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"Extremely disappointed," the Belgian champion told sport.be an hour after the race. "The lap before...
"Extremely disappointed," the Belgian champion told sport.be an hour after the race. "The lap before I bridged across to Nys and Vantornout, I made two small mistakes, which made me think that I had lost the race. But I still had two plans; one to regain contact with the head of the race and one to finish it off in the last lap. Unfortunately, a flat front tyre put an end to my plans. It is, apparently, not supposed to happen in Koksijde. I am satisfied with my race, but with the result, anything but."
For the first time this season the current world champion has made it onto the podium. "It has been getting better and better the last few weeks, only I have been hanging around the fifth and sixth place. I wasn't sure if I should be happy with that of not," he said. "Today I could finally show that I am worthy of my place at the top. It was only disappointing that I lost 100 meters in the second last lap due to getting stuck on a decent. I lost contact with the leaders because of that."
Vervecken was unsure of his participation as late as Thursday night last week, as he was feeling a bit sick. "I was balancing on the edge," he said. "Thursday night I was afraid that I would suffer the same fate as last year around this time. I had to forfeit here. Ultimately, it was a false alarm."
The young Belgian rode well to finish an impressive eighth in the tough sandy conditions. "I am not disappointed with that," he said. "But due to a bike change early in the race I was forced to chase. I could eventually catch them as they stalled out front briefly, But that chase cost me too much strength, which stopped me from moving up. Following that I played accordion after the sand sections. Logically I also came in last from the leading group."
In stark contrast to the Superprestige round in Gavere where he had to abandon, Vanthourenhout raced to a solid seventh place in Koksijde. "Today I am satisfied," he said. "The first half of the race I was really good. At one point I was the only one that could follow the attack of Bart Wellens. I knew then that I was going to find the second half of the race to be tough."
Asked if he came to start irritated by his injury problems, he responded, "Ah, no. I know the problem. That takes time. From medical tests this week I learned that I don't need to panic. I was scared of glandular fever, but there is nothing to worry about. I am still fresh, only I am lacking some specific training. I will be working on that in the coming weeks."
The Flemish star is heading to Mallorca this week along with Sven Nys. "A few easy weeks follow now, which will do me good."