Young Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) won the Versluys cyclo-cross race in Bredene, Belgium on a cold, wet and windy Saturday afternoon.
The 20-year-old Belgian rider was much stronger than the rest of the field on the muddy course through the dunes at the North Sea coast. Fellow youngsters Gianni Vermeersch and Tim Merlier – both 22 years old and riding for Sunweb-Napoleon Games – joined Van Aert on the podium. It's the eighth victory for Van Aert at the elite men's level this season. He also won six races in the men's under-23 category.
Van Aert was attracted by the organizers for their C2-race to replace last year's winner Zdenek Stybar, who called off his participation after his crash at the cross in Ardooie. Van Aert tried to please the crowd with a good performance and he set the pace early on.
He was joined by Sven Vanthourenhout (Crelan – AA Drink), Vermeersch and Merlier and later also Joeri Adams (Vastgoedservice – Golden Palace). As the hail tortured the riders, Adams, Merlier and Vermeersch were the first to get dropped, chasing the two remaining leaders with Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea).
With three laps to go, Vanthourenhout faded too. Afterwards he referred to having cold legs and a lack of power. Sven Nys' teammate went on to finish sixth.
Van Aert continued solo and with a mud-clad face he reached the finish line. Vermeersch beat teammate Merlier in the sprint for second place. Joeri Adams was fourth.
Last year, Stybar won in Bredene ahead of Rob Peeters. Both riders called off their participation in Bredene this year. Stybar is recovering from his injuries sustained at a crash in the Ardooie cyclo-cross. Peeters is struggling with illness and might be out for the race in Diegem on Sunday evening.
There was no race in the women's category in Bredene.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:57:40|
|2||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:32|
|3||Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:35|
|4||Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team|
|5||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:00:57|
|6||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan - AA Drink Team||0:01:05|
|7||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:34|
|8||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:01:44|
|9||Vinnie Braet (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:01:55|
|10||David Menut (Fra)||0:02:06|
|11||Thomas Joseph (Bel) Lares - Doltcini Cycling Team||0:02:15|
|12||Berne Vankeirsbilck (Bel) CCN - Metalac Cycling team||0:02:20|
|13||Ben Berden (Bel) Raleigh Clement Professional Cyclocross Team|
|14||Nicolas Bazin (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93||0:02:47|
|15||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) CCN - Metalac Cycling team||0:02:55|
|16||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Hargroves Cycles||0:03:07|
|17||Pieter Van Speybrouck (Bel)||0:03:14|
|18||Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:03:30|
|19||Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team||0:03:39|
|20||Jelle Wallays (Bel)||0:03:47|
|21||Nicolas Pruvost (Fra)||0:03:52|
|22||Mathieu Morichon (Fra)||0:04:02|
|23||Tomas Paprstka (Cze) Remerx-Merida Team Kolin||0:04:11|
|24||Niels Koyen (Bel) CCN - Metalac Cycling team||0:04:38|
|25||Yves Coolen (Bel) De Kastelse Durvers V.Z.W.||0:04:55|
|26||Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)||0:05:52|
|27||Raphael Gay (Fra)|
|28||Martin Haring (Svk)|
|29||Nicolas Le Besq (Ned)|
|30||Robin Alderweireld (Bel) Cycling Team Houtland-Westkust|
|31||Robert Marion (USA)|
|32||Theobald Ullrich (Ger)|
|33||Robert Wardell (Swi)|
|34||Romain Boutet (Fra)|
|35||Christophe Cavazzana (Fra)|
|36||Michal Malik (Cze)|
|37||Arnau Rota Cano (Spa)|
|38||Albert Poblet Dot (Spa)|