Joe Skipper, Mauricio Méndez Cruz, Romain Guillaume, Timothy van Houtem and Pieter Heemeryck: there will be some strong pros at this year’s edition of CHALLENGEGERAARDSBERGEN. Among the women none other than Alexandra Tondeur, Elisabetta Curridori, Katrien Verstuyft, Eva Wutti, Daniela Bleymehl and Carolin Lehrieder. These are just a few of the very strong athletes that will start this Sunday on one of the most iconic Middle Distance races on the CHALLENGEFAMILY calendar. Title defender Heemeryck is looking forward to it. “A race in your home country is always very special.”
Because CHALLENGEGERAARDSBERGEN is this special for Heemeryck, who is also the current leader of the CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus, his preparations were optimal. “After THECHAMPIONSHIP, in Samorin, I have rested a lot and now I’m more than ready to race. My preparations were very good and I’m looking forward to race again.”
Heemeryck is not only looking forward, but also looks back at THECHAMPIONSHIP, where he did have an energetic start, actually leading the race from start and almost all the way to the finish, until Sebastian Kienle made his final move in the last two kilometres and then claimed the victory. “I wasn’t disappointed. Rather, I see it as a missed opportunity, but also as a confirmation of the fact that I’m following the right path”, said the Belgian who is a full-time professional for the first time this year. “I have shown that I can compete with the best athletes in the world and that gives me a lot of confidence towards the future.”
Heemeryck is keen to take the victory in Geraardsbergen, which would bring him the Belgian title Middle Distance as well and of course a lot of points for the CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus. This will be even more exciting, because the current number two in the rankings, Romain Guillaume, will also race in Geraardsbergen. ”It will give me an extra boost for the rankings if I’m finishing in front of Romain”, said Heemeryck. “But I don’t feel any extra pressure to be honest: I only need just two good results to secure the best possible outcome.”
Where the men’s race promises to be a very exciting one, the women’s race definitely will be one to watch as well. In the battle for the Belgian title a lot can be expected of Alexandra Tondeur, Tine Deckers, Sara van de Vel and of course Katrien Verstuyft. But, for the overall victory these Belgium athletes also have to deal with women like Eva Wutti, Carolin Lehrieder, Elisabetta Curridori and Daniela Bleymehl.