The third round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series in a warm and windy Ruddervoorde surprisingly turned into a quiet one-man show from Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games). Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) held off Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) for second place and strengthens his lead in the Superprestige classification. Pauwels grabbed his first win of the season after six podium results.
“I had to wait quite a long time for this because Wout and Lars [Van der Haar] were so good. This win makes up a lot for that,” Pauwels told Sporza.
Straight from the start the Belgian 31 year-old rider took the command and without a single attack he dropped everybody from his wheel. The last riders who were able to keep up with Pauwels were Sven Nys and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea). Meeusen faded back in the third lap while cyclo-cross veteran Nys made a rare tumble just before the race was halfway. “Kevin was impressive today. I’ve not often seen him riding this well in Ruddervoorde,” Nys said. From there Pauwels flawlessly cruised to a well-deserved victory on the twisting course. “It wasn’t my goal to ride away but I felt good and at my pace I wasn’t hitting the red zone,” Pauwels said.
Behind the lone leader Nys – with his shirt zipped open - received the company of Wout Van Aert. The runner-up from Saturday’s European championships bounced back after going through a few difficult laps early on. With four laps to go it seemed like Van Aert would steam through to the front but he ran out of gas and wasn’t able to get closer to Pauwels nor get rid of Nys. “On this course it’s hard for me to use my power. The first few laps weren’t good and then my legs got going. I lost 10-15 seconds on Kevin and that gap remained the same. I couldn’t go any faster and a a few laps before the end I realized that I wasn’t going to win,” Van Aert said.
“Maybe it seemed simple but it was very hard. To me the race was endless. I feared Wout Van Aert who came closer. Once the gap remained the same I knew it was possible. I was suffering but knew it was going to work out,” Pauwels said.
Due to the relatively warm temperatures of circa 15°C Pauwels opted to take along a bottle on his bike. At every finish-passage he took a sip from it. Third-place Nys is known to suffer from the heat but he didn’t take a bottle along. “At a heart rate of 180 my stomach struggles with it. I don’t take it in,” Nys said. In the final lap Van Aert seemingly outpaced Nys with ease. “I was nearly suffering from cramps in the final lap. I was sweating a lot. I rode on normal tubulars while others used rhino profile. I was going fast on the long straight sections but I had to work a lot after the corners to close the gaps. I got the maximum out of it,” Nys said.
Van Aert was content to finish on his second runner-up position of the weekend. “I’m still very disappointed with yesterday’s defeat. I’m pleased that I showed character and finished second today. I did a good job classification-wise. It’s on a bad day that one can take control of the series.
That’s what Wout Van Aert did too. With 44 points he strengthens his lead in the Superprestige points classification up to a Superprestige-wise massive seven points over both Pauwels and Nys. Fresh European champion Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) wasn’t as impressive as during yesterday’s European championships. He finished sixth in Ruddervoorde and tumbles from second overall to fourth with 35 points.
Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) made his comeback near his hometown Torhout after a shoulder injury. Vantornout held off Meeusen in the final lap to claim a strong fourth place at more than a minute from winner Pauwels. Seventh-placed Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) held off a group with respectively the Sweeck-brothers Diether and Laurens who finished eighth and ninth. The group also included Tim Merlier (Vastgoeservice-Golden Palace) and Clément Venturini (Cofidis).
The next round of the Superprestige series is held next week with the cyclo-cross classic around the Grenier castle in Asper-Gavere.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb Napoleon Games Cycling Team||1:01:05|
|2||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:00:15|
|3||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan Aa Drink Team||0:00:29|
|4||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:01:07|
|5||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:17|
|6||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin||0:01:36|
|7||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:01|
|8||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Corendon-Kwadro||0:02:07|
|9||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Corendon-Kwadro||0:02:10|
|10||Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:02:13|
|11||Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:02:15|
|12||Jens Vandekinderen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:20|
|13||Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:02:33|
|14||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kuota Lotto||0:02:36|
|15||Stan Godrie (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||0:02:41|
|16||Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:02:44|
|17||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:02|
|18||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:13|
|19||Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan Aa Drink Team||0:03:48|
|20||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Bkcp-Corendon||0:04:17|
|21||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||0:04:28|
|22||Michael Boros (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon||0:04:52|
|23||Vinnie Braet (Bel) Colba Superano Ham||0:05:10|
|24||Stijn Huys (Bel) Bruynooghe Cycling Team||0:05:32|
|25||David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp - Powerplus||0:05:51|
|26||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct||0:05:54|
|27||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Colba Superano Ham||0:06:25|
|28||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Zzpr.Nl-Orange Babies||-1 lap|
|29||Jakub Skala (Cze) Cez Cyklo Team Tabor|
|30||Niels Koyen (Bel) Bike Experience Cycling Team||-2 laps|
|31||James Spragg (GBr) Cct P/B Champion System||-3 laps|
|32||Martin Eriksson (Swe) Cykloteket Racing Team|
|33||Dimitri Corriette (Fra) Cl Barlin|
|34||Pascal Colaert (Bel) Dovy Keukens - Fcc||-4 laps|
|35||Fabian Obrist (Swi) Veloplus|
|36||Jorge Garcia Rodriguez (Spa) Stecchino Mtb Club|
|37||Manikas Domas (Ltu) Mtbcc|
|38||Kristaps Kipurs (Lat) Ct Pajuris||-5 laps|
|39||Felix Fuentes Sanchez (Spa) Stecchino Mtb Club|
|40||Manuel Jiminez Martin (Spa) Stecchino Mtb Club|
|41||Fernando Jiminez Rodrigues (Spa) Stecchino Mtb Club|
|DNF||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|DNF||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Era Real Estate-Murprotec|
|DNF||Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice Golden Palace Ct|
|DNF||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon-Kwadro|
|DNF||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team|
|DNF||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn) Veranclassic-Ekoi|
|DNF||Quincy Vens (Bel) Colba Superano Ham|
|DNF||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Napoleon Games Cycling Team|