Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) delivered on his favourite status at the Vlaamse Druivencross, riding away from his competitors half-way through a muddy edition of the race to win solo by a handsome margin.
Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) finished second, while Aerts' teammate Corne Van Kessel took the final podium spot.
In the absence of World Cup champion Mathieu van der Poel, Aaerts was the one to watch, and he found himself rubbing shoulders with another Van der Poel - Mathieu's brother, David - in the early exchanges. The pair immediately opened a small gap on the first lap, but Vanthourenhout and Van Kessel soon came back.
Aert's crashed into a pole on the third lap, causing a mini pile-up, but on the next lap he opened the taps and rode away from the others on the open, flatter, winding section of the course, where the mud was thick from the overnight rain.
From there his lead only grew, and the rest of the field were left to battle for the minor placings.
"I am satisfied with the feeling today. I do not think I was good enough to beat Mathieu van der Poel, but he was not there today," Aerts told Belgian TV channel Sporza.
"It's different without Mathieu. The first laps were a bit quieter and then riders can often return, and on a technical passage I made the difference."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||1:02:47|
|2||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal||0:00:29|
|3||Corné van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:47|
|4||Marcel Meisen (Dui) Corendon-Circus||0:01:10|
|5||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal||0:01:19|
|6||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:39|
|7||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Corendon-Circus||0:02:11|
|8||Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice||0:02:23|
|9||Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Charles||0:02:34|
|10||David van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus||0:02:44|
|11||Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:54|
|12||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:03:07|
|13||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon - Circus||0:03:37|
|14||Yannick Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:04:11|
|15||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:04:48|
|16||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux - Bingoal||0:05:12|
|17||Sieben Wouters (Ned) Creafin Tüv Sud||0:06:48|
|2 laps||Garry Millburn (Aus)|
|2 laps||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Tarteletto - Isorex|
|2 laps||Edwin De Wit (Bel)|
|2 laps||Dario Tielen (Bel)|
|2 laps||David Eriksson (Swe)|
|3 laps||Robin Alderweireld (Bel)|
|3 laps||Koen Van Dijke (Ned)|
|4 laps||Yelle Leaerts (Bel)|
|4 laps||Wouter Goosen (Bel)|
|4 laps||Yoni De Bock (Bel)|
|5 laps||Francois Chastagner (Fra)|
|6 laps||Jelle De Bock (Bel)|
|6 laps||Thomas Edhofer (Ger)|
|DNF||Daan Soete (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice|
|DNF||Henrik Jansson (Swe)|