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While Ils Van der Moeren and Ivan Centrone, second in their respective races, narrowly missed this goal, Cyriane Muller joined the very closed circle of the triple winners of La Charly Gaul, together with Jean-Charles Martin, Peter Schroen and Sione Jongstra, as she took a third consecutive victory in the women's race of the smaller course (104 km). On a splendid autumn day, where only the fog was a troublemaker in the early morning by making the roads slippery and dangerous in some places, a little less than 1.200 competitors presented themselves together on the start line in Echternach, placing this Charly Gaul of the resumption after COVID right away in the Top 5 of the most popular editions since 32 years. If Cyriane Muller wasn't at here first attempt, the other categories registered new names in the line of winners corresponding to 2022: Charles Planet and Janine Meyer on the long distance and Amaury Gilles in the men's B-course inaugurated their account with La Charly Gaul

1162 riders were registered on the start lists for this 32nd edition and 1107 of them actually crossed the start line with a working transponder. After 2017 (1.360 participants), 2013 (1.288 starters) and 2018 (1.183 competitors), the 2022 edition is in fourth place of the most popular editions in the history of the cyclosportive, if our statistics are correct. As a novelty this year, more than half of the competitors (51%) opted for the 145 km, establishing with 568 starters a new participation record on the long distance, a few units ahead of the 540 of the year 2017. A little less than 7% of the competitors were women (75 starters), which is about the same proportion as just before the COVID years, but more participants than ever opted for the long course, setting a new record for female participation on the long distance with 26 girls, 2 more than in 2018, the year of the previous record.

23 nationalities were present this year in Echternach, and as usual, the Belgians took the lion's share with 446 participants, far ahead of Luxembourg and its 267 competitors, France (118 participants) and Germany (112 units). If we add the 108 Dutch riders, the Benelux countries again represent nearly 75% of the participants of this cyclosportive, a constant in the recent history of La Charly Gaul. Some more exotic nations were present at the start with an Egyptian, a New Zealander, a rider from the Philippines and two Japanese contenders on the market place in Echternach. Nathan Gousenbourger, the youngest participant of the 2022 edition was just 14 years old, the legal minimum to participate in the race, whereas only one of the 12 minor participants present in Echternach had the exemplary courage to compete in the long distance, Mathis Feireisen logically inheriting the victory in the D category of this distance with a nice 224th place in the scratch classification, at an average speed of more than 33 km/h. On the other side of the age pyramid, evergreen Hans May was the oldest contender of the race at 83 years old, while Julien Villiance, also a repetitive partitipant of La Charly Gaul, was the only rider older than 70 years to compete in the long distance, winning the category of the most experienced riders for the second consecutive year. 100 people of more than 60 years of age showed up at the start this year, five times more than ten years ago for example. Hats off to all these achievements. Hats off also to Nico Thoma and Yves Lehnert who both finished their 32nd cyclo-sportive with the respectable average speed of 21 respectively 25 km/h on the long distance, and as a bonus a superb full-page report in a national newspaper.

Concerning the course, Nico Thoma said it was one of the most difficult Charly Gaul rides of all time (measured in meters of change in altitude divided by the distance), but it is also certain that the long course was one of the shortest ever with "only" 145 kilometers, almost 20 less than in 2017 for example. But with 13 climbs and more than 2,100 meters of elevation change, the verticality was present in the race profile. This is of course also true for the short course, which, due to the common start with the A-course, was tougher than usual with 104 kilometers and no less than 4 climbs with more than 200 meters of elevation gain. It was a classic course with very few novelties, the real innovation being the common start of the two courses and, of course, the passage through Germany for the return to Echternach. Both were very good experiences in our opinion, since the common start, although it increased the size of the pelotons in the first kilometers and perhaps accentuated certain risks, allowed to facilitate the organization and, above all, to limit dangerous movements and overtakes on public roads and, therefore, to increase safety on and around the course. As for the few kilometers spent on the other side of the border, they were superb. The Germans welcomed us with great kindness and enthusiasm and made a great work in terms of security, with complete roadblocks between Bollendorf and Echternacherbrück.


