Photo of the week: A cyclo-cross to remember

Summary

Both the men’s and women’s cyclo-cross championships were tear-inducing this year, as history was made and family commemorated

Record-breaking win

History was made last Saturday at the Women’s Elite Cyclo-cross Championships in Antwerp when Sanne Cant (pictured) took the Belgian title for the 11th time in a row. She broke the previous record set by Roland Liboton of 10 in a row in the 1980s.

Cant, who rides for Iko-Crelan, got to pedal to her record-breaking victory in her hometown. She has also won the European Cyclo-cross Championship three times, and is the current world champion, a title she has successfully defended twice.

When asked after the race if it was a comfortable win, the 29-year-old replied “more or less” but that there is a lot of pressure due to expectations. “Every race is different, and you have to wait and see how the legs are,” she said. “Once you start making mistakes, it can quickly go wrong on a course like this. It’s a race that is only mine to lose, and that is stressful.”

In honour of granddad

Emotions also ran high last Sunday when Flemish cyclist Laurens Sweeck crossed the finish line first in the Men’s Elite Cyclo-cross Championships. It was the 26-year-old’s first pro title win.

Sweeck (pictured) cruised solo for a good 50 seconds among the cheering crowd gathered in Linkeroever. His grandfather, former pro cyclist Alfons Sweeck, passed away last month, making this performance all the more meaningful.

Laurens and his twin brother Diether both ride for Belgian team Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. A third brother, Hendrik, is also a pro cyclist, privately sponsored by TÜV-SÜD. All three were riding on Sunday, so the brothers could join the celebration as they crossed the finish line.

Sweeck now has the cyclocross national title at all four levels: youngsters, juniors, up-and-comers and pros. “This win is absolutely in honour of my grandfather,” said Sweeck after the race. “The flowers are going to a beautiful place for him. I was thinking about him during the race, and that was the most important thing to me.”

Photos: ©David Stockman/BELGA