The new Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout may not be on the start line in the final World Cup in Hoogerheide. The Sunweb-Napoleon Games rider crashed on the hard, frozen ruts in Saturday's UCI C2 race in Zonnebeke and says "the pain is enormous".
"As I feel now, I cannot start Sunday in Hoogerheide," Vantornout said, according to Sporza.
The race followed a winter storm that left much of Belgium covered in several inches of snow. The Kasteelcross course was rutted and icy as Vantornout chased his way to the front of the race, led by Tom Meeusen, Mariusz Gil, Swiss champion Julien Taramarcaz and Sven and Dieter Vanthourenhout.
Mid-way through the race, Vantornout overcame a slow start and joined the front group when he crashed on the icy ground, and limped away with severe pain in his left glute.
"There is a deep bruise, and I need to visit the emergency room to see if I broke anything."
In enormous pain and having difficulty even walking, Vantornout doubted a night's rest would be enough to recover sufficiently for the World Cup final.
Meeusen wins, but still not happy
After being left off Belgium's World Cup and World Championship team due to his involvement in a doping inquiry into his doctor, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) exacted his revenge in Zonnebeke. Taramarcaz thought he had the race won and raised his arms in victory, only to have the cagey Meeusen push past at the line to steal the win.
However, the victory was not vindication for Meeusen, who is still in the dark regarding the investigation.
"Initially I was not motivated to ride, so I wallowed in the back of the leading group," Meeusen said of the race.
"In the final round I scraped together all my motivation to participate in the sprint, but I'm not really happy with this win," he said, adding that it shows he should have been in the Belgian selection for Worlds. "It gives more pain than pleasure."
"I am still down after all that this hoopla has robbed me of. I still have not heard anything from the investigation. No explanation, no nothing."