Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) won the fourth round of the Superprestige series on Sunday. He finished alone and strengthened his Superprestige lead while Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) beat Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) in the sprint for second place.
“During my time at the Men U23 level I won it three times in the same way. Now I did it again with the pro riders. Of course I’m very happy,” Van Aert told Sporza.
“The classification is looking very good now. I extend my lead again. Of course I will now aim to get the overall victory. It’ll make the planning difficult but if you can win a cyclo-cross classic like the Superprestige then you don’t walk away from it.”
It took three laps until the four protagonists of today’s race separated the men from the boys on the muddy course. In the opening lap Van Aert played his card first when he bridged up to early attacker Laurens Sweeck (Era Real Estate – Murprotec).
Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) followed a little later and by the end of the opening lap Nys and many more riders came back too. The major absentees were Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Swiss champion Julien Taramarcaz (Era Real Estate – Murprotec).
Meeusen broke his chain at the start and Taramarcaz nearly rode into him and crashed with Stan Godrie.
Nys accelerated in the second lap when Van Aert made a tactical mistake to ride where running turned out to be much faster. Nys’ move was marked by Van der Haar and Sweeck who then faded on the key climb at the end of the lap. The duo of Nys and Van der Haar collected a 10 seconds bonus on Van Aert and Pauwels at the end of the second lap.
Van Aert set the situation straight in the third lap with a strong acceleration on the long climb towards the Grenier castle, with Pauwels doing the same at his own pace. The four leaders lowered the pace in the headwind on the finishing straight and realized that nobody else would come back, with youngsters Sweeck and Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) being the first chasers at 16 seconds.
Nys accelerated again in the fourth lap and behind him Van Aert was in trouble when he rode into a pole on the descent away from the Grenier castle. On the climb back up to the castle Pauwels took the initiative with Van der Haar following swiftly.
“Technically the first half of the race wasn’t my best. I rode where it wasn’t possible and I was angry with myself. I recovered swiftly from that but then I rode into a pole and hurt myself a bit. Then I was struggling on the climb, which wasn’t good for the confidence. I didn’t feel like I was better, even felt worse than the others,” Van Aert said.
The 21-year-old explained he then tried to recover for two lap. During this recovery he closed the gap on an attacking Van der Haar. He then took the lead in the sixth lap and simply outpaced the others on the long climb towards the Grenier castle.
In no time he had a bonus of eight seconds and when the chasers didn’t co-operate when facing the headwind to the finish the gap was 12 seconds.
“It’s the key part of the course. The heart rate is much higher than on the rest of the course. There’s not much technique needed just pure power. I didn’t expect to drop the others but when it happened it gave my wings,” Van Aert said.
In the chase group Nys hoped Van Aert would crack. “I wasn’t in second place and was unable to reply to his attack. It was dangerous to do something like that with two more laps to go. I hoped he was riding too fast and that the Gavere course would be unforgiving. The champion Van Aert was able to extend his effort until the finish line. Today he’s the well-deserved winner.”
In the battle for second place Pauwels took the initiative and Van der Haar quickly dropped back, settling for fourth place. Pauwels did all he could to shake off Nys but the 39-year-old hung on for dear life. “There wasn’t enough speed on it. I was unable to develop a high enough pace to drop him. It’ll be hard to beat Wout in the classification,” Pauwels said.
In front Van Aert made no more mistakes and grabbed his first Gavere win. Nys grabbed second place ahead of a frustrated Pauwels. Lars was fourth at a minute off the winner.
Laurens Sweeck and last year’s winner Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) battled for fifth place.
Van Aert leads the Superprestige standings with 59 points. Nys is second with 51 points. Pauwels dropped a point on Nys and is now third. Van der Haar finished fourth and remains fourth overall with 47 points. The rest of the riders are out of contention for the overall win.
The next round of the Superprestige series is held at the F1 car racing circuit of Spa-Francorchamps on December 13.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:56:52|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan Aa Drink Team||0:00:16|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:17|
|4||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin||0:01:00|
|5||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Corendon-Kwadro||0:01:55|
|6||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:02:00|
|7||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:02:04|
|8||Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:02:12|
|9||Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:02:15|
|10||Michael Boros (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon||0:02:18|
|11||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:23|
|12||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:02:26|
|13||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:36|
|14||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:45|
|15||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kuota Lotto||0:02:52|
|16||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Corendon-Kwadro||0:02:58|
|17||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Era Real Estate-Murprotec||0:03:01|
|18||Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:03:24|
|19||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:35|
|20||Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:03:48|
|21||Jens Vandekinderen (Bel) Kalas-Noff||0:04:03|
|22||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon-Kwadro|
|23||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:07|
|24||David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp - Powerplus||0:05:06|
|25||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||0:05:38|
|26||Vinnie Braet (Bel) Colba Superano Ham||0:06:05|
|27||Stan Godrie (Ned) Rabobank Development Team|
|28||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Colba Superano Ham|
|29||Michael Van Den Ham (Can) Individueel|
|30||Mark Mcconnell (Can) Individueel|
|31||Robert Marion (USA) American Classic|
|32||Scott Wilson (GBr) Individueel|