Strong field ready to start BeMC 2017
Tomorrow at 11 a.m. some 600 riders, coming from 21 different countries, will start the sixth edition of the Belgian Mountainbike Challenge powered by Specialized. This shows that the BeMC remains the biggest mountainbike stage race in the Benelux.
Also the quality of the field keeps on growing. With 2016 winner Tiago Ferreira, we have for the first time a reigning World Champion at the start. Woning the rainbow jersey does not mean he will get the win for free. Former winner Sören Nissen is no doubt out for revenge after not being able to defend his chances last year due to illness and material failure, but also top riders such as former World Champion cyclocross Mathieu Van der Poel, Ducth champion XCO and Belgian Champion XCM Frans Claes are eager for a good result in what can be described as “the hardest mountainbik tour in the Benelxu”.
In the Woman’s category last year’s winner Sally Bigham could unfortunately not join us because of health issues, but the runners-ip Jovana Crnogorac and Stefanie Dohrn will for sure be ready to take the bleu Stages Cycling leader jersey. The entire podium of last week’s Roc d’Ardenne, with on the Austrian top 2016 Alpentour winner Christina Kollmann is also present and planning to have a say in the battle. Multiple Belgian champion XCM Alice Pirard and her Dutch counterpart Hielke Elferink will try to defend the honour of the “low countries”.
In BeMC Open it also promises to become a nice battle. Last year’s winners Bart Van Hecke (Master 1), Arne Daelmans (Master 2) and Cedric Himpe (FUN) are all at the starting line. But they will have some hard competition from men such as Michiel Van Aelbroeck, Kris Henderieckx, the German Lars Lindemann and the Danish Jens Gorm Hansen.
In the woman’s open race it promises to be an open fight with no real favorite. Let’s see who goes home with a Lauf fork on Sunday.
The first stage is no longer the shortest ine. At 11 a.m. sharp the riders set off for some 87 km with 2.400 vertical meters of climbing. The first few kilometers are all uphill on asphalt with parts above 10% in the direction of the Parc à Gibier. Once they crossed the top of the Col d’Haussiere it is mainly downhill to Maboge were the famous wall, with parts above 20%, awaits.
After the first Tech and Feedzone in Buisson it gets easier. On the wide gravel roads past Journal, the wind could be an important factor.
Between feedstation 2 and 3 in Wyompont riders do a loop in the woods before heading back to Buisson on a mix of fast wide gravel roads and steep climbs. The last climb to Borzée will no doubt hurt for most riders.
The finish is expected between 14h45 and 15h.
You can find more information on stage 1 at www.bemc.be/rit-1/?lang=en
The video summary of stage 1 is expected Friday around 8 p.m.