By Brecht Decaluwé in Melden, Belgium
German Philipp Walsleben may have easily captured the win in Oudenaarde ahead of his Belgian team-mate Sven Verboven and Kevin Cant, but early on in the race there was another rider who was able to match the German's speed around the Koppenberg: American Daniel Summerhill.
The former silver medallist at the junior world championships rode in the lead together with Walsleben for two laps before bad luck threw him out of the race.
Summerhill crashed in the warm-up and damaged the shifter on his spare bike, so when he got a slow leak in his rear tyre, the race was over for the man from Colorado. Walsleben had nothing but praise for his US competitor. "I was surprised by his performance, especially his running is great," Walsleben said.
Summerhill had a look of profound disappointment, but also a glimmer of fierce competitiveness when asked if he could have stayed with the German had he not been struck by misfortune. "Yeah, I wasn't planning to let him go," Summerhill said.
Summerhill's compatriot Bjorn Selander finished 11th, but said that a better choice of gear might have helped him attain a higher placing. "I wasn't getting anywhere," Selander said. "Once I had my other tyres I felt much better and I was moving up positions as well."
See Cyclingnews'full coverage of the Koppenbergcross.