PARIS (AFP) — Dutchwoman Thalita de Jong (Rabobank – Liv) and Belgian Toon Aerts (Telent – Fidea) stormed to European cyclocross titles Sunday in Pontchâteau, France.
Reigning world champion de Jong stayed at the head of the women’s elite race as the field thinned out over the first few laps before soloing away off the front. Although she never had a huge gap, the 22-year-old held off the chase all the way to the finish, taking the win 16 seconds ahead of compatriot Lucinda Brand.
France’s Caroline Mani rounded out the podium in third place, a further second down.
Aerts took a similar approach in the men’s race. Rather than letting pre-race favorites Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert set the tone, he jumped clear midway through the race and never looked back, crossing the line with a 45-second gap.
Dutchman van der Poel took second just ahead of Belgium’s Van Aert, who settled for third.