Wout van Aert prolonged his national cyclocross title, claiming his fifth national tricolere jersey in the field. Laurens Sweeck was best of the rest in Middelkerke and took silver.
Van Aert lived up to his status of pre-race favourite and dominated the national championships from the very start. He quickly distanced himself from the rest and gained around 20 seconds per lap for much of the race to eventually finish 1:16 ahead of Sweeck.
U23-rider Jente Michels rode an impressive race as well after a brave fight with Emiel Verstrynge. The 18-year-old showed his strong legs to distance Wyseure, Verstrynge’s teammate and rode the rest of the race in front, giving all he had. After a tactical race of Emiel Verstrynge, however, Michels had to acknowledge the former was the strongest at the end. Yet, his impressive race saw young Michels claim a well-deserved silver medal.
Wout van Aert:
“This fifth title means a lot to me. I started as the favourite, which is not easy. On paper, you can only lose. Today I tried to use it to my advantage and I think I did. The legs were good from the start. In the second lap I saw my chance to get away from the rest of the field. Then it was important to stay focused and not make any mistakes. I enjoyed the past few weeks and rode some nice cyclocross races. From tomorrow the focus will fully be on the road season. For now, I’m going to enjoy this title together with the team. I’m proud to retain the national jersey.”