This was Europe’s national championships weekend, and there were spectacular results, especially on the elite women’s side.
Lucinda Brand, who broke her nose last weekend after a crash while leading the Zonhoven World Cup round, won Sunday’s Dutch national championship, ridding herself of eventual runner-up Puck Pieterse and storming to victory. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado will be upset by how Annemarie Worst nicked her podium spot.
The revelation of the season, Joris Nieuwenhuis, topped a Baloise Trek Lions podium sweep in the Dutch men’s race, finishing before Pim Ronhaar and Lar van der Haar. It was Nieuwenhuis’ fifth triumph of the season, including two rounds in the Superprestige series and a win in the Val di Sole World Cup. Van der Haar gave up his national champions jersey to his teammate, but he should raise the X2O Badkamers Trofee in February.
On Saturday Sanne Cant’s run of good form in the Superprestige and X2O Trofee races and a win in the Exact Cross series translated into an extension of her mighty streak of Belgian elite women’s titles. The three-time World Champ survived an over-the-barrier crash late in the race to hold off Laura Verdonschot by two seconds and claim her 15th title.
Eli Iserbyt, winner of this season’s Superprestige series and World Cup leader, will wear the Belgian national jersey for the first time after Sunday’s race, Joran Wyseure beating Iserbyt’s teammate Michael Vanthourenhout for the runner-up spot.
Other European national champions were familiar names from the major series: Sara Casasola took the Italian title, Clement Venturini and Helene Clauzel carried off the French championships, Cameron Mason and Anna Kay were the best Brits, and Filipe Orts earned his sixth straight Spanish title.