Team Sunweb rider Joris Nieuwenhuis defended his Dutch Under-23 cyclocross national championship Sunday in Surhuisterveen, winning the national title for the second year in a row. The 21-year-old fought off a strong group of young challengers and recovered from a tire puncture late in the race to earn the win on his TCX Advanced Pro team bike.
The U23 men were combined with the pro/elite men, and the top finisher among them would take home the title. Nieuwenhuis had a strong start and held his position leading his U23 rivals for most of the race.
“I was with a group of three guys until the last lap, so it was a real battle until the end,” said Nieuwenhuis, who wore the Giant Rev helmet on a course that challenged riders with mud, sand and steep run-ups. “Everyone wanted the title so I had to power through each and every lap, racing non-stop until the finish. Each time I took a gap, riders were coming back so I really had to go for it throughout.”
Late in the race, Nieuwenhuis had a tire puncture and surrendered his lead, but he showed poise and fought his way back.
“I nearly got caught out by the flat tire on the second-to-last lap, but I managed to salvage the situation and take my lead back,” he said. “It was full gas from start to finish and I’m really pleased that I was able to take the national title today.”