A surprising result at the Junior Cyclocross World Championships this morning in St Wendel as the French swept the podium with Clément Venturini soloed to claim the rainbow jersey. Twin brothers Doubey rounded off the podium, with Fabien taking second and Loic third.
“In the final descent when I saw the two of them [behind me], I told myself it’s not possible, it’s a dream.” Venturini said.
What a difference a day made in St Wendel, hey I think I’ve said that before but once again the conditions changed. After freezing overnight, the sun and the temperature hovering just above the freezing point started the melt the top layer of the mud resulting in a slip and slide. Especially that innocuous looking but very tricky off-camber section right after the barriers. That morning, many sections of the course, including that off-camber and the chicane before the second pass through the pit, were shaved and when it started to melt, it became like ice.
The impact was immediately felt on the first lap when 95% of the field went down. Not only did they go down but then they had trouble trying to get back up, no traction was found and some were crawling to move up. And with that a selection was made that included Venturini and pre-race favorite Laurens Sweek and his twin brother Diether of Belgium.
L. Sweeck has been dominating the junior races for the season but not today. After marking an attack, Venturini found himself solo off the front when D. Sweeck flatted and he just kept on going. But hearts stopped when on the final lap, he once again went down on the off-camber section and got his shoe and bike caught in the net, after a few seconds he was able to get going again to solo to victory.
Behind him, no one was able to chase him back as the French riders marked every attack, and then the Doubey twins found themselves together following a mechanical problem for Belgian Yorne Van Tichelt. After a quick chat, they decided that F. Doubey would get second.
After the race, tears of happiness for Venturini when La Marseilleise was playing while a few minutes earlier Belgian Michael Vanthourenhout was crying with disappointment after crossing the finish line in 6th.
Andrew Dillman was the top American finishing 21st followed by US Jr National Champion Jeff Bahnson in 25th and Bjorn Fox 50th. Yohan Patry was the top Canadian at 35th, Karl Hoppner was 41st and Benjamin Perry 54th.
Clément Venturini (France). “After the French National Championships, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to participate in this race. I really wanted to finish the French Nationals but I was on the brink of stopping in the middle of the race. But my 6th placed in the general rankings allowed me to be selected, it was a close call. Then at Pont-Chateau, I knew that I had to be strong, that I had to show that I was really there and one of best French riders. It’s a dream, Arnaud Jouffroy is an idol for us youngsters and it’s hard to come to grips that I am the world champion.”
About his inconsistent results. “I think that I’m a very anxious person, sometimes I have trouble managing stress, you can see it on the bike and in real life during school exams. Everyone has faults and I think that this is mine, yes I did miss some goals but I am here at the most important one, a blessing in disguise.”
About the off-camber section. “It scared me a little because I had trouble there every lap, probably I didn’t choose the right tires. Maybe I should have run the section, I tried to ride it and when I was caught, I was scared because I though the net would stay stuck to my shoe, but I gave a good pull and that allowed me to free myself but it wasn’t easy.”
Fabien Doubey (France). “From the start I saw that Clément was at the front so I told myself, like we had said in yesterday’s briefing, ‘a team race’, so I marked everyone that tried to chase Clément, I was successful. I made some mistakes, it was hard, I was yo-yoing. On the last lap, the Belgians caught me, but then they made a mistake and Loic was with me at that point, with that the two of us escaped, we gave it everything until the end to go get second and third place.”
About who would get second. “Loic chatted with me at the top of the hill before the descent, he told me I’ll let you have seocnd place and that was it, we didn’t want to sprint. Anyway, the podium could easily have been Quentin and Kevin, we are the French team, it’s a team not an individual race, and it’s because of the team that we were able to do this, we can’t forget Kevin and Quentin.”
Loic Doubey (France). “We’ve never found ourselves together at a cross race since the beginning of the season and I think that it’s the fist time that we finish together and for me, that is beautiful. Fabien, silver medalist and me in third, Clément champion, it’s only happiness with Quentin and Kevin who also had a great race, chapeau to the French team.”
Top 10 Results
1. Clément Venturini (France) 0:44:31
2. Fabien Doubey (France) 0:00:15
3. Loic Doubey (France)
4. Jakub Skala (Czech Republic) 0:00:36
5. Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) 0:00:37
6. Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) 0:00:45
7. Dominic Zumstein (Switzerland) 0:00:51
8. Silvio Herklotz (Germany) 0:01:09
9. Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic) 0:01:18
10. Stan Godrie (Netherlands) 0:01:29
21. Andrew Dillman (USA) 0:03:05
25. Jeffrey Bahnson (USA) 0:03:20
35. Yohan Patry (Canada) 0:04:22
41. Karl Hoppner (Canada) 0:05:00
50. Bjorn Fox (USA) 0:05:29
54. Benjamin Perry (Canada) 0:05:29