Team Sunweb’s Joris Nieuwenhuis set out to defend his U23 cyclo-cross world champion title in Valkenburg today, ultimately holding out to take a solid 2nd place.
A strong start saw Joris lead the race with two other riders close on his trail. The demanding parcours meant that Joris dropped back into second with a crash and mechanical causing him to lose time. As a gap opened to the leader of the race, Joris continued to fight for the silver medal with another rider and worked to limit his losses to the front of the race. Whilst the gap to the solo leader became too big to close, Joris jumped clear of his rival and powered through to second place.
After the race Joris said: “I’ve never been so deflated after a race before. It was a really challenging course but I fought hard; watching the jersey be handed to someone else was really tough to see. I have to be happy with 2nd after a difficult season and this was definitely my best race of the whole year.”
Team Sunweb coach Herman Snoeijink added: “It was a really hard race and Joris got off to a really good start. He used his initiative and was at the front with the right people. After a crash and problems with his shoes, the difference between the leading rider became too big. Nevertheless this is a really good second place for Joris.”