2016 Cyclocross World Championships Summary and Photos

by 0

Despite all of the talk about Technological Fraud, there was some absolutely fantastic cyclocross racing in Heusden-Zolder this past weekend. Instead of re-hashing the cheating story, which you can read here, we’ll review the fun parts of the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships. Let’s break it down a bit.

2016 Cyclocross World Championships
Wout van Aert in the muddy lead, early.

Women – Under 23
Despite sideways rain at times, and the cloud of technological doping, the women’s U23 event delivered some great racing on Saturday. Despite some multiple lead changes, several spills and some very slick sections of the course, Evie Richards from the UK took the win, with Ellen Noble from the US cracking the top ten. Interestingly, the highest-placing Belgian was Laura Verdonschot in 11th place.
2016 Cyclocross World Championships
Lots of mud for the women’s U23 race.

1Evie RICHARDSGBR
2Nikola NOSKOVACZE
3Maud KAPTHEIJNSNED
4Sina FREISUI
5Nadja HEIGLAUT
6Ellen NOBLEUSA
7Alice Maria ARZUFFIITA
8Juliette LABOUSFRA
9Alice BARNESGBR
10Jessica LAMBRACHTGER

Women – Elite
Lots of changes and crashes. While Katie Compton started her season late, there was still high expectations for her to place well or possibly take the win. Unfortunately, she went down early, which set her back, and she never regained enough momentum to move to the front, finally finishing in 13th place. Meanwhile, the front of the race had many dramatic lead changes with Nikki Harris, Sanne Cant, Thalita De Jong and Caroline Mani all taking turns leading the charge. In the end, 23-year old De Jong gapped Cant and Mani for the win. Helen Wyman finished just out of the top 10 in 11th place, while Kaitlin Antonneau was the highest-placing American, in eighth place.

2016 Cyclocross World Championships
Thalita De Jong takes the win for the elite women.

1Thalita DE JONGNED
2Caroline MANIFRA
3Sanne CANTBEL
4Sophie DE BOERNED
5Nikki HARRISGBR
6Sabrina STULTIENSNED
7Eva LECHNERITA
8Kaitlin ANTONNEAUUSA
9Christine MAJERUSLUX
10Sanne VAN PAASSENNED

Men – Under 23
A Belgian came out on top of the men’s U23 race early on Saturday when Eli Iserbyt took the win, but it was a close one. Adam Toupalik from the Czech Republic was leading on the next-to-last lap. Thinking it was the last lap, he crossed the Start/Finish line with his arms victoriously raised in the air. Meanwhile both the English- and Dutch-speaking announcers were yelling, “No! No! No!” and the crowd doing the same, while several riders, still racing, passed him. He faded to about eighth place before he realized what was going on. Yet, Toupalik battled back to the front on the real last lap, only to lose to Iserbyt in a dramatic sprint that came down to the line.

2016 Cyclocross World Championships
Men’s U23 Quinten Hermans from Belgium.

1Eli ISERBYTBEL
2Adam TOUPALIKCZE
3Quinten HERMANSBEL
4Thijs AERTSBEL
5Clement RUSSOFRA
6Felipe ORTSESP
7Gioele BERTOLINIITA
8Martijn BUDDINGNED
9Sieben WOUTERSNED
10Daan SOETEBEL

Men – Elite
The men’s elite race, the marquis event of the day, delivered drama, excitement and some absolutely prime racing. Some truly Belgian misty, light rain started to fall just before call-ups, and that iconic cyclocross weather remained for most of the race.
There were plenty of lead changes between Wout van Aert and Lars van der Haar. Mathieu van der Poel also had a couple quick pulls at the front, but the loudest cheers were the few times when Sven Nys put the motor in gear, taking the highline, passing van Aert and van der Haar. It was the 39-year old’s final World Championship, and he gave the home crowd a lot to cheer about during the race, finally finishing in fourth place.
Mathieu van der Poel was a threat through most of the race until he bobbled on a run up next to the grandstands. Stepping backwards off the bike, his foot went right into the front wheel of van Aert who had quickly dismounted directly behind him. Unfortunately both riders were held up for several seconds while each tried to untangle the shoe-wheel mess, since van der Poel’s shoe was stuck in the spokes because of the shoe buckles. By the time they untangled, Nys, Pauwels and van der Haar were away.
Van Aert caught back up, but van der Poel faded, having at least one other off-the-bike moment, finishing fifth, just ahead of his brother David. Soon enough van der Haar caught Nys and Pauwels, and then van Aert caught everyone. Nys faded back to fourth while Pauwels stoically maintained forward momentum for third place. Van Aert and van der Haar battled a bit back and forth on the final laps, until van Aert finally opened a bit of a gap, which would hold to the end of the race.

2016 Cyclocross World Championships
Lars van der Haar and Kevin Pauwels on the grid.

1Wout VAN AERTBEL
2Lars VAN DER HAARNED
3Kevin PAUWELSBEL
4Sven NYSBEL
5Mathieu VAN DER POELNED
6David VAN DER POELNED
7Laurens SWEECKBEL
8Tom MEEUSENBEL
9Radomir SIMUNEKCZE
10Marcel MEISENGER

Despite the negativity around the technological doping scandal rumors, and the rather unpleasant weather conditions, the 70,000ish crowd immensely enjoyed the weekend. Beer and jenever flowed like water, while the locals danced, swayed and fell down to the…unique…sounds of Belgian pop music blaring in no less than four enormous party tents. (It’s always fun to watch the result of highly intoxicated people ‘dancing’ in tents with wet and slick flooring.)

2016 Cyclocross World Championships
Drunken Sesame Street Cyclocrocross. We just used that sentence to be listed in a really obscure Google search.

And here’s a little gallery of some other images from the weekend.

Leave a Reply