Belgian cyclo-cross rider Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) lost his chances of a possible overall victory in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy on Saturday afternoon in Hasselt.
Going into the third round of the highly-rated competition, Vantornout was ranked in second place alongside Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea), trailing leader Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) by only five points. Half a minute after the start Vantornout's race was over. The Belgian now drops to sixth place, thirty points behind Stybar, who retains the overall lead of the GvA-Trophy.
In previous years, Vantornout often got into arguments with the organizers of the GvA-Trophy as they felt that the Belgian wasn't sufficiently motivated in their races. “For once I was in the mix for the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy and then this happens. I hoped to defend my good position but that wasn't possible,” Vantornout told Sporza TV.
Before the race, Vantornout explained that the dry course wasn't what he had hoped for. “It's really fast and that doesn't suit my abilities. But if I'm in top form – and I am – then I can deal with those courses too. It's a shame though that the course is that dry,” Vantornout said.
The Belgian lived up to his word and managed the holeshot but that's where his race ended. He misjudged the first right-hand corner but somehow managed to stay on his bike despite hitting the barriers. Vantornout was able to carry on in the second half of the field, but he would hit the ground a few metres further.
“I felt really good and went a bit too fast into that 180° corner. That wasn't a problem since I was able to correct my mistake. I was able to take up my position again but suddenly someone smashed into me,” Vantornout said to Sporza TV soon after the incident.
When asked about possible injuries Vantornout said he wasn't hurt badly. “The right-hand side of my body is scratched and my left shin bone hurts a lot. Continuing was impossible since my derailleur got into my wheel and my handlebars were out of position. By the time I got back on my feet everybody was gone,” Vantornout said.
Sunday sees the Superprestige race in Gavere, and Vantornout is confident that he will be able to ride this cyclo-cross classic. “I'll be stiff and sore but tomorrow I'll be at the start for sure,” he said.