Philipp Walsleben was the surprise winner of the fastest lap competition at the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy, taking home 1000 Euro for his efforts. The German champion eventually finished down in twentieth position.
“It's great to see that a plan works out well,” Walsleben said.
During the previous rounds of the Belgian cyclo-cross series the usual suspects captured the cheque but for the first time it was an unfamiliar face who clocked the fastest lap.
There was a mix of confusion and surprise in the press room after the fourth lap when the computer indicated that Walsleben had clocked the fastest lap. Up until that moment Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) held the lead and it was expected someone like eventual winner Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) or world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) would push Wellens off his throne.
First the organizers thought the computer had made a mistake. Suddenly it was said Walsleben was even out of the race but eventually it turned out that no mistakes were made. Because of his record lap time the German champion was welcomed on to the podium where he received a 1000 Euro cheque from sponsor Belgacom.
The start of Walsleben's race was ruined when his derailleur broke off. The German champion realised he no longer had a chance of a good result and switched objectives.
“I knew the big guns would not be riding any faster. The headwind on the finishing straight would always take back the speed in the leaders group. I figured that I had to give it a try early on in the race because otherwise I would lose too much energy. I saved some energy and let the others go until I had no more traffic ahead of me. In the fourth lap I went for it. I rode the whole lap on my own and at the end of my flying lap I passed Stijn Huys. I was so tired of my effort that little later he passed me again and took five seconds on me,” Walsleben told Cyclingnews.