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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb) fought back to finish 9th after a first-lap crash.
Belgian fought back from crash to finish 9th in Ruddervoorde
A impressive field of 54 riders lined up in Ruddervoorde for the first round of the cyclo-cross Superprestige Series and three local riders were among the starter. Cousins Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus) and Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) plus Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) all had hopes for a good showing in front of their home crowd.
That hope was gone for Vantornout, however, when he was crashed into the barriers in the first corner. Last week Vantornout finished on the podium in Namur but after his crash in Ruddervoorde he was up for a completely different race.
Vantornout didn't know what happened but he was still fuming afterwards, his chance ruined to shine during his home race. "I entered the corner in sixth or seventh position and suddenly somebody flanked me, I don't know who it was," Vantornout said.
Television images suggested it might have been a rider from the AA-Drink team but for Vantornout that didn't matter. "I will watch the TV to see what happened. Right now I only know that somebody hit me and forced me into the barriers. My chainring ended up in my leg and a lot of riders went over me.
"Once I got going again I was in 40th position. I'm proud that I came back and managed to finish in the top-10 on such a fast course. I was good but unlucky," Vantornout said.
The Belgian rider thought about quitting the race but doing that in Ruddervoorde wasn't an option for Vantornout. "I live four kilometers away from this course. If this wouldn't have been a home race I would've abandoned but the fans screamed me forward and they gave me the courage to continue. It was impossible to overtake on this course and during the first two laps I didn't have to ride really.
"Of course those riders don't let you overtake them just like that. It was a race in the race to fight on. I didn't look at anybody and never asked anybody to take a pull," Vantornout said. Vantornout ultimately finished in ninth place, 1:27 down on winner Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea).