World Championships MU23

Emiel Verstrynge dreams about “a culmination of a fantastic season”

Seven riders of Tormans Cyclo Cross Team are in the United States on the occasion of the Cyclocross World Championships which will be held this weekend in Fayetteville (Arkansas). On Saturday, Théo Thomas (France), Emiel Verstrynge (Belgium) and Joran Wyseure (Belgium) will defend the colors of their nation in the battle for the rainbow jersey. One day later, Marie Schreiber (Luxembourg), Kevin Kuhn (Switzerland), Thomas Mein (Great Britain) and Corné van Kessel (The Netherlands) will line up for their World Championships in the U23 women’s and Elite men’s categories.

The parcours of these second World Championships in the United States is similar to the circuit on which Quinten Hermans was the best in the World Cup in October. The grass circuit in Centennial Park, near the city centre of Fayetteville, with stairs, two bridges and a cobble section is a little longer than in October (3100 meter). A 250 meter climb and several other hills sum up to 53 meters of climbing each lap. Not only Quinten Hermans distinguished himself on this circuit in October. Emiel Verstrynge achieved his first Elite World Cup top ten and Thomas Mein began the season with a thirteenth place. Also Kuhn, van Kessel and Schreiber know the circuit since their World Cup participation.

After Junior Women World Championships with British favorite Zoe Bäckstedt (Tormans-Acrog) at 18h CET on Saturday, the Men U23 are the first ones from Tormans Cyclo Cross Team to battle for the rainbow jersey. Emiel Verstrynge just missed the podium in Oostende last year as a first year U23 rider. Thanks to the Belgian champion and his teammate Joran Wyseure, the colors of Tormans Cyclo Team were shown on the highest step of the podium in the national championships, the World Cup in Fayetteville and in Hamme the last three weekends. Frenchman Théo Thomas joins the Belgian duo for his third World Championships in the U23 category. 

On Sunday at 20h CET, Marie Schreiber will participate in her first U23 world championships. The 18 year old U23 Luxembourg champion took 7th place in the European championships earlier this season. The Elite delegation of Tormans Cyclo Cross Team was decapitated due to the absence of Quinten Hermans following a positive PCR test, but brings Swiss champion Kevin Kuhn, British champion Thomas Mein and experienced rider Corné van Kessel to the start. The Dutchman is preparing for his ninth Elite World Championships participation. 

« I can say that I’m one of the six or seven candidates for the title. But no matter what happens this Saturday, the new world champion will undoubtedly be a deserved winner. All U23 riders are evenly matched and for all of us it would be the culmination of a fantastic season. Since a couple of weeks I feel very confident, so I feel pretty relaxed on the eve of my second U23 World Championships. The first couple of days here in Fayetteville I took my time to recover from the long trip. On Thursday I did a good training and on Friday I planned a course recon. Except for the surface, the course is not very different to the one of the World Cup. I really wanted to participate here in October to get to know the course and to have the long trip and jetlag experience before the World Championships. My preparation went perfect, so I hope that all pieces of the puzzle fall into place this Saturday. »

« It was the first time that I did such a long travel. On Monday, we were underway for 25 hours before arriving in Fayetteville, but the discomfort following the jetlag is behind my back now. I did a course recon on Thursday. Even though I prefer mud, I appreciate this fast and dry circuit. Despite the high difficulty because of the climbing, I expect that it will be a tactical race. If one of us manages to accelerate on top of the long climb, he could make a difference. The order of the top ten is really unpredictable, as we are evenly matched. So I’m hoping for good legs! »

« My roommate Lars van der Haar and I are fixed values in the Dutch team for several years now and also this team we will try to achieve the best possible result for our orange nation. It’s already my seventh time racing here in the United States, so I know pretty well how to deal with the traveling and the jetlag by now. In contrary to my habits, I will do the course recon in the days before the race, so I can see which changes have been made since the World Cup. I’m curious to know how the race will turn out. It could be a nail biting battle, because guys who like to attack from the start such as Quinten Hermans, Wout Van Aert or Mathieu van der Poel are absent. I feel ready for it! »

Saturday January 29th:

Women Junior – 18h CET

Zoe Bäckstedt (Great Britain)


Men U23 – 20h CET

Théo Thomas (France)

Emiel Verstrynge (Belgium)

Joran Wyseure (Belgium)


Sunday January 30th:

Women U23 – 20h CET

Marie Schreiber (Luxembourg)


Men Elite – 21h30 CET

Kevin Kuhn (Switzerland)

Thomas Mein (Great Britain)

Corné van Kessel (The Netherlands)


General Classification