By Brecht Decaluwé
The race conditions offered to riders in Antwerp on Friday were quite different from the mud and slop which assaulted riders in virtually every 'cross race earlier in the month. It was freezing on the Saint-Anna beach near the port, and the course was slippery and hard. Radomir Simunek Jr. (Palmans-Cras), a man from the Czech Republic who's used to the cold, took the initiative right from the start and never dropped back.
The son of the cyclo-cross legend with the same name allowed the experienced Richard Groenendaal (AA Sport Drinks) to join him up front, but eventually Simunek jumped away from the Dutch rider in the last kilometre to take his first big win since the World Cup round in Tabor last season. While crossing the line Simunek clearly couldn't believe what he'd pulled off. He'd kept big guns like Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) and Sven Nys (Rabobank) a safe distance away. The euphoric winner explained why he chose to attack right from the start at the finish line.
"This course is very fast and there was a lot of ice in the corners, so it was better to ride in front to chose your lane. I'm always going strong on ice and a fast course is also in my advantage," said the 22 year-old Simunek.