Just like last year, our country took bronze in the mixed relay at the Cyclo-cross World Championships. In Tabor, Sanne Cant and Michael Vanthourenhout guided the Belgian six to 3rd place. The gold went to France after a very exciting denouement. Britain had to make peace with silver.
Due to the juggling of ages and genders, the mixed redemption has a very unpredictable character.
Belgium was “only” in 7th position halfway through, but national coach Sven Vanthourenhout had saved its biggest trump cards for the end with Sanne Cant and Michael Vanthourenhout.
The 15-time Belgian champion brought the Belgians into third position with a strong effort.
For final rider Vanthourenhout, the gap of 38 seconds was too big to play for the world title.
Due to the absence of defending champion Netherlands, it turned out to be a nail-biter between France and Great Britain for the world title.
French junior Aubin Sparfel had to compete against British professional Cameron Mason in the final round.
A piece of cake for Mason, you would think. But Sparfel defended himself bravely and kept the Brit in a pressing sprint for the world title. Just like last year, Belgium had to settle for bronze.
“I must honestly say that it was a bit disappointing,” final driver Michael Vanthourenhout was a bit disappointed.
“I wanted to get closer as quickly as possible. But halfway through my lap things started to turn sour behind my ears. Then I knew there was nothing more to it than 3rd place.”
What did Vanthourenhout learn today for Sunday’s World Cup cross? “I now know where it is super difficult and where the differences will be made.”
“An hour and a half before the mixed relay, the course was still frozen. Now it is all loosening up and you notice that it is becoming more and more difficult. It is a really tough course.”