One week after winning the elite men’s World Cup round in Koksijde, 20-year-old Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) once again won amongst the big boys in Flandriencross, the third round of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclo-cross series.
On the singletrack course, Van Aert managed to counter a late tactical move from 19-year-old rival Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus), passing him in the sprint.
“It was just a long enough finish to get over him. I’m pleased to have won. I’m not racing full-time amongst the pro’s. Now I’m able to choose my races. It pleases me to race like this. It’s tough to maintain your position on this course. I’m pleased that it worked out,” Van Aert told Sporza.
German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) was third, just ahead of series leader Sven Nys (Crelan-AA-Drink).
In the time-based general classification, Nys remains in the lead with nearly two minutes bonus over Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games). Van Aert moves into third place at 2:09 back.
The KwadrO Flandriencross in Hamme, Belgium was a blistering fast and thrilling race in which the Vastgoedservice team and the BKCP team managed to gap their rivals in the final two laps.
Before that, Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano Development Team), Nys, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Van Aert were presented in a first breakaway attempt. Halfway into the race Jens Adams (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) jumped away from the pack.
For two laps he rode in front of the top guns with only a handful of seconds. “That was a perfect situation for me. In the final laps, I was able to profit from the energy I saved before,” Van Aert said.
During the seventh of 10 laps, Meeusen was unable to control his nerves and he closed the gap on Adams with more than 15 riders on his wheel. One lap later, Adams once again surged away with Van Aert blocking the road in the singletrack twists and turns through a forest.
During the penultimate lap, the BKCP riders made their move. Out of nowhere Walsleben blasted forward with Van der Poel on his wheel. Adams was brought back and at the next passage of the forest Van der Poel blocked the path in favour of Walsleben.
The German champion started the final lap a bonus of 7 seconds over the first part of the chase group with Van Aert, Van der Poel, Adams and Van der Haar. Only Van Aert and Van der Poel were able to close the gap on Walsleben.
Van der Poel and Van Aert were fighting on and nearly over their limit, going shoulder-to-shoulder through some technical corners. Eventually Van der Poel reached the final steep hill in front, slowed down at the top to force Van Aert and Walsleben off their bikes.
Van Aert had to set one foot on the ground but he fought his way back in the sprint, claiming a great win.
“I knew he would ride it as slow as possible,” Van Aert said. “I didn’t dare to keep a safe distance because it was too risky if he didn’t slow down. He did it and I thought I had lost but I gave all I had. It turned out I had more left in my legs.”
Van der Poel was a disappointed man after finishing second. “It was a nice duel. I tried to play it tactically in the end but it was too far to the finish. I saw him coming and knew it had lost,” Van der Poel told Sporza.
Nys was the best of the rest, winning the sprint for fourth place ahead of Pauwels and Van der Haar. Adams ended his strong race in eighth place.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team||1:03:52|
|2||Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP - Powerplus|
|3||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus||0:00:07|
|4||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink||0:00:08|
|5||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|6||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Development Team Giant-Shimano|
|7||Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team|
|8||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - Kwadro|
|9||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan - AA Drink||0:00:12|
|10||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Corendon - Kwadro|
|11||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team|
|12||Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:00:18|
|13||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:19|
|14||Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:00:25|
|15||Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:38|
|16||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|17||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:01:18|
|18||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team||0:01:20|
|19||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:23|
|20||Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:01:51|
|21||Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team|
|22||Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Veranclassic-Doltcini Cycling Team||0:01:53|
|23||Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continentaal Team||0:01:55|
|24||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:02:18|
|25||Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team|
|26||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team|
|27||Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Van Assche-Alpha Motorhomes Cycling Team||0:02:22|
|28||Stephen Hyde (USA)||0:02:25|
|29||Severin Saegesser (Swi)||0:03:13|
|30||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:03:51|
|31||Kevin Cant (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team|
|32||Bart Hofman (Bel) Nodrugs Heroes Flanders||0:04:34|
|33||Cameron Jette (Can)||0:04:54|
|34||Niels Koyen (Bel) CCN - Metalac Cycling team|
|35||Michael Boros (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor||0:05:34|
|36||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Project Cross Racing|
|37||Josep Betalu Constantino (Spa)|