Jaarmarktcross: Aerts, Brammeier are victorious

Toon Aerts and Nikki Brammeier were victorious at the Jaarmarktcross in Niel, Belgium on Sunday.

Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea) won the Jaarmarktcross in Niel, Belgium on Saturday for the second consecutive year. The former European Champion, a title he lost last week to Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon), was the strongest on the heavy muddy course and he paced himself perfectly to take the victory. Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) recovered from an early crash to finish second, with Aert’s teammate Corne van Kessel rounding out the podium.

World champion Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles), Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea), and van der Poel did not take the start in Niel, opting to rest in preparation for Sunday’s Superprestige race in Gavere. Marlux-Napolean Games teammates Michael Vanthourenhout and Tim Merlier got off to a quick start and immediately opened a gap early on lap. Behind them, Sweeck crashed at the barriers and lost considerable time. David van der Poel also crashed on the opening lap.

Vanthourenhout left Merlier behind and went solo on the second lap, but Aerts had begun to find his rhythm and was closing in. Last year’s winner in Niel was driving the chase group of Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts-betFIRST), Van Kessel, Tom Meeusen (Beobank-Corendon) and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napolean Games). The chase quickly caught Merlier, leaving Vanthourenhout the only rider out front.

Meeusen, Vermeersch, and Merlier would not be able to hold the pace in the group and dropped off. Merlier also suffered a broken chain midway through the race and had to make a long run to the pits. With the chase group now down to three, Aerts decided it was time to bring Vanthourenhout back and left Pauwels and Van Kessel behind in pursuit of the lone leader.

Soon after, Van Kessel powered away from Pauwels and bridged to his teammate. Aerts and Van Kessel rode well together to reduce Vanthourthenhout’s gap. However, it was also evident that the fourth-place finisher at the European Championships a week ago was beginning to pay for his early efforts.

With under four laps to go, Aerts left Van Kessel behind and closed the gap to Vanthourenhout. The winning margin would be made when Vanthourenhout made a mistake through the sand section and was forced to run while Aerts cleanly rode the entire section.

Meanwhile, Sweeck had been making great headway in working back toward the front of the race and had caught Van Kessel, who was sitting in the third position.

After taking the lead, Aerts was flawless the rest of the race, taking a comfortable win. Jaamarktcross was his first race back in his trade team kit after losing the European Championship and he wore it well by taking the victory. Vanthourenhout’s fast start came back to hurt him as he faded greatly toward the end of the race. He fought hard to keep Sweek and Van Kessel behind, but the duo passed him right near the end and he had to settle for fourth. Sweeck beat Van Kessel in the sprint for second.

Elite men top-10

  • 1. Toon Aerts, (BEL), 1:03:11
  • 2. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL), 1:03:28
  • 3. Corne Van Kessel, (NED), 1:03:30
  • 4. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:03:56
  • 5. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), 1:04:14
  • 6. Tom Meeusen, (BEL), 1:04:26
  • 7. Tim Merlier, (BEL), 1:04:42
  • 8. Marcel Meisen, (GER), 1:04:57
  • 9. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL), 1:05:01
  • 10. Diether Sweeck, (BEL), 1:05:15

Brammeier takes advantage of Cant’s crash

Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans) took the victory in the elite women’s race at Jaarmarktcross, as world champion Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) crashed at the end of the opening lap, causing a decisive split in the lead group. Alice Maria Arzuffi (Steylaerts Betfirst) finished second with Ellen van Loy (Telenet Fidea) third.

A quick opening lap saw the emergence of a five-rider lead group. The group contained Cant, Brammeier, van Loy, Arzuffi and Loes Sels (Crelan-Charles). Cant was seeking her fifth win a row, having won her previous four starts. The most recent was the European championship last weekend. It was the third time she won the European championship.

Cant led the lead group onto to the finishing straight to conclude the opening lap, but disaster struck her. She crashed heavily, also taking down van Loy and Arzuffi. The latter two were able to get up rather quickly and continue, but Cant had issues with her bike. The handlebars were crooked and she had difficulty correcting them. She would ultimately finish in 10th.

After the crash, Brammeier and Sels suddenly found themselves battling for the win. Van Loy was able to remount her bike quickly and fought hard to catch back up to Brammeier and Sels. She would make the junction and as would Arzuffi.

The quartet entered the final lap together, making for an exciting finish. Arzuffi attacked multiple times, but was unable to gap the others.

Brammeier tried a dig herself and thus the winning move was made. The Briton gained a few meters and that proved to be all she would need. In the sprint for the second place, Arzuffi handily beat Van Loy and Sels.

For Brammeier, the victory in Niel was her first victory in almost two years.

Elite women full results

  • 1. Nikki Brammeier, (GBR), 42:06
  • 2. Alice Maria Arzuffi, (ITA), 42:11
  • 3. Ellen Van Loy, (BEL), 42:11
  • 4. Loes Sels, (BEL), 42:11
  • 5. Elle Anderson, (USA), 42:56
  • 6. Nikola NoskovÁ, (CZE), 43:31
  • 7. Karen Verhestraeten, (BEL), 43:37
  • 8. Denise Betsema, (NED), 43:54
  • 9. Axelle Bellaert, (BEL), 44:47
  • 10. Sanne Cant, (BEL), 44:49
  • 11. Shana Maes, (BEL), 45:25
  • 12. Marthe Truyen, (BEL), 45:49
  • 13. Meg De Bruyne, (BEL), 46:07
  • 14. Jinse Peeters, (BEL), 46:10
  • 15. Veerle Goossens, (NED), 47:21
  • 16. Caren Commissaris, (BEL), 47:39
  • 17. Laura Van Der Zwaan, (NED), 48:12
  • 18. Elodie Kuijper, (NED), 48:41
  • 19. Tine Rombouts, (BEL), 48:41
  • 20. Lise Van Wunsel, (BEL), 50:01
  • 21. Tessa Zwaenepoel, (BEL), 51:01
  • 22. Nele De Vos, (BEL)
  • 23. Sara Beeckmans, (BEL)
  • 24. Kirstie Van Haaften, (NED)

Elite men full results

  • 1. Toon Aerts, (BEL), 1:03:11
  • 2. Laurens Sweeck, (BEL), 1:03:28
  • 3. Corne Van Kessel, (NED), 1:03:30
  • 4. Michael Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:03:56
  • 5. Gianni Vermeersch, (BEL), 1:04:14
  • 6. Tom Meeusen, (BEL), 1:04:26
  • 7. Tim Merlier, (BEL), 1:04:42
  • 8. Marcel Meisen, (GER), 1:04:57
  • 9. Kevin Pauwels, (BEL), 1:05:01
  • 10. Diether Sweeck, (BEL), 1:05:15
  • 11. Vincent Baestaens, (BEL), 1:05:59
  • 12. Joeri Adams, (BEL), 1:06:09
  • 13. Jim Aernouts, (BEL), 1:06:29
  • 14. Rob Peeters, (BEL), 1:07:07
  • 15. Dieter Vanthourenhout, (BEL), 1:07:09
  • 16. Braam Merlier, (BEL), 1:07:11
  • 17. Yorben Van Tichelt, (BEL), 1:07:11
  • 18. David Van Der Poel, (NED), 1:07:32
  • 19. Thijs Aerts, (BEL), 1:08:17
  • 20. Robin Alderweireld, (BEL), 1:08:42
  • 21. Nick Peers, (BEL)
  • 22. Alex Colman, (BEL)
  • 23. Wouter Goosen, (BEL)
  • 24. Manuel Todaro, (ITA)
  • 25. Pieter Meelberghs, (BEL)