It will take place on Sunday, January 12, 2020, in Antwerp. Last year, Toon Aerts put on his first tricolor jersey as a professional. Discover below the favorites of the 2020 edition, as well as the outsiders likely to thwart the predictions.
Belgian cyclo-cross championship: favorites and outsiders
A serious candidate for his own succession, the runner of the Telenet-Baloise Lions team will, however, be faced with competitors resolutely determined to deprive him of a second consecutive title. In the absence of the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, Aerts won in the second and fifth rounds of the Super prestige (Boom and Zonhoven). On December 14, our compatriot also won the Grand Prix Mario De Clercq in Ronse, ahead of Eli Iserbyt and … Mathieu van der Poel.
Last year, in Kruibeke, Eli Iserbyt failed at the foot of the podium. In the absence of Mathieu van der Poel, the young 22-year-old prodigy generously dominated the start of the season. Already a winner of 3 consecutive rounds of the World Cup (Iowa City, Waterloo and Bern), he also triumphed in Kruibeke (Polders cross), Gieten (Super prestige), Gavere (Super prestige), as well as in Audenaerde (cyclo- Kloppenburg cross). After a modest thirteenth place in Koksijde (November 24) and an abandonment at mid-race during the cyclo-cross of Namur (December 22), the Flandrien lost his leadership in the classification of the Telenet UCI World Cup to the benefit of Toon Aerts.
Laurens Sweeck, 26, is undoubtedly one of the most regular Belgian runners of the season. In addition to three victories, Eeklo’s Ethias Cross, Waterloo’s Trek Cup (United States) and Pelt’s Rectavit Series Grand Prix, and two third places, the Louvaniste was repeatedly on the second step of the podium. A status of “eternal second” from which he would like to depart.
In clear progress compared to last year, Tim Merlier has a rather convincing 2019-2020 season. Despite two poor performances, fourteenth at Gavere and tenth at the European Championship in Silvelle (Italy), he worked from the places of honor. Third in the second round of the AP Assurances Trophy, disputed in Ham me on November 17, 2019, the Kortrijk ranked second a week later in the Wachtebeke cyclo-cross, before finishing the year in style in finishing second at Bredene (December 30).
Sixth last year at the Belgian Championship disputed in Kruibeke, Jens Adams has established himself as one of the main challenges of the 2020 edition. This season, the 27-year-old Champions has not yet managed to really dictate his law. Despite a promising start to the season (fifth in the first round of the Super prestige at Gieten on October 13 and several Top 10s), he had to settle for an eighth-place in Zonhoven on December 8 and a fifth place in the Waaslandcross de Saint-Nicolas (December 21). I can do better!
Last year, the Brugeois created a surprise by placing third in the Belgian Championship of the specialty. This season, it is singularly lacking in regularity, its only titles of glory being the first place during the Ethias Cross of Meulebeke (October 5, 2019), as well as a fourth place in the European Championship.
This season, Quinten Hermans, 24, has demonstrated what he can do by winning the Ethias Cross in Beringen, as well as in Essen. After a slight slump in November, it has regained form and regularly targets places of honor. The ultimate outsider.
Originally from Brasschaat, Tom Meeusen is the kind of runner capable of creating surprise in all circumstances. In the past, he has often been criticized for taking too impulsive departures. Uncomfortable on sandy courses, he can prove to be a pugnacious opponent, provided however to balance his efforts.
Brilliant third in the Belgian Championship in 2018, the Herentals native did not shine in the 2019 edition, which he finished in seventeenth place. In the net loss of speed this season, Soete is nevertheless one of those runners capable of outdoing itself on special occasions.
Wout Van Aert
A question remains as to the Belgian Cyclo-cross Championship: Will Wout Van Aert is able to join in the fight for the title? Victim of a heavy fall during the last Tour de France, Van Aert returned to the plowed on December 27th at Lineout, on the occasion of the “Cross des as”. A rather promising comeback since he finished in fifth place. Belgian champion in 2016, 2017 and 2018, he had to give up the red, yellow and black tunic in 2019, in favor of Toon Aerts. That is to say that he will be hyper-motivated to win back the coveted trophy.