The Mixed Relay discipline at the Cyclo-cross World Championships has fallen prey to France. Our southern neighbors won after an exciting sprint match against Great Britain. Belgium came third, just like last year.
Ten countries competed for gold in this ‘new’ discipline. In this relay race, each country alternates three men and three women to complete a lap. One elite, one promising and one junior participate in each gender.
Our country started well at the Mixed Relay World Championships with Arthur Van den Boer (junior) who entered the field second. Because women and men from different categories immediately had to compete against each other, it was difficult to paint a clear picture of the competition in the first phase of the competition.
Belgium started the second round in fifth position, six seconds behind leader France. However, Ward Huybs (promise) made a good impression and brought our country to second place, although still six seconds behind France.
Junior Shanyl De Schoesitter was the next participant for our country. The young rider again had to compete against a mix of competitors and dropped to seventh place, about 42 seconds behind France.
The French selection seemed to be on an island. Julie Brouwers (promise) tried to fight her way to the front again on the slippery course. She brought our country to fifth place, but saw the gap with Great Britain, who had taken over the lead from France, increase to 55 seconds.
The last two compatriots who took action in this Mixed Relay were elites Sanne Cant and Michael Vanthourenhout. The Belgian champion took on the penultimate lap and had to make up 58 seconds.
Cant took off like a rocket and took over third place in no time. However, a podium place already seemed to be the highest achievable because France and Great Britain had almost a minute ahead of the Belgian.
Going into the final round, with European champion Michael Vanthourenhout, Belgium was still 39 seconds behind leader France. The Belgian top player managed to close the gap to half a minute, but the victory ultimately went to France with 17-year-old Sparfel after an incredibly exciting sprint in the final meters with Great Britain.