Michael Vanthourenhout wins under-23 title at world CX championships

Michael Vanthourenhout attacked on the third lap and stayed away, while teammate Laurens Sweeck bounced back from crashes to take second

TABOR (Czech Republic) — Michael Vanthourenhout led a one-two Belgian finish in the under-23 category on Sunday at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Tabor.

Vanthourenhout took the victory by 10 seconds over compatriot Laurens Sweeck with Stan Godrie of the Netherlands third.

The big names spent a quiet first lap before Vanthourenhout, Sweeck, Godrie, Joris Nieuwenhuis, and Vojtech Nipl moved forward.

“I had a bad start, I was seventh, eighth place, and then I took another bike with softer tires and that was better,” said Vanthourenhout. “So I could go to the front, so my problem was solved.”

Three laps in Vanthourenhout attacked. Sweek was isolated in fourth, and the riders in front of him couldn’t respond. The Belgian was off the front and away.

“I waited three laps, and then I thought it was a good moment,” he said. “It seems to be the right choice I made.

“At the moment of my attack I didn’t know really where Laurens was. I attacked and when I looked back I saw I had a little break. I went for half a lap at full power, that’s all I’ve seen, that’s all I know.”

Sweeck began a chase, falling a few times, and the last time he hit the deck it was clear he would be unable to close the gap. Vanthourenhout rode alone to the victory.

But Sweeck was able to capitalize on a late bobble by Godrie and that was that.

“The last [fall] it was too much for the gold. I was not far behind Michael then, but I hurt myself a little,” he said. “Then I waited for Stan and we go for the last lap, and I know it was for second place.”

 Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this report from Tabor.