For Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) the soon-to-be-completed 2010-2011 cyclo-cross season has been an exercise in frustration. The 28-year-old Belgian has carried the load for the troubled Sunweb-Revor team's season while co-leader Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) was unable to live up to the high expectations from team manger Jurgen Mettepenningen.
On Saturday afternoon, with only a couple of races left this season, Vantornout soloed to a well-deserved victory, his first of the season, in the Superprestige finale at Middelkerke, Belgium..
An emotional Vantornout was overjoyed with his victory. "Actually this comes as a surprise to me," said Vantornout. "I was very motivated for this 'cross race on home soil and I made it happen.
"It hasn't been a smooth season, to say the least. There have been ups and downs...too many downs. The few times I came close to a victory there was always somebody else just a little bit stronger.
"Today I was better than the rest. This makes up for a lot...for everything: a victory in a big 'cross race in front of my home crowd."
Next season Kevin Pauwels, currently with Telenet-Fidea, will join Sunweb-Revor and take some of the pressure away for Vantornout. "Having Kevin in the team is a positive step," Vantornout told VT4. "If I'm not going well all the pressure used to come on my shoulders and with him [here] that should become easier."
Team manager Mettepenningen was a happy man as he watched Vantornout race to victory. He cheered on his rider on the finishing straight when he passed by during the closing laps and after the finish he was the first to give him a high-five.
"Finally. It's a well-deserved win for Klaas," Mettepenningen said.
Before the season Mettepenningen stated that the team should be able to pull off 50 podium results this season. That prognostication didn't happen and Mettepenningen realised that with the arrival of Pauwels the team would have a better chance of consistent podium finishes next season.
"I'm very pleased that Kevin Pauwels is joining our team," Mettepenningen told VT4. "Vantornout had to carry the weight of the team since Sven didn't do it this season. With Kevin on our team we should be battling for the podium in most races."