Belgian cyclist Vanthourenhout becomes European champion cyclocross in Namur
Michael Vanthourenhout became the new European cyclocross champion in the men's elite on Sunday. The 28-year-old won in Namur after a solo he started in the second half of the race. Dutchman Lars van der Haar was not able to extend his title and won the silver medal.
The heavy rain made the course increasingly greasy and slippery. Previous champion Van der Haar suffered two punctures and saw Vanthourenhout take the lead. The Belgian was able to complete the race solo and lifted his bike as he crossed the finish line. He succeeds Lars van der Haar as European champion, who finished 20 seconds later, ahead of Belgian Laurens Sweeck.
"This was perhaps the toughest and toughest cross I have ever ridden," said Vanthourenhout afterwards. "But this is the most beautiful victory I ever achieved." It is the first time the Belgian has won the European Championship cyclocross.
© BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS