Toon Aerts surprises at European Cyclo-cross Championships
Surprisingly, Toon Aerts won the European cyclo-cross championships in the elite men's category in the French city of Pontchâteau. The Belgian cyclo-cross racer crossed the finish line on his own and with a substantial lead. Behind him, world champion Wout Van Aert raced himself to the bronze medal.
Under the warm autumn sun, the cyclo-cross racers competed for the second ever European title in the elite men's category, on a dry and incredibly fast circuit. Before the start, Pontchâteau brought back good memories for the Belgians, as in 1989 and 2004 Danny De Bie and Bart Wellens became the cyclo-cross world champions there. This time it was Toon Aerts who achieved success for Belgium. The 23-year old cyclo-cross racer from Telenet Fidea Lions broke loose from the group in the middle of the race, and continued to do so until the end. World champion Wout Van Aert, who did excellent work in keeping others at a distance, won himself the bronze medal.
The two Belgian medals in the elite men's category follow the European title of the 21-year old Quinten Hermans, who was the best racer in last year's European Championships. Just like Toon Aerts he is also part of Telenet Fidea Lions, which since this season is led by Belgium's most successful cyclo-cross racer Sven Nys. The 17-year old Timo Kielich also contributed to Belgium's success: in the juniors' category, he came in third. In the women's category, Jolien Verschueren only just missed out on a medal. In the end, the Belgian national selection returned home with two European titles and two bronze medals.