93rd Grand-prix François Faber
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François Faber

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It was a sunny day on March 13, 2016 in Bech, but the strong, icy wind on the heights around the village gave a glance of what was about to come: the peloton would be teared into pieces in the crosswinds and only the strong would survive. And the strongest riders this Sunday came from Dippach since they were three at the front as of the second lap and, in the end, they took the three places on the podium: national champion Colin Heiderscheid was faster than his team-mates Michel Ries and Tristan Parotta in the last straight line.

37 riders lined up for the 93rd Grand-prix François Faber and, while the first kilometres were covered at a moderate pace, the big battle started already before the end of the first lap. Three riders from UC Dippach broke away and took a small gap: National champion Colin Heiderscheid, last year's runner-up Michel Ries as well as Tristan Parotta, who ended his cyclo-cross season earlier than expected this winter due to illness. Behind them, several more contenders reacted and tried to bridge up to the trio: Ken Conter, Chris Johanns or Misch Leyder attacked among others, causing the peloton to split up: soon, they were only a dozen in the main group, chasing around 100 metres behind the leaders.

But the collaboration amongst the chasers was not at its best and soon, the gaps started to grow: around mid-race, the trio from Dippach had already two minutes advantage on seven chasers: Felix Keiser, another rider from Dippach, home rider Chris Johanns, Belgian Sylvain Moniquet, the young master Gary Maher, only rider of this category still in contention for a Top 5 spot, Misch Leyder from VC Diekirch, Rick Stemper from Schengen and Ken Conter, the rider from LC Tétange who was riding in a quite offensive way. Several times, the cyclo-cross specialist launched a counter-attack in the group, but he was alone against the wind and his attempts didn't bring him anything than his own fall: he was dropped later on. Because the tough course and the wind continued to take their toll: only Misch Leyder and Sylvain Moniquet remained in poursuit behind the three leaders, followed by Chris Johanns on his own and the duo Maher-Stemper, all the other riders being more than four minutes down.

At the front, the three leaders stayed united together until the last lap, where Tristan Parotta was dropped close to the conclusion, leaving it up to his two team-mates for the win. The decision fell in a sprint where National champion Colin Heiderscheid took the better of Michel Ries, in second place just like last year. Tristan Parotta finished about 10 seconds behind, far ahead of the duo Leyder - Moniquet. In eight place and nearly 3 minutes down, Britain's Gary Maher from Hirondelle Schuttrange was the first of the Masters, only one position, but two minutes ahead of German Boris Odendahl.

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