The Belgian team of Jean-François Bourlart started the World Championships weekend in a sensational way. British rider Zoe Bäckstedt became junior world champion on the American course in Fayetteville and was imitated two hours later by Belgian rider Joran Wyseure in the U23 category. Thanks to exemplary teamwork, Emiel Verstrynge joined his compatriot on the second step of the podium.
The 17 year old Briton lined up at 18h (Belgian time) and dominated from the first lap. After her attack on the long climb, Bäckstedt never looked behind and steadily increased her advantage on her competitors. After five laps of 3100 meters the European champion in the discipline became the second junior world champion in history.
As expected, tactics played a major role in the men’s U23 category. The trio of Tormans Cyclo Cross Team composed of Théo Thomas (France), Emiel Verstrynge (Belgium) and Joran Wyseure (Belgium) started well and immediately positioned in the front. The Belgian and Dutch federations were well represented and succeeded each other in the lead of the race.
After one lap of observation, Joran Wyseure was the first one to attack. With the help of his teammate Verstrynge, he managed to increase his lead to 15 seconds at the end of the third lap. Wyseure then maintained a rhythm around seven minutes per lap, resisting to the Dutch trio Kamp, Hendrikx and Ronhaar. Despite their chase, the former world champions never managed to close the gap.
At the age of 21, Joran Wyseure became U23 world champion after an effort of almost 50 minutes. Verstrynge, who showed exemplary teamwork, attacked his companions with one and a half lap to go to join his teammate on the podium. Frenchman Théo Thomas finished 31st in his third U23 world championships.