Lars Forster becomes 2021 European champion
In a fast and hot race, Lars Forster won the 2021 XCO European Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia. Denmark's Sebastian Fini was second and Switzerland's Filippo Colombo third.
Lars Forster is the new 2021 European Champion
The men's race at the 2021 European Championships was also marked by some important absentees, such as the last title winner Nino Schurter, but the number of favourites suggested that the race for the title was going to be very interesting.
From the start, the first positions went to three of the riders most likely to take the victory, the Frenchman Maxime Marotte, the Czech Ondrej Cink and the Swiss Lars Forster. But the group was still very large and included names such as Denmark's Simon Andreassen and Italy's Luca Braidot.
The Spanish rider David Valero again did not have a good start, but after his bronze medal at the Olympic Games we can no longer say that a bad start by Valero will end up with a bad race for the Spaniard. Sergio Mantecón and Ismael Esteban did not have a good start either and were behind in 40th position.
The start of lap 2, of 8 laps in total, started again with Marotte in the lead and Andreassen, Forster, Braidot and Swiss Filipo Colombo on his wheel. Czech rider Ondrej Cink, who seems to be dogged by bad luck this year after a flat tyre at the Olympics, was well behind on lap 1 and was now fighting to stay in the top 15.
Still without any major attacks, on lap 3 the German jumped from the back to lead the race for a while, but the front group was still firmly setting the pace of the race.
Forster, Marotte and Colombo were the first to start lap 4 but none of them had yet decided to attack and the front group was still large.
It could be said that the Serbian track favoured Swiss Lars Forster as it is a cyclo-cross course, a discipline in which Forster is a specialist, but the truth is that as the race went on it was becoming clear that it was difficult to open up a gap.
Despite running on the banks of the Danube, the heat was another determining factor in the race and hydration, which was practically constant, could mark the end of the race.
Lars Forster's high and steady pace seemed to be having an effect and by lap 5 only Braidot and Colombo were still on his wheel. Behind, 4 seconds away, Andreassen, Marotte and the Russian Anton Sintov were chasing them.
At the start of lap 6 the two groups merged and only Colombo dropped back. Although Maxime Marotte showed some signs of weakness and dropped off as the lap progressed.
The penultimate lap started with Lars Forster once again in the lead and the groups back together. In total 8 riders were fighting for the victory.
The bell for the last lap rang with a group of seven riders coming through the finish line together and it looked as if we were in for an intense finish. Bottles out and Lars Forster leading the race.
Once again, Swiss rider Lars Forster made a hard, progressive change of pace and was able to put metres between himself and the rest of the pack on the final lap. That gap only increased as he approached the finish line.
Nothing changed in the final metres and Lars Forster entered the finish line as the new European Champion. Sebastian Fini took the silver medal and Filippo Colombo the bronze.
Results 2021 European XCO Men's Championships
- Lars Forster SUI 01:26:30
- Sebastian Fini Cartensen DEN 01:26:33
- Filippo Colombo SUI 01:26:34
- Martins Blums LAT 01:26:34
- Simon Andreassen DEN 01:26:36
- Anton Sintov RUS 01:26:43
- Luca Braidot ITA 01:26:52
- Georg Egger GER 01:27:17
- Reton Indergand SUI 01:27:21
- Luca Schwarzbaumer GER 01:27:36