By Brecht Decaluwé
The lack of UCI-points in Torhout meant the top-3 of the UCI cyclo-cross rankings stayed away from 'domain Aertrycke'; so neither Sven Nys (Rabobank), world champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) nor Bart Wellens (Fidea) were on the startline. Due to their absence it was difficult to predict today's winner but the remaining riders from the UCI top-10 certainly had the best cards.
Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank), Sven Vanthourenhout (Rabobank) and Klaas Vantornout (Fidea) were the main favourites and they enjoyed ideal cross weather; temperatures just above zero degrees and little showers; the coldness must've hurt the riders a lot as the course through the forest was very fast. Spectators apparently took the day off as well, no big crowds today around the castle of Aertrycke.
The first half of the race nobody really knew what to do as the regular initiative-takers were absent. Eventually local hero Sven Vanthourenhout profited most from the Rabobank presence in the front group; with two laps to go he attacked and was able to solo to his fourth victory of the season (after previous wins in Dudzele, Eernegem and Knokke-Heist).
"An attack at the right moment delivered me the victory, and Gerben De Knegt must've done great work behind me so I could complete my solo," the winner explained. Yesterday Vanthourenhout only managed a tenth place at the world cup event in Hofstade.
"Actually it was my best result ever over there; it's a course where I never could perform to my best," Vanthourenhout said. "So it's great to win again and hopefully I will get even stronger for the national championships next week," the winner concluded.
The promising young Belgian who rides for the Fidea Cycling Team, Klaas Vantornout, was sent to the hospital following a crash at the Sylvester 'cross race in Torhout, Belgium today with a suspected fractured arm. Fortunately for the 23 year old Vantornout, who recently scored his first world cup podium finish in Spain there was no break, only deep bruises. Vantornout's injury kept him out of Friday's race in Middelkerke, but he started Sunday's Superprestige race in Diegem.
For the full report, results and photos, click here.