It was Charel Meyers who led the long, huge peloton of more than 1000 riders at the start of the Berdorf climb, at kilometer 0 of the race after the neutralized course. Under the impulse of Ruben Brouwens and Frédéric Glorieux, about 20 riders already took the lead in this first difficulty, reaching the top with a slight advantage. A little later, in direction of Grundhof, the lead of the small group had increased after the acceleration of Arnaud de Lie. The latter however lost contact with the head of the race after having lost his glasses and turned around, looking for his binoculars. The rising star of Belgian cycling didn't care about this waste of time: De Lie was obviously in Echternach for a hard training session and not to finish on the podium. Just like the other World-Tour rider present at La Charly Gaul, Kévin Van Melsen, who was back on his bike after a broken collarbone a few weeks ago and who also rode in a second group after a mechanical incident. If the World Tour stars took it lightly, their continental pro colleagues, on the other hand, looked very motivated to go for the win. Ivan Centrone and Charles Planet in particular, the riders of the Geofco-Doltcini and Novo Nordisk teams, weighed in on the race to make a further selection in the next few kilometers.

In Hoscheid, after about 50 kilometers of race and three climbs, a small group of only 7 riders was in the lead: Ivan Centrone of course, the double winner of La Charly Gaul (2016 and 2017) and recent stage winner at the Tour de Guadeloupe, led the small group ahead of mountain bike specialist Jonas De Backer, Pierre Coutroy, who had already finished fourth of a Charly Gaul in 2019 and Tom Paquet, the winner of the Grand-prix OST 2021 in Echternach, one of the races that were part of the alternative edition of La Charly Gaul organized 12 months ago. Vince Mattens, winner this year of a cyclo-sportive above Munster in the Alsace region, Michiel Minnaert, double winner of the famous Marmotte in the Alps as well as the experienced Ruben Brouwers were also part of this leading group, but the chasers were very close behind. Charles Planet, the diabetic rider of the Novo Nordisk team who became known for having done a break of more than 250 km on Milan-San Remo 2019, was leading a second group of a dozen competitors with among others Michael Apers, the defending champion of the cyclo-sport version of the Charly Gaul, Frédéric Glorieux, his runner-up in 2019 in Echternach, Axel de Lie, brother of Arnaud who regularly wins regional races in the province of Luxembourg, Niels Merckx, former Baloise-Trek rider and winner of the Tour of Vlaams Brabant in 2020, Kristof Houben, a former Belgian amateur mountain bike champion and category winner at the Schleck Gran Fondo, Nicolas Dricot, Antonin Chatila-Brunotte as well as the Luxembourgers Rafael Perreira Marques and Charel Meyers. Less than a minute behind the race leader, a third group included Van Melsen, the Intermarché Wanty Gobert rider as well as Noé Ury, the winner of the Schleck Media Fondo 2021 with a long solo ride, Max Valtey, 8th of the last Grand-prix OST in Bech, as well as Stijn Van Winghe, Wieben Snijders, Dave Spapen and Nicolas Janvier.

