Michael Vanthourenhout won his first European title, crossing the line solo after a spectacular race on the flanks of the Namur Citadel.
The already challenging course of Namur became even more difficult as the rain started falling before the elite men’s race. By the end of the first lap Vanthourenhout was still 7 seconds behind race leader Van der Haar, but cloed the gap in lap two. Halfway the race it was clear that the European title would be for Vanthourenhout or defending champion Van der Haar as they changed leads in the following laps. With four more laps to go, Vanthourenhout made the decisive attack. The Belgian continued to push out his advantage and had a lead of 41 seconds going into the final lap. Vanthourenhout was able to hold his pace all the way to the line, taking an empathic victory on the flanks of the Namur Citadel. Laurens Sweeck ensured a second Belgian on the podium with third place.
For Vanthourenhout, it’s his third win of the season and his biggest win in his career yet.
“It was very tough, it was one of the hardest races I ever raced. I felt that my legs were very good but in the second or third lap I made many mistakes and it was really difficult to catch Lars. I kept pushing and I think that Lars made a lot of mistakes, and maybe I was a little bit stronger in the technical sections. I loved the race here. This victory means a lot to me. I’ve never raced with a jersey in the elite category so, for me, it’s the biggest victory of my life. It’s beautiful.”