Laurens Sweeck is the big surprise at the Belgian Cyclocross Championships

Laurens Sweeck is the new Belgian cyclocross champion. The 26-year-old made the most of team tactics to advance his team mate and favourite Eli Iserbyt. Defending champion Toon Aerts took the bronze. 

It was an emotional Laurens Sweeck who claimed the Belgian crown. "This one is for my grandfather. I wish he could have seen this. But I am sure he was with me. I felt good from the start and stayed calm," he said. 

Sweeck had a bonus of 32 seconds at the finish. He made the most of excellent team work (though professional teams should, in theory, not play a role in a national championship) as his team mates at Pauwels Sauzen Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout were reducing the pace behind him on a course where overtaking a rider is not so easy. 

The race took place on the beach of Sint-Anneke, on the left banks of the River Scheldt, in the shadow of the city of Antwerp. The course also included a section across a large floating pontoon, a real novelty. 

(photo below: Eli Iserbyt, the new champion Laurens Sweeck and last year's champion Toon Aerts)