After that, the first three echelons joined together in a leading group of 23 riders, just to split up a little later, leaving 13 competitors in the lead on the Hoesdorf climb. Among them were Ivan Centrone, Charles Planet, Michiel Minnard, Axel De Lie, Frédéric Glorieux, Tom Paquet and Michael Apers. Behind those, small groups followed up the road and Arnaud de Lie had made an impressive comeback in the meantime, he was only about 40 seconds behind the leaders, together with Van Melsen, Noé Ury and Max Valtey. After kilometer 100, there was another selection: Axel de Lie lost contact with the leaders, as did Michael Apers and Rafael Perreira Marques. Nine were still together in the Sûre valley to fight for the victory in the last kilometers, on the flat. Centrone, the former winner of the Grand-prix OST, second this year also in Bech, was still leading the race ahead of Paquet, former Luxemburgish junior champion, Minnaert, winner of the Schleck Medio Fondo 2019 and Glorieux, who has already finished 4 times on the podium of La Charly Gaul without ever being able to win (2nd in 2015, 2016 and 2019, 3rd in 2017). They were also accompanied by Charles Planet, Pierre Courtoy, Vince Mattens, Niels Merckx and Jonas De Backer. Behind them, Ruben Brouwers was at only a few seconds, while the De Lie brothers, with Noé Ury, Michael Apers, Max Valtey and Kristof Houben among others, were more than two minutes behind at that moment. The decision was finally made in a sprint and Chalres Planet was faster than Ivan Centrone and Michiel Minnaert, in that order. A nice revenge for the Frenchman who had a serious crash in May, taking several weeks before he could walk again and who plans his return to the professional peloton for the end of the season after months of rehabilitation and intensive training.

In the WOMEN'S category, one participant largely dominated the race: Janine Meyer won by more than 7 minutes, after having been in the lead from the beginning to the end of the race. The winner of races like the Tour Transalp, the GFNY Germany or the Highlander Radmarathon had to tolerate the title holder Ils Van der Moeren close to here for a while, but in the end the gap was quite big. The two girls had managed to get a really good position on the starting grid and after the first difficulty, they were head to head in the second men's group, only about 30 seconds behind the overall race leader. Hester de Graaf and Reinet Van der Wal, respectively 4th and 6th of the Schleck Gran Fondo in May, were much more inexperienced on La Charly Gaul and one group further back: they were already 20 seconds behind with Renée Van Hout, Anelotte Dikkman and Hetty Hofstede. The other former winner of the race (in 2012 and 2013), Ingrid Haast, was more than a minute behind at that moment after a rather moderate start.

After 80 kilometers of racing, next to Hoesdorf, Meyer and Van der Moeren were still together, well anchored in the Top 100 in the scratch classification and about fifteen minutes behind the leading men's group. Hofstede followed three minutes later in third place, while all other competitors were much further back and Renée Van Hout had left Van der Wal, De Graaf and Dikkman behind. In the last fifty kilometers, Jannina Meyer finally left her most persistent competitor behind: the runner-up of Van der Moeren in 2017 had dropped the double winner (2017 and 2019) who lost a lot of time in the next passages and was caught by Renée Van Hout, third woman in the race. At a good thirty kilometers from the finish, both girls were more than five minutes behind the German. Janine Meyer finally won the women's race on the long course in just four hours, at an average speed of over 36 km/h and 73rd overall, less than 19 minutes behind the men's winner. In 108th and 113th position respectively, Ils van der Moeren and Renée Van Hout completed the women's podium, while 8 minutes later, Reinet Van de Wal and Hester De Graf fought for the 4th and 5th place also in a sprint. 24 girls finished this Charly Gaul long distance race.


For most of the contenders of La Charly Gaul B, the situation was new. For the first time since 2005, the start of the two courses was common and the number of riders to start at the same time was more than 1.000, much bigger than usual. This was of course complicated to manage from the point of view of placement because the best thing to do was to follow the fastest competitors on the long course for as long as possible without blowing up, in other words to find the right position in this large pack. Fabrice Lahaye was in the best position at kilometer 0, but it was Sven Schmit and Amaury Gilles who best negotiated the first difficulty of the day, catching the very first group overall with De Lie, Van Melsen and Centrone on the heights of Berdorf. Julien Deschesne, Jean-Bastien Hac, Samuel Duquenne and Matisse Defosse were not far behind, while Maxime Weyrich and Vincent De Win were already about 20 seconds late. In the next kilometers, there was a small regrouping behind the overall lead group, out of which Schmit and Gilles were dropped on the climb of Gralingen. In Hoscheid, after about 50 kilometers of racing and three climbs, Sven Schmit and Vincent De Win were the best placed of the B-race in the Van Melsen group, with Adrien Noel and Pierre Leclerq only a few seconds behind. But the others were also not far away and new regroupements in the next kilometers made the situation change frequently.

