The third round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series in Hamme-Zogge offered more than the first major win of the season for Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus). Half a minute behind him Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) literally clashed with each other while battling for second place and the overall lead in the Superprestige.
During the second Superprestige round in Zonhoven, world champion Nys already showed Belgian champion Vantornout that he's not afraid to use his shoulders. There was no crash, but it was a move that was on the edge of what is seemingly allowed or not. Afterwards Vantornout stated that it boosted him, that it was part of the sport and that spectators love these actions.
In Hamme-Zogge, Vantornout led Nys on a steep uphill section during the penultimate lap. Vantornout didn't make it up the climb thus forcing Nys to hop off the bike and lose some ground. Nys was spotted shouting some words around. A few corners later he was back on Vantornout's wheel.
"Vantornout went into a corner but he must've hooked around something. He came to a standstill and I crashed into his rear wheel. We both looked stupid searching for our bikes. It's too bad for Klaas. That rear wheel must've been broken which forced Klaas to run on to the pit which was quite a distance away," Nys said.
While there had been enough firework during the race there was more after the race. As organizers loudly fired away real fireworks, Vantornout vented his visible disappointment.
Vantornout realized the mechanical troubles were his own fault. "I made a mistake and Nys rode over my rear wheel. That's what happens in 'cross I guess," Vantornout said right after the race. He clearly didn't like the fact that Nys rode his wheel to pieces. The duo seems to be respecting each other's racing style though new incidents might change that respectful position quickly.
Nys held on to second place while Vantornout worked hard to save his classification and did that by finishing sixth. Nys now leads the Superprestige cyclo-cross series by three points over Albert and five over Vantornout. Next week more fireworks can be expected during the fourth round of the Superprestige series in Asper-Gavere.