Grand Prix de la Region Wallonne (C2)
French National Champion Francis Mourey went two-for-two in his native France this past weekend, proving that he has great form. Mourey won this race last year and is a favorite to win again, but in order to do so he’ll have to content with a handful of competitors who usually best him. Belgian National Champion Niels Albert will be looking to rebound from a bad race on Tuesday’s Koppenbergcross and should provide a good challenge for Mourey. Zdenek Stybar is a late addition to the start list and would love to finally take the top step of the podium after multiple podium appearances. Rob Peeters could provide the upset, he’s on good form and finished seventh last year.
GVA Trofee – Ronse (C2)
Round one of the GVA Trofee saw Kevin Pauwels ride away from Zdenk Stybar and Sven Nys on the course around the Koppenberg. This weekend, the series moves to Ronse, Belgium for round two. Last year in Ronse, Sven Nys picked up the victory in the first edition of the race. After Tuesday, Pauwels has to be the heavy favorite, but Nys will surely be looking to beat the younger Belgian. Stybar should play into the mix, but he will have his hands full. Young Tom Meeusen put in a stellar ride on Tuesday and if he can keep in contact with the leaders, he could finish on the podium. Finally, there’s Bart Aernouts, who has shown good form over the past few weeks. Look for Aernouts to try to get into the mix early and try to stay in contact with the leaders.
International Radquer Hittnau (C2)
Lukas Fluckiger has been seemingly unbeatable on home soil, until last weekends race, where fellow Swiss Marcel Wildhaber won a fast, hard race. Fluckiger will be looking for revenge this weekend in Hittnau. Four out of last weeks top-five finishers will be on the start line including Wildhaber, Simon Zahner, Sascha Weber and David Kasek. All of whom are capable of winning this weekend. Petr Dlask and Enrico Franzoi are making the trip to Hittnau and could provide a few surprises.
International Radquerfeldein Lambach/Stadl-Paura (C2)
This is one of only two UCI races in Austria, the other being their National Championships. There’s no start list readily available, but based on last year’s results this could be an entirely Czech affair. Last year they took the top six spots, led by winner Ondrej Bambula. This year, look for last years second place finisher, Vladimir Kyzivat to pick up the victory in Stradl-Paura. David Kasek, who finished third last year, could also figure in the mix. Austrian National Champion Peter Presslauer would love to pick up the victory in front of his home nation, but a top-20 would be a solid result. Of course, without a start list, a random Belgian or German could show up and steal the show.
European Championships (CC)
Europe’s top Women, Juniors and U23 men will head to Lucca, Italy for the European Championships this weekend. The Dutch could, and should walk away with victories in all three races. Mathieu van der Poel and Lars van der Haar currently lead the junior and U23 World Cup standings. Van der Haar seems to be riding at another level right now after dominating in Tabor and winning in a sprint in the Koppenbergcross. Van der Poel has dominated this season as well, taking four wins in six starts this season. His worst finish came on Tuesday, where he finished fourth in Koppenbercross. Van der Poel has got good blood in his veins – he’s the grandson of Raymond Poulidor and the son of Adri Van der Poel, who can count among his palmares a Cyclocross World Championship, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. As far as the women are concerned, 23-year-old Sanne van Paassen is the top favorite after racking up two wins in three days this past week, She won the Superprestige round in Zonhoven and the Koppenbergcross on Tuesday.