Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) used his early season form and experience in the sand to win the Soudal Classics Waaslandcross in the absence of world champion Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. They were saving their legs for Sunday's Superprestige Ruddervoorde race.
Meeusen gradually opened a gap, using his running and riding skills in the long sand section and his power to get over the short but steeps ramps. Rob Peeters finished a distant second at 44 seconds, giving Meussen plenty of time to celebrate his win and give the crowd at the finish some high fives. European champion Toon Aerts finished third to complete a solid performance from Sven Nys team and make the new team manager happy.
Laurens Sweeck, winner of last year's edition of the race was an early victim of a mechanical problem, seeing his chances disappear along with his rivals. The same occured to Meeusen's rivals as he fought to hold his balance in the sand and opened a gap. He did not look back or hold back, gradually opening his an impressive lead on Peeters and the rest of the field.
"I’m one of the few riders who manage to grab a win every year," Meeusen pointed out.
"It was a nice duel with Rob Peeters, when I got 10 seconds it was a matter of not making any mistakes. It's a very nice race but we'll no doubt suffer tomorrow. I'm going to give everything but we come up again against other riders."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:57:54|
|2||Rob Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice||0:00:43|
|3||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:56|
|4||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:01:06|
|5||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice||0:01:18|
|6||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:01:31|
|7||David Van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon||0:01:40|
|8||Jens Adams (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice|
|9||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:50|
|10||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Team Steylaerts||0:01:57|
|11||Joeri Adams (Bel) Kalas-NNOF||0:01:59|
|12||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:02:09|
|13||Diether Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:02:16|
|14||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:02:24|
|15||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus||0:02:32|
|16||Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:45|
|17||Stan Godrie (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||0:03:21|
|18||Daan Hoeyberghs (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:03:41|