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Julie Brouwers completes the cyclocross team

Belgian U23 champion Julie Brouwers will reinforce the cyclocross team of the structure of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, which is composed of six riders for season 2023-2024 and directed by the brothers Bart and Geert Wellens.

The 20 year old Belgian rider signed a professional contract with the structure of Jean-François Bourlart and joins the team composed of Thijs Aerts, Kevin Kuhn, Gerben Kuypers (Elite), Arne Baers and Lauren Molengraaf (U23).

Julie Brouwers followed a linear progression in the U23 category. In addition to her national title she finished tenth in the World Championships in Hoogerheide last winter.

Independent of the type of parcours, the rider from the Antwerp region has shown regularity in the elite peloton by finishing in the top fifteen in twenty races, among which a sixth place in Oostmalle and a thirteenth place in the World Cup in Dublin.

Last Saturday, she started the cyclocross season with a victory in Vorselaar in her new colours. She’s the second female athlete of the structure next to Lauren Molengraaf, who will celebrate her eighteenth birthday on 5th of October and step up to the U23 category.

Three professional riders will defend the colours of Circus-ReUz-Technord in the men’s elite category: Thijs Aerts, Kevin Kuhn and Gerben Kuypers. Kevin Kuhn, eighth in the current UCI ranking, also started his season with a victory on home soil for the third year in a row.

The double Swiss champion won four races last winter and achieved his first World Cup podium in Val di Sole, after finishing fifth in the European Championships. Thijs Aerts, former junior world champion, finished in the top fifteen of four World Cup races and ten other competitions.

Other newcomer Gerben Kuypers was the revelation of cyclocross season 2022-2023, with a sixth place between the pros in the World Championships, a Belgian title in the Elite amateur category and five wins and the overall classification in the French Cup.

He also showed himself on the road with Intermarché-Circus-Wanty during the spring, pursuing his remarkable progression and taking his first two ever victories with the Circus-ReUz-Technord team of Kévin Van Melsen in the Tour de Namur and the Province Cycling Tour. 

At the age of 21, Arne Baers will start his final season in the U23 category. Last season he was selected for the first time to represent Belgium in the European Championships (10th) and the World Championships (15th). He also obtained his first two elite victories in Sweden and ended ninth in the overall classification of the U23 World Cup in his first participation.

“It is an honour for me to join the structure of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty and to start this new chapter by winning my first cyclocross race with my new Belgian champion’s jersey. The team has shown its confidence from the start for the next three seasons. This translates into a common vision about my future, aiming to make progression each year. I want to become a fixed value of Belgian cyclocross and to make steps on the international scene each season under the direction of Bart and Geert Wellens. With them, I can benefit of a professional approach and world class coaching. I immediately noticed progress thanks to my new equipment and the association of technical partners of the structure. During our training camp in La Bresse, my new teammates shared their experience on and off the bike. I felt the eagerness to push my limits by training with them. It was a warm welcome and I can’t wait to meet the rest of the structure in our next collective training camp with the World Team. I will compete abroad the next couple of weeks before starting the World Cups, in which I want to show my capabilities this winter.”

“In 2023 we reached an important step with our cyclocross team. Julie Brouwers and Lauren Molengraaf became the first female atletes to sign a professional contract with our structure. Thanks to the launch of our Continental team Circus-ReUz-Technord, we could offer our cyclocross riders a broad range of road races and a tailor-made year programme. It is the first time we could offer it to all of them and I’m looking forward to see the positive outcome of this step forward this winter. With the reinforcement of our two rising Belgian talents Julie Brouwers and Gerben Kuypers, we’ll start our fifth cyclocross winter with a group of six riders.” “Julie Brouwers has the ambition to climb to the top of Belgian cyclocross and to progress step by step on the international scene. We will fully support her to reach her goals in the next three seasons. Julie and Lauren Molengraaf are perfect sparring partners in training. Lauren will step up to a new category with races which are up to 25 minutes longer and with a fully packed competition programmes. This step is not to be underestimated. Naturally, Lauren sets the bar high for herself. Our role is to prepare our girls for realistic goals within a framework in which they can keep growing in a serene way.” “Our second reinforcement Gerben Kuypers showed several remarkable performances in his first road campaign with our structure. I’m thinking of his two victories in the jersey of Circus-ReUz-Technord but also of his work in support of his leaders in the World Team. It is clear that he benefits from our professional environment and I’m expecting similar progress in cyclocross. During our team training camp in La Bresse he impressed us with his eagerness and commitment. I’m convinced that he will again stand out in the bunch this winter, like he did in the World Championships in Hoogerheide last year.”

“Last year, Kevin Kuhn made a serious step. He gained in regularity and climbed in all overall classifications. He became a fixed value of international cyclocross and I’m convinced that he will continue his momentum thanks to his first summer on the road with Intermarché-Circus-Wanty.” “The mission of Thijs Aerts and Arne Baers is to show themselves this winter. Both doubled their number of competition days on the road compared to previous years, contributing several times to the victories of their teammates. Thijs accomplished his mission in a serene way, in the shadow of his leaders of the World Team, a role corresponding perfectly to his profile. As for Arne, we prepared him for his last season in the U23 category in the team directed by Kévin Van Melsen. His dream is to turn professional, so our coaching will focus on enabling him to distinguish himself in his category.” “In the beginning of September our team travelled for two weeks to La Bresse to prepare the season. The training camp was extremely successful and held in perfect conditions. Immediately, Kevin Kuhn and Julie Brouwers set the tone by opening the season with victories in Illnau and Vorselaar respectively. All signals show green for 2023-2024, with also Lauren Molengraaf achieving seventh place in the European Championships on the road.”

“Cyclocross is a discipline we love. We’re proud of all performances achieved by our team since its launch in 2020. We collected numerous national titles, but also the jersey of European champion and world champion. That makes us proud of course, and we’re convinced that other great moments await us from this winter. Our team is composed of a lot of talent and we want, with the expertise of our performance team, bring them to the top. I’m convinced that we’re in for a great winter in terms of sportive performances.” “I also hope that this project will encounter success commercially, as we are still open to finding new partners, who can accompany the success of our team by lending it their name, for example. I remain convinced that cyclocross is an interesting discipline for any company targeting the Belgian and Benelux markets, and that we can offer great opportunities, including in the team naming. It's a great chance to associate one's brand with a very popular discipline, which conveys the values of fighting spirit, surpassing oneself and tenacity to achieve the best performances."

RESULTS

General Classification

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