95th Grand-prix François Faber
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Less than -4 degrees! It was bloody cold in Bech! No weather to go outside. Unless you're a cyclist! They were even 24 brave enough to fight the cold and to line up on the starting grid of the 95th Grand Prix François Faber, wrapped up in their warmest winter clothes. Because if the announced snow hadn't appeared in Bech and the surrounding area during the night, snowing could not be ruled out for the morning. Fortunately, it turned out to be no threat for the race, the snow was ephemeral and the riders were able to reach the shelter in Bech safe and sound, after a race full of suspense. Despite an offensive race by the riders from VC Schengen, it was Gilles Kirsch from Mondorf who won, a cherry on the cake for him who, last year, had to admit defeat against the second of today, Arthur Kluckers.

Despite the negative temperatures, the juniors were not eager to raise the temperature at the beginning: the start of the race was relatively quiet, no one wanting to take his responsibilities too early on a circuit that was quite selective with its three small climbs and the wind blowing in some parts of the course. It was finally a rider from the masters category who opened the battle with an attack at the end of the first lap. But again, the main favourites continued to watch each other and didn't really show a reaction. Seeing no one coming back to him, the brave Frederic Bantquin continued his way on his own, quickly taking a minute advantage on the chasers.

During the second lap, the gap went down to 36 seconds, before increasing again: towards halfway point, Bantquin was still alone in the lead, one minute and 26 seconds ahead of the chasers, a small but more or less complete peloton of about twenty riders. But then, suddenly, the action started: defending champion Arthur Kluckers had attacked in the peloton and was coming very quickly back to the Frenchman, who had been leading on his own for a long while already. With 35 kilometers to go, Kluckers had made the junction with Bantquin and immediately took the lead of the race, 26 seconds ahead of a dozen chasers. But the latter were awake now and organizing the chase. A few miles later, Kluckers had dropped his breakaway companion, only to be reeled in soon by what was left of the small peloton: 15 riders were at the front of the race with 25 kilometers to go, including the main favorites: Kluckers, Kess, Kirsch, Pries and so on.

As soon as his teammate from VC Schengen was joined, Cedric Pries went on the attack, quickly taking 10, then 15 seconds advantage. Behind him, Gilles Kirsch reacted strongly, taking with him Joé Michotte and Arthur Kluckers. At two laps from the end, they had established a junction with Pries, forming a leading group of four riders, 36 seconds ahead of the next chasers: Kess, Gloesener, Meyers, Bettendorf and the valiant Bantquin, still present among the young people. Nicolas Kess, second last year behind Kluckers, had missed the good move and it was already too late for him: his group began the last lap more than a minute late on the trio Kluckers, Pries and Kirsch, who meanwhile had left Michotte behind them.

Predictably, the VC Schengen riders took turns in attacking during the final, but Kirsch was the smartest rider today, or the strongest: each time, he was able to react and he ended up together with Kluckers in the finishing straight for a two-man sprint, with Pries just a few seconds away. Last year's winner opened the sprint from far away, but he had already made a lot of efforts today: ideally placed in his wheel, Kirsch came around him a hundred meters from the finish to produce his effort, irreversible. Gilles Kirsch wins the 95th Grand Prix François Faber a few meters ahead of Arthur Kluckers, Cedric Pries completing the podium 7 seconds behind them. At more than three minutes of the trio, Charel Meyers won the sprint for fourth place, ahead of the impressive Frédéric Bantquin, first rider of the Masters category at a very good fifth place, after having animated the race during its first part.

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