Thijs Aerts wins in Crawley
5 Things to Know
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5 Things to Know from Week 11

This weekend, the Pan-American and European Championships were decided in Canada and Italy, respectively. North America hosted two UCI C2 races on Saturday. There were no other UCI cross races on Saturday. In addition to the European Championships, there was a C2 race in Spain and a C2 race in Spain. The North American scene had the Pan-American Championships in Canada on Sunday, along with America’s longest running UCI race, The Northampton International in Massachusetts.

Mathieu van der Poel took on the entire Belgium team.

The UEC European Championships took place on Sunday in Silvelle, Italy. The course pancake flat with the exception of two flyovers. One featured a set of stairs, while the other was a traditional up and over. Heavy rains fell the day before the race and it looked like a muddy affair was in store. However, the track dried out a bit by the time the elite men raced. This resulted in a tacky track that had a mix of rideable sand, grass and some running.

Elite Men

From the start it was clear Belgium had a plan. They attempted to surround van der Poel and match him move for move. Laurens Sweeck, Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout all took turns at the front and even put in a few attacks. In the end, Iserbyt and van der Poel pulled away from the rest of the Belgian brigade. While it was incredibly close, van der Poel was able to put in an attack in the last grass section before the race hit the finishing straight. He would beat Iserbyt by three seconds. Laurens Sweeck finished third, another 20 seconds back. In the end, the Belgians took six out of the top-ten places. However, they failed to take the top step.

Elite Women

On the women’s side 777 was able to keep the jersey, albeit on the shoulders of another young rider. Last year, 23 year old Annemarie Worst won a three up sprint as the Dutch swept the podium. Worst was one of the favorites heading into this race. However, as we have seen this year, there were nearly half a dozen riders in contention for the win. Worst’s teammate Yara Kastelijn picked up the win 12 seconds ahead of Italy’s Eva Lechner. Worst was able to pick up a third place finish as the Dutch bookended the podium.

The craziest stat from this race was that the Dutch have now won nine European titles since the race was created in 2003. There have been a total of 17 editions of this race, giving the Dutch women a 53 winning percentage.

Werner and Rochette ride to victory on a messy track in Canada.

Like the European Championships, the Pan-American championships were expected to take place on a muddy track. Mother nature didn’t disappoint as snow and rain pelted the track on Saturday. This made the off cambers barely rideable and created some fast, slick descents. Curtis White looked to defend his title against a strong, mostly American field. On the Women’s side, Canadian National Champion and defending Pan-Am Champion, Magalie Rochette looked to repeat her win on her home soil.

Elite Men

While the lead group ebbed and flowed during the first half of the race, it was very clear that Kerry Werner and Curtis White were on another level in the Elite Men’s race. Those two riders lead nearly the entire race in what became a very exciting battle. The two riders headed into the last lap together and didn’t disappoint. Both riders traded attacks and were literally shoulder to shoulder at times. Werner was able to slip by White before the stairs (there were three sets), bombed the slick decent and pedaled to victory in what is his biggest win to date. 

However, the ride of the day came from the rider in third place, Jamie Driscoll. Driscoll doesn’t race as much as he used to, but showed that he still has what it takes. He slowly rode his way through the top ten or so riders and was able to catch the two leaders. Unfortunately White and Werner were able to pull away, but Driscoll held on for a much deserved third place.

Elite Women

After winning the Canadian National Championships last weekend, Maghalie Rochette entered Sunday’s race as the heavy favorite. Rochette dominated the race and picked up another Pan-American Championship. Since Rochette defender her title, it means that only two riders have won the Pan-American Championships. American Katie Compton won the first four editions of the race. Compton hasn’t raced the past two editions, leaving hope that perhaps next year the two will meet once again. Behind Rochette, American’s Clara Honsinger and Rebecca Fahringer took second and third, respectively.

Ortenblad and Nolan picked up a pair of victories in North Hampton.

While most eyes were on the Pan-American Championships in Canada, America’s longest running UCI race took place in Northampton, MA. The Northampton International offered a pair of C2 races. Despite being up against a pair of UCI races in Canada (there was the Sliver Goose on Saturday), the incredibly popular New England race drew deep fields.

On Saturday, Ortenblad won a three up sprint against Nichola Lando and Ben Frederick who finished second and third, respectively. Two years ago, Ortenblad was the talk of the town as he crushed fields during the first half of the season. He suffered an injury last year and wasn’t able to get back to form. Perhaps this is a sign that he’s getting closer to that incredible form. On Sunday, Ortenblad was able to beat Travis Livermon in a two-up sprint. Frederick was once again third, 33 seconds back.

Caroline Nolan also picked up a pair of victories in Northampton. The American beat Regina Legge by 17 seconds on Saturday. Arley Kemmer was able to edge out Caitlin Bernstien for third place another 17 seconds back. On Sunday, things were much closer as Nolan won a three up sprint. Arley Kemmerer moved up one spot to second and Caitlin Bernstien finished third.

There were other races in Europe.

While there were no races on Saturday, there were two races in addition to the European Championships on Sunday. Cyclo-cross de Karrantza (C2) took place in Spain. The 60 rider elite men’s field featured all Spanish riders with the exception of three riders from France and one rider from Belgium. Kevin Fernandez picked up the win a head of Ismael Aguando. Belgium’s Dieter Vanthournhout, who has been racing all over Europe this year, finished third. This is the only Spanish race not won by Felipe Orts (who finished ninth at the European Championships). On the women’s side, Aida Nuno beat Luci Gonzalez by three seconds, while Sandra Trevilla finished third, 1:54 down.

In England, the fourth round of the National Trophy Series took place in Crawley. The C2 race was dominated by Belgians who didn’t make the European Championships squad. On the men’s side, the Belgians took the first nine spots. Thijs Aerts picked up the win, while Yannick Peeters and Jelle Camps rounded out the podium. On the women’s side, Britain was able to defend their home soil with Bethany Crumpton taking the win. Ffion James was second and Belgium’s Suzanne Verhoeven was third.

Finally some results from the Lithuanian National Championships.

It has been a while, but we finally have some results from Lithuania’s National Championships in Panevezys. We tried to do some digging, but our Lithuanian language skills are non existent and the best we could find were results on their national governing bodies cycling page. The race offered titles for the elite men, women and junior men.

In the Elite Men’s race, Domas Manikas picked up the victory ahead of Venantas Lasinis and Donatas Servytis. As with most smaller countries, the race only featured seven riders with six finishers. For some reason, Norway’s Justinas Leveika was in the field. He finished fifth. While we hardly believe the fact that only one woman raced the Elite Women’s race, the UCI results claim that it is so. 38 year old Vida Dolgoviene picked up the victory in a time of 49:39. Six riders took the start in the Junior Men’s race. Arminas Bagdonas dominated the race finishing 1:46 a head of Dovydas Luksas. Paulius Savelskis was third, 2:27 behind the winner.

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