Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb Pro Job) opened his World Cup campaign with a 16th place finish in Treviso on Sunday. The Belgian has come into the current cyclo-cross season confident that it will be one of his best years in the sport. Vanthourenhout has also denied rumours of a rift between himself and cousin Dieter Vanthourenhout.
Sven Vanthourenhout has had consistent top-five overall finishes in the Superprestige series of recent years, but has failed to live up to the expectation that surrounded him early in his career. However, the 28-year-old told Cyclingnews that he has approached this season with a renewed focus.
"I've had a very good road season. In contrast to recent years I've been riding those races more as a cyclo-cross rider, instead of considering it as a specific goal," he said. "I'm starting this season stronger than other years and hopefully it will be visible during the next few months."
Vanthourenhout looked to have got off to a rocky start last month at the Vlaamse Houtlandcross in Eernegem, Belgium. He claimed second place behind Neils Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), but collided with cousin Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus) in the sprint for the line.
Dieter was injured in the crash and the incident fuelled speculation of a rift between the two. Sven denied any suggestion of animosity between the cousins. "I don't want to comment too much on this. We talked with each other about it. I rode my sprint and he tried to get through a gap that wasn't there. Anyway, he told me he would be fine pretty soon and that's the most important thing," he said.
Both riders completed the opening round of the World Cup in Treviso. Dieter Vanthourenhout finished in 30th place, 2:29 down on his BKCP-Powerplus teammate and race winner Niels Albert.
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