2014 Scheldecross: Loes Sels
Loes Sels, two-time Belgian cyclocross champion, put her racing career on hold to start a family before returning to action; she joined the Telenet-Fidea team last year. On Saturday her daughter joined her at the start line to offer some encouragement. Apparently it worked: Sels finished on the podium. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Sanne Cant
Sanne Cant took the lead on the first lap, powered through the sand sections, and never looked back. “There was one long section in the sand and I could ride it through, and [the others] not, I think, so it was easy to make a gap,” she said. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Team Türkiye
Aysenur Turgut and Arzu Yaras of the Turkish national team turned out to try their luck in the sand. The Belgian fans — despite their forbidding reputation — are usually pretty good-natured towards newcomers to the sport. The pair probably got as many cheers as anybody not named Sanne Cant on Saturday, despite their obvious struggles to match the pace of the leaders. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Waiting, Part 1
A lone fan, sporting the colors of the Flemish cycling federation, waited for another lap of the women’s race on the banks of the Schelde, just across the river from downtown Antwerp. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Ellen Van Loy
“It’s always you have to run a section, then jump on the bike, and then was a long section, so you must take a last breath to go again as fast as you can again for the first 10 or 20 meters and then have to take a little of the speed back,” said Ellen Van Loy, who continued to show off career-best form with second place on Saturday. “But I like that kind of stuff, I like going really hard.” Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: In the Mud
A young fan took a break from the action to play near the brackish, tidal waters of the Schelde — often called the Scheldt, in English — where Saturday’s race was held. The Schelde estuary, and its access to the Port of Antwerp, made the river a top strategic target and the site of vicious fighting during the Second World War. In fact, the 2009 edition of the race was delayed and shortened while authorities neutralized a WWII-era grenade discovered on the sandy river bank just before the start. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Waiting, Part 2
Waiters gather for a meeting in the VIP area alongside the course while the women’s race unfolds. VIP tickets, with a price tag that sometimes approaches 200 Euros, offer fancy food, drinks, and service along with a premium view of the race. The money VIPs bring in helps to support the huge appearance fees paid to the sport’s biggest stars just for turning up at the race. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Sanne Cant
Sanne Cant excelled in the sand, but also negotiated the course’s tricky man-made ups and downs with aplomb as well. Her diverse skill set earned her another victory, her 11th in the past month and a half. Though Cant was forced to abandon the Superprestige race in Francorchamp a few weeks ago with back problems, she has not failed to win a race she finished since November 2. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Elle Anderson
American Elle Anderson chased Belgian Jolien Verschueren up the stairs on Saturday. “I really liked the sand sections today, and it was a really cool course because it kind of had two parts,” she told VeloNews. “One was really twisty, turny, lots of really sharp corners, and then this crazy ride up-ride down stairs section, and then there was all the sand all at once. So it had a really cool two-part element to it.” Anderson finished sixth. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Waiting, Part 3
Belgian junior Eva Maria Palm waited to cross the course after being pulled with two laps to go. Because elite women race together with the juniors, the younger women rarely have much chance to finish on the lead lap, especially on a course as short and fast as Saturday’s. They also face an additional indignity: Fail to finish the race and you wait in line to leave the course and return to your car along with everybody else. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Measurements
A UCI commissaire verified that nobody was running illegally wide tires on the start line on Saturday. The visit from the guy with the plastic measuring block is a pre-race ritual at Belgian races. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Tom Meeusen
Tom Meeusen led Mathieu van der Poel through the longest sand section on the first lap of the men’s race on Saturday. Meeusen did not stay with van der Poel for long. “It’s very easy to blow the engine in the first lap if you go too fast,” he said. “That was also the reason that, after the first lap I didn’t ride the pace of Van der Poel anymore, and rode my own race. I said, ‘He’s better today, so if I keep following every time in the high heart rate pieces, then I blow my engine up.’ So just rode my own place and it was third place.” Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Mark McConnell
With New Zealander Alex Revell and his famous mustache based at home this season, Canadian Mark McConnell has taken up the mantle of “man with the most impressive facial hair” in recent weeks. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Bruce Dalton
Even for riders who had dismounted their bikes, the alignment of sand, rut, and barriers in this corner caused trouble in every race. Briton Bruce Dalton discovered this the hard way. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Laurens Sweeck
“I did an attack on the third lap, and I had a little gap on Meeusen,” said Belgian Laurens Sweeck. “I think Mathieu was on the wheel on Meeusen. Then he came to me, and I had maybe a bad moment from the attack I did, and then I did a little mistake in the turn and Mathieu was just too fast for me. I could stay at 10 seconds for maybe three laps and then I thought, ‘I think he’s too strong for me.’ And the gap behind me was also a little bit bigger, so I thought it was okay for me, second place. I was happy with that.” Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Jonathan Page
American Jonathan Page finished 26th. “If you don’t start well and don’t have an amazing day, you’re not going to be up there,” he said. “You have to go three times as fast to try to catch up to anybody. It’s a new layout of the course, it’s quite fun actually. We did a hell of a lot of laps, I think 11 or 12 of them. All in all it was a good race, it’s just no fun to be way back there.” Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Tom Meeusen
Tom Meeusen led Corné Van Kessel and Rob Peeters up the river bank as the race neared its midpoint. “It’s not that because Nys and Pauwels and Van der Haar are not here that the tempo of the race is not high,” said Meeusen. “Van der Poel today was very strong. This is a race that suits him very well, very heavy, technical sand sections with very fast sections between. So it was a very interval course, and that suits him perfectly, so the tempo of the race was very high in the beginning.” Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Dave De Cleyn
Dave De Cleyn hopped a bump on the course in front a large swimming pool at the race venue. Though it is a sleepy park most of the winter, the riverside Scheldecross venue, with pools and restaurants and its sandy beach, is a popular place for residents of Antwerp to cool off during the summer. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Mathieu van der Poel
His barrier-hopping skills definitely did not hurt Mathieu van der Poel’s impressive effort on Saturday. “It was a course that suits me well,” he said. “I like this kind of course, when it’s fast and technical and then a few sand sections. It was really fun today.” Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Philipp Walsleben
German Philipp Walsleben was one of five riders who battled for the final podium place on Saturday. But none could match Tom Meeusen’s closing effort — Walsleben finished fifth. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Essential Equipment
Start lists and plastic cups of beer are essential equipment for spectators. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Mathieu van der Poel
There was plenty to be happy about for 19-year-old Mathieu van der Poel, who earned his second elite victory and seventh elite podium finish of the season on Satuday. “I felt that I could manage to keep the tempo for the whole hour, and it was difficult,” he said. “But it’s awesome to ride in the front, alone, with the crowd supporting you.” Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Kisses
There were kisses waiting for Czech Radomir Simunek Jr. on the finish line after a 14th place finish on Saturday. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Waiting, Part 4
The podium presenters awaited the arrival Mathieu van der Poel, Laurens Sweeck, and Tom Meeusen after the men’s race on Saturday. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Tom Meeusen
Tom Meeusen shared a laugh with officials after climbing on the podium. Meeusen had to step down and check the numbers on the front of the podium after first stepping onto the wrong platform. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com
2014 Scheldecross: Waiting, Part 5
It’s a long day for the workers who feed cyclocross fans every weekend. Race promoters keep the party tents — and the food and drinks that go with the party — going for hours after the race ends in attempt to slow the flow of thousands of fans from the venue to reduce traffic in the surrounding neighborhood. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com