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Michael Vanthourenhout is a Belgian professional cyclist who races for Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal. He is the current European Champion and has for many years been one of the most reliable and consistent riders in the discipline, taking several wins including in World Cup races, aswell as many podiums in many others, and World Championships included.
Name: Michael Vanthourenhout
Born: 10 December 1993
Birthplace: Bruges, Belgium
Turned Pro: 2012
Michael Vanthourenhout was born on the 10th of December in Belgium, he is from the city of Bruges. Vanthourenhout has not only raced off-road, but has built his professional career out of the talents he has on the cyclocross bike. He races for Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal currently with his contract due until the end of the CX season. He is married to Kelly Van Den Steen and the couple have a child together. His brother Diether Vanthourenhout is a former pro cyclocross rider, and his cousin Sven Vanthourenhout was also a very successful CX pro and is the current Belgian national team coach.
His career started in the BKCP-Powerplus (the current Alpecin-Deceuninck team). He turned into an under-23 rider in the 2011-2012 season, taking his first win in the Hotondcross that season. In the 2012-2013 season he finished 3rd in the Bpost Bank Trofee and won 4 races throughout the season, beating the likes of Wout van Aert and Laurens Sweeck.
In 2013-2014 he's kept his under-23 calendar, taking one win that was his first World Cup victory in the Valkenburg circuit. and a second at the European Championships in Miada Boleslav beating Mathieu van der Poel. In 2014-2015, his final season as an under-23, he won both World Cup and Superprestige Cups, a very successful season which featured 6 wins including the under-23 World Championships in Tabor where he beat Laurens Sweeck and his first Elite win in the Kermiscross Ardooie.
In 2015-2016 he became a full Elite rider. It was however a strong season nevertheless with a win taken at the Parkcross Maldegem, and a podium at his very first race which happened to be the World Cup event in Las Vegas. He also finished 4th at the European Championships in Huijbergen. In 2016-2017 he raced to 4th at the World Cup and 3rd at the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee, taking aswell two wins in the Polderscross Kruibeke and a win in Luxembourg.
With the likes of Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel sweeping much of the calendar Vanthourenhout never had many chances of taking wins. In 2017-2018 he didn't take a victory throughout the year, however he did race to 2nd place at the World Championships in Valkenburg behind Wout van Aert and 4th at the World Cup. In 2018-2019 he rode to 3rd place at the DVV Trofee as his best overall result, he finished 4th at both European and World Championships but remained winless throughout the entire season.
In 2019-2020 he got back to his winning ways, winning the French Canyon Cross Race Vittel, but the following weekend also winning a Belgian race in the Berencross Meulebeke. This year he raced to 3rd place in the World Cup and 2nd place at the DVV Trofee, whilst finishing 4th and 6th in the European and World Championships respectively.
In 2020-2021 Vanthourenhout did the impressive feat of finishing 3rd in all three competitions - World Cup, Superprestige and X2O Badkamers. Vanthourenhout rode to 2nd place at the European Championships in 's-Hertogenbosch and 6th at the World Championships. This was the year where he took his first World Cup win in Tabor beating Eli Iserbyt and Wout van Aert. He's taken wins in the EKZ CrossTour Bern and Superprestige Merksplas, alongside his traditional consistency which saw him finish all races in 8th place or better.
In 2021-2022 Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal became the overwhelmingly dominant team in the field throughout most of the year. Vanthourenhout benefited from this, taking wins in the Berencross Meulebeke, the Namur World Cup, the X2O Trofee Brussels Universities and the Waaslandcross. Vanthourenhout rode to 2nd place in the World Cup and 3rd at the X2O Badkamers Trofee aswell as finishing 3rd and 4th at the Europeans and Worlds respectively.
In 2022-2023 he has won in the Polderscross and Berencross early in the season. In early November he started the European Championships as a big contender, and after a very hard and muddy race against Lars van der Haar, he took the title in Namur and became the new European Champion
. This was a trigger that did only good for the Pauwels - Sauzen Bingoal rider. Vanthourenhout won little but good this season, winnning two weeks later the Overijse World Cup race ahead of Tom Pidcock. Then, one month later, he once again won in his European champion jersey as he won the snowy Val di Sole course. In mid-January, another month later, Vanthourenhout became the new Belgian national champion - although he did not actually get to wear the jersey, due to his success elsewhere. He took his final win of the season at the Parkcross Maldegem. Vanthourenhout was second at the World Cup, and finished third in the Superprestige and X2O Badkamers Trofee.
The 2023-2024 the cyclocross season began in very similar fashion. Vanthourenhout showed a couple of strong performances however his first month and a half of racing saw no wins and a couple of average performances. He entered the European Championships as an outsider, however he stormed to a second consecutive win - this time in a muddy Pontchâteau course - alone, conquering once again the Europeans.