In Hoscheid, at the approach of the last climb of the day, three riders were leading the race, a minute and a half behind the best on the long distance: Amaury Gilles, who finished second of the Gran Fondo des Vosges with nearly 3,000 participants this year, Matisse Defosse, a competitor of amateur races in Belgium and Sven Schmit, the 6th of La Charly Gaul in 2019. A few seconds behind the trio, Vincent De Win was still hoping to come back, while the next group included mountain bike specialist Jean-Bastien Hac, triathlete Maxime Grifgnée, the winner of a hilly Souvenir Marcel Gilles in Contern a few years ago, Maxime Weyrich, as well as Marcus Pichler and Adrien Noel. The next Luxemburgish rider Philipp Sunnen was more than three minutes behind, while his compatriots Dan Mangers, Oliver Paderhuber and Dany Papi were two minutes further back. On the côte de Beaufort, the last climb of the day, Sven Schmit and Vincent De Win were dropped at the head of the race, so that only Delfosse and Gilles were left for the win. In the very last kilometers before the finish line, Amaury Gilles surprised his compatriot and won with a small lead of only three seconds. At one minute and fifteen seconds, Sven Schmit was faster than Vincent de Win for third place, while Jean-Basiten Hac led the next group at five minutes. The Luxembourgers Maxime Weyrich (7th), Dany Papi (12th), Philip Sunnen (14th) and Dan Mangers (20th) were also able to join a Top 20 dominated by the Belgians

In the LADIES' race, several girls were well placed at the start, including the two-time winner Cyriane Muller who was able to integrate one of the very first groups of the race, together with Marie Schreiber, the sisters Layla and Maïté Barthels as well as Jolien Vleugels. Romaine Georges was a little bit further behind, at about 30 seconds already, together with two regulars of La Charly Gaul, Anne Pons (2nd in 2016) and Riet Nuyts (9th in 2019). At the last food zone in Reisdorf, the cyclo-cross specialists were still dominating the race. Cyriane Muller, twice in the Top 10 of the international cyclo-cross in Contern, was riding solo and was a few tens of seconds ahead of the last winner of this same cyclo-cross in Contern, Marie Schreiber, whereas Layla Barthels, also Luxemburgish cyclo-cross champion in the junior category, was in third place at more than three minutes. Maïté Barthels followed a little bit further back, as well as the winner of the last Skoda Cyclo-Cross-Cup Isabelle Klein, former triathlon champion converted to cycling, who had already won La Charly Gaul on the long distance, in 2003, almost 20 years ago. She rode together with another former winner of the cyclo-sportive, Chantal Hoffmann, who had won in 2004 in Luxembourg-city, long before she started her professional career with Lotto-Soudal.

The côte de Beaufort definitively sealed the fate of the race: Cyriane Muller had managed to rejoin a group of a dozen men before the last kilometers of the race, on the flat, and Marie Schreiber had to concede a little bit more ground, at more than a minute on the descent to Dillingen, a dozen kiometers before the conclusion. In 76th position in the overall classification and about 20 minutes behind the winner, Cyriane Muller won her third Charly Gaul in a row, after the 2018 and 2019 editions. At an average speed of 33 km/h, she came in one minute and 47 seconds ahead of Marie Schreiber. The 6th of the last U23 Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville finished 83rd in the scratch classification, in a small group of four riders. Layla Barthels completed the podium in 123rd position overall, almost 9 minutes behind the winner and ahead of her sister Maïté, who was also accompanied by her father Cyril in this family affair. The next Luxemburgish girls, Isabelle Klein and Chantal Hoffmann, finished respectively 8th and 10th in a women's ranking in which 49 brave girls are represented..












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