Belgian cyclo-cross star Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) dominated a windy third round of the BPost Bank Trophy from start to finish. The 21-year-old held off a late comeback from Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) and won with an 18 seconds bonus over the Belgian veteran. Kevin Pauwels was the third Belgian rider on the podium, finishing at 1:04 from Van Aert.
Van Aert remains unbeaten in the BPost Bank Trophy and extends his lead in the time-based classification to a massive 2:19 over Pauwels. “These are great numbers. It’s an ample bonus to hit the Christmas weeks,” Van Aert said. Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) was the only other rider who led the race as he managed the hole shot in Hamme. A few moments later Van Aert passed him in a muddy sector. A few corners later Van Aert’s teammate Tim Merlier (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) overtook Van der Haar. “I looked back and saw Merlier in front. That was the sign for me to accelerate. I just rode as hard as I could for an hour,” Van Aert said.
Van Aert easily picked up the 15 bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint during the second lap. About ten seconds later Van der Haar (10) and Pauwels (5) collected the remaining bonus seconds for the general classification. In the background both World Champion Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) and Sven Nys were trying to make up for a poor start, with Nys adding an additional opening lap tumble to his problems. The duo showed up in the chase group during the third lap with Pauwels and Van der Haar still leading the chase on Van Aert.
Pauwels struggled on an extremely challenging off-camber section. An impressive Van der Poel rode past both Pauwels and Nys and into third place. The Dutch duo of Van der Haar and Van der Poel came as close as ten seconds after the third lap.
Pauwels and Nys bridged up with the Dutch duo during the fourth lap in which only Nys was able to keep his pace up at the same rhythm of the leader. Halfway through the race Nys was trailing Van Aert by 16 seconds while Van der Poel, Pauwels and Van der Haar were further back.
What followed was a time-trial between Van Aert and Nys as Van der Poel, Pauwels and Van der Haar faded. Nys lost a few seconds during the fifth lap but then took back four seconds on lap six, clocking the fastest lap of the pack. Van Aert made a rare mistake on the penultimate lap as Nys gained about ten seconds. “I kept going until the intermediate sprint and from there I switched to a pace that I was able to keep up. In the end I was getting nervous when Sven was getting so close. I absolutely had to avoid every mistake and was under pressure. I’m proud I was able to finish it off,” Van Aert told Sporza.
“I had quite a good day but struggled on the off-camber section,” Pauwels said.
Van der Haar was fourth at 1:25. World Champion Van der Poel was fifth at two minutes from the winner, just ahead of Laurens Sweeck (Era Real Estate-Murprotec). Only last week he made his comeback in competition after being ruled out for 6 weeks due to a left-knee injury. “I’m not good enough yet to make the right decisions. I had fun on the off-camber section but was suffering throughout the race,” Van der Poel said.
Swiss champion Julien Taramarcaz won the sprint for seventh place from Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea).
Mud specialist Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) recovered well from his hard crash in Koksijde last week to finish ninth, well ahead of Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea). Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) crashed early on and fought back from last place to a respectable thirteenth place.
Van Aert defends his overall lead at the next round of the BPost Bank Trophy in Essen, Belgium on December 5.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental||0:58:26|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink||0:00:18|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:01:04|
|4||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin||0:01:25|
|5||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp-Corendon||0:02:00|
|6||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec||0:02:04|
|7||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Era Real Estate - Murprotec||0:02:32|
|8||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:35|
|9||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling||0:02:41|
|10||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:59|
|11||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era - Murprotec||0:03:06|
|12||Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:03:10|
|13||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:03:21|
|14||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:03:35|
|15||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:03:47|
|16||Michael Boros (Cze) BKCP - Corendon||0:03:53|
|17||Sven Vanthourenhout Bel) Crelan - AA Drink Team||0:04:02|
|18||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:04:10|
|19||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:12|
|20||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:32|
|21||Joeri Adams (Cze) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:04:57|
|22||Philipp Walsleben (Ned) BKCP - Corendon||0:05:21|
|23||Jens Vandekinderen (Bel) Kalas-NNOF Cycling Team||0:05:26|
|24||Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team|
|25||Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:05:33|
|26||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Era - Murprotec||0:06:43|
|27||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:06:47|
|28||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) BKCP - Corendon||0:07:30|
|29||Angelo De Clercq (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:07:55|
|30||Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team|
|31||Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Cycling Team Zemst VZW|
|32||Garry Millburn (Aus)|
|33||Niels Koyen (Bel) CCN - Metalac Cycling team|
|34||Michael Van Den Ham (Can)|
|35||Mark Mcconnell (Can)|
|36||Michael Wechsler (Sui)|
|37||David Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP - Corendon|
|38||Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team|