Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) soloed to victory today at the final round of the Superprestige series in Middelkerke, Belgium. The win was doubly important for the 28-year-old Belgian as it was his first victory of the season as well as the first big win for his Sunweb-Revor team. Telenet-Fidea teammates Kevin Pauwels and Bart Wellens rounded out the top three, finishing 13 seconds and 21 seconds respectively behind Vantornout.
"Actually this comes as a surprise to me," an emotional Vantornout said. "I was very motivated for this 'cross race on home soil and I made it happen.
"Today I was better than the rest. This makes up for a lot...for everything: a victory in a big 'cross race in front of my home crowd."
Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) had already won his 10th overall Superprestige title at the penultimate round in Hoogstraten last weekend and finished sixth on the day in Middelkerke.
On a demanding course with countless turns and few recuperation zones, the freshest riders took to the front nearing the conclusion of the 2010-2011 'cross season. Early accelerations from Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor), Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) and Pauwels were neutralized but eventually an 11-rider lead group formed half way throught the race with world champion Stybar being the only non-Belgian.
Vantornout soon seized his opportunity for victory with a decisive acceleration which quickly gapped his rivals. Nys, Pauwels, Vanthourenhout, Stybar, Wellens, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) formed the chase group behind the surging Vantornout.
With three laps to go Vantornout had more than 20 seconds on the most active chasers Pauwels and Nys. The latter dropped back in the race finale while Wellens moved up. Vantornout kept his composure and brought home the first win of the season for himself and a jubilant team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen.
Behind Vantornout it was Pauwels who won the battle for second place, both in the race and in the overall Superprestige rankings, while his teammate Wellens completed the podium in Middelkerke. It was the first podium result in the Superprestige series for Wellens this season.
"This feels very good," said Wellens. "The first four laps I didn't believe in it but in the end I started going better."
Wellens's young teammate Meeusen was pleased with his fourth place finish. "Last year I was second but then the level wasn't as high," Meeusen said. "This was a very tough course. Maturity and freshness mattered here and I'm very happy with this fourth place."
World champion Zdenek Stybar's fifth place finish was enough for the Czech to jump over Albert into third place in the overall Superprestige rankings and grab an additional 2750 Euro in prize money.
Cousins Dieter and Sven Vanthourenhout finished eighth and ninth on the day and young Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) rounded out the top-10 more than two minutes off the pace of Vantornout.
Jonathan Page (Planet Bike), the sole American at the race, finished 14th.
|1||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||1:02:31|
|2||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:13|
|3||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:21|
|4||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:39|
|5||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:47|
|6||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:00:59|
|7||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:22|
|8||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:31|
|9||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:39|
|10||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept||0:02:16|
|11||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:53|
|12||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||0:03:06|
|13||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept||0:03:14|
|14||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:03:20|
|15||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||0:03:51|
|16||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:04:18|
|17||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:42|
|18||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus||0:04:53|
|19||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor||0:05:01|
|20||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team|
|21||Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team||0:05:04|
|22||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)||0:05:52|
|23||Marco Bianco (Ita)||0:06:21|
|24||Bart Hofman (Bel) Afdeling Oost-Vlaanderen WBV - VZW||0:06:38|
|25||Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem Prorace Cycling Team||0:07:04|
|26||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||-1lap|
|27||Egoitz Murgoitio (Spa)|
|28||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||-2laps|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||107||pts|
|2||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||92|
|3||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||85|
|4||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||84|
|5||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||77|
|6||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||62|
|7||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||56|
|8||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||53|
|9||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||42|
|10||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||41|
|11||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||40|
|12||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||30|
|13||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept||24|
|14||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||22|
|15||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept||21|
|16||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus||20|
|17||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||17|
|18||Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ||17|
|19||Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||14|
|20||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||11|
|21||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||11|
|22||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team||8|
|23||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||5|
|24||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||4|
|25||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor||4|
|26||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||3|
|27||Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS||3|
|28||Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||2|
|29||John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale||2|
|30||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||2|
|31||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||1|