European Championships Namen

Six riders compete for the blue & starred jersey in Namur

Five riders of Tormans Cyclo Cross Team will represent four different countries on the slopes of the Citadel of Namur, the theatre of the European Cyclocross Championships this weekend.

The team of Jean-François Bourlart, which obtained ten UCI victories during the first two months of the season, will be present in four of the six races for the blue and starred jersey on one of the most challenging courses of the season, which was even made harder compared to the usual World Cup course with an extra bridge and hill.

The Dutch winner of the first two World Cups in Tábor and Maasmechelen, Lauren Molengraaf (17 year old), will be the first to start in the junior women’s category on Saturday morning. It was in this category that the Belgian team won the first European title in its history last year.

Arne Baers (20 year old) will follow immediately after in the men’s U23 category. Thanks to a solid start of the season leading to a double victory in Sweden and a first World Cup top 10, Baers was selected for the first time to represent Belgium in a championship.

On Sunday, Marie Schreiber (19 year old) will wear the colors of Luxembourg for a second time in a row in the women’s U23 category, one year after finishing seventh in the European championships on the Col du VAM and obtaining an almost uninterrupted series of top ten results in the elite category this season.

Finally, the current vice European champion Quinten Hermans (27 year old) and Swiss champion Kevin Kuhn (24 year old) will participate in the elite men’s category.

« After finishing my road season, I turned my focus towards the European championships in Namur. In order to finetune my shape and to get in the cyclocross rhythm I needed an intense series of races. The last straight of my preparation was the World Cup in Maasmechelen. Since then, I took time to recover from these five races in ten days and to do some last qualitative training sessions to prepare this important race. The race in Namur is always very challenging, I can't wait! »

« I'm very pleased with my form during the beginning of the season. Next to my three victories on home soil, I managed to finish in the top ten of my first two World Cups. Finishing in the top ten of all my races shows that I made a step forward. My goal is to maintain this regularity until the end of the season, starting with the European Championships this Sunday. The circuit will be quite different from our previous races, I'm really looking forward to it. For now the surface is still dry, of course a good start will be important as decisions might be made early. Anyway, I hope to take advantage from my outsider status. »  

« What I achieved during the first two months of the season exceeds my expectations. It is clear that I made a nice progression, boosting my motivation in the approach towards the European championships. During our team training sessions I mainly focused on technique, as that's where I can still improve a lot at the end of challenging races. The parcours of Namur is one of my favorites, because it's an honest track. I mean, the best riders are rewarded if they are spared of bad luck. I don't expect surprises this Sunday, because we all know where we stand as we raced often together in the elite category. Often the U23 women set the pace in the elite races so the race won't be much different. My goal is to improve last year's seventh place, I'll line up in good form and in full confidence. »

« After my victories in Tábor and Maasmechelen I cherish the ambition to win a medal on Saturday. These two successes gave me confidence, even though the exciting battles showed how strong my competitors were. From last year's World Cup in Namur I know how challenging the course is. The uninterrupted succession of climbs and downhills make me think of a mountainbike cours, which I appreciate very much. On Friday we'll do the recon with the Dutch team. I can also rely on the support of Bart and Geert Wellens. Thanks to the team training sessions I made progression on a technical level, especially in the running sections. I also learn from their tactical advice for the races. »


General Classification