Van Broeckhoven, 25, adds the title to his European championship wins of 2009 and 2010 and his fourth place worldwide last year. He is the first Belgian to win the world title and the first European in 11 years. And that’s despite a knee injury in the first of the competition’s seven stages, which took place in Vietnam. He then went on to win three of the next five stages and place second twice – enough to give him an unassailable lead before going entering the finals on the island of Sylt, Germany, last September.
“It’s like winning the lottery. I’m going to need some time for it to sink in,” Van Broeckhoven said. “I know what I’m capable of and what the jury wants to see, but I never dreamed I would take the title.”