. The European Championship is the first race of the season in our own category. The predictions are as clear as mud, with foreign competitors joining us. In my opinion the levels of the riders with capabilities to finish in the top ten are very close, so the form of the day will decide about the results. I'm hoping for the same legs as last season to improve my reference result."

RESULTS

Elite men
1.Michael VanthourenhoutBelgium1:02:13
2.Cameron MasonGreat Britain+0:07
3.Lars van der HaarThe Netherlands+0:19
12.KEVIN KUHNCircus-ReUz-Technord+2:24KEVIN KUHN13.GERBEN KUYPERSCircus-ReUz-Technord+2:25GERBEN KUYPERS
U23 men
1.Jente MichelsAlpecin Deceuninck52:16
2.Emiel VerstryngeBelgium+0:25
3.Rémi LelandaisFrance+0:44
13.Private: ARNE BAERSCX Team+2:52Private: ARNE BAERS
U23 women
1.Zoe BäckstedtGreat Britain48:46
2.Marie SchreiberLuxembourg+0:34
3.ZemanovaCzech Republic+1:11
5.LAUREN MOLENGRAAFCX Team+2:36LAUREN MOLENGRAAF8.JULIE BROUWERSCX Team+4:11JULIE BROUWERS

General Classification

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