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Van Aert wins CrossVegas, takes first World Cup leader’s jersey

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Some of the large Belgian team heading out for practice laps

Some of the large Belgian team heading out for practice laps
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) leading the race with a one and a half laps to go

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) leading the race with a one and a half laps to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) had a consistent ride to take fifth place

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) had a consistent ride to take fifth place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) took it upon himself to attempt to bridge to the three leaders

Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) took it upon himself to attempt to bridge to the three leaders
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (Crelan) attacking the leaders on lap four

Sven Nys (Crelan) attacking the leaders on lap four
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Twenty countries competed including Australia

Twenty countries competed including Australia
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ryan Trebon (Cannondale) racing to a 12th place finish

Ryan Trebon (Cannondale) racing to a 12th place finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) had no troubles with any of the technical features of the course

Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) had no troubles with any of the technical features of the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Wout Van Aert won by a 23-second margin

Wout Van Aert won by a 23-second margin
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Enduro Mountain biker Adam Craig (Giant) looked strong the entire race

Enduro Mountain biker Adam Craig (Giant) looked strong the entire race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (Crelan) riding in second position on lap three

Sven Nys (Crelan) riding in second position on lap three
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading on lap three

Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading on lap three
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Craig Ritchey (Canada) churning freshly laid sand

Craig Ritchey (Canada) churning freshly laid sand
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) found himself chasing the leaders the entire race

Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) found himself chasing the leaders the entire race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading through the sand pit on lap two

Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading through the sand pit on lap two
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The new sandpit provided quite a challenge for the riders

The new sandpit provided quite a challenge for the riders
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ben Sonntag (Cliff Bar) riding on the banked track

Ben Sonntag (Cliff Bar) riding on the banked track
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klass Vantornout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading on the banked curve

Klass Vantornout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading on the banked curve
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Curtis White (Cannondale) riding to a top twenty finish

Curtis White (Cannondale) riding to a top twenty finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jim Aernouts (Telnet Fidea) near the front of the race on lap one

Jim Aernouts (Telnet Fidea) near the front of the race on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading late in lap one

Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading late in lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Elite Men facing the first run-up on the Cross Vegas course

The Elite Men facing the first run-up on the Cross Vegas course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klass Vantornout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading the race on lap one

Klass Vantornout (Sunweb-Nepolean Games) leading the race on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Elite Men’s start on grass

The Elite Men’s start on grass
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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American Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) on the front row

American Champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha Focus) on the front row
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The men wait on the start line

The men wait on the start line
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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The men's field hits the sand section

The men's field hits the sand section
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Wout Van Aert (Golden Palace) leads a front group

Wout Van Aert (Golden Palace) leads a front group
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Jeremy Powers (Rapha) looks back to see who is on his wheel

Jeremy Powers (Rapha) looks back to see who is on his wheel
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott) tries to move up in the field

Geoff Kabush (Scott) tries to move up in the field
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Sven Nys (Crelan) leads a group through one of the run-up sections

Sven Nys (Crelan) leads a group through one of the run-up sections
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Sven Nys (Crelan) trying to break up the chase group

Sven Nys (Crelan) trying to break up the chase group
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Sven Nys (Crelan) goes high on the banked turn

Sven Nys (Crelan) goes high on the banked turn
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Prior to the even the Desert Breeze course was manicured like a golf course

Prior to the even the Desert Breeze course was manicured like a golf course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb) on his way to third place

Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb) on his way to third place
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Sven Nys (Crelan) leads through the stairs

Sven Nys (Crelan) leads through the stairs
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Jeremy Powers (Rapha) fights his way up a climb

Jeremy Powers (Rapha) fights his way up a climb
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Sven Nys (Crelan) gets a little sideways in the sand

Sven Nys (Crelan) gets a little sideways in the sand
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Another group hits tonights dusty sand section

Another group hits tonights dusty sand section
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Sven Nys (Crelan) crosse the line for second place

Sven Nys (Crelan) crosse the line for second place
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Jeremy Powers (Rapha) gets mobbed after the race

Jeremy Powers (Rapha) gets mobbed after the race
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Former Cross Vegas winner Jamie Driscoll (Raleigh Clement) descending a flyover

Former Cross Vegas winner Jamie Driscoll (Raleigh Clement) descending a flyover
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys checks the state of his rivals

Sven Nys checks the state of his rivals
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars Van Der Haar sits on Jeremy Powers' wheel

Lars Van Der Haar sits on Jeremy Powers' wheel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Svan Nys leads what would be the top three finishers

Svan Nys leads what would be the top three finishers
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jeremy Powers greeted after the race

Jeremy Powers greeted after the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The podium was a multi-coloured affair

The podium was a multi-coloured affair
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sven Nys was happy with his second place

Sven Nys was happy with his second place
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Corne Van Kessel takes a rest after the race

Corne Van Kessel takes a rest after the race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michael Vanthourenhout leads a large group of riders

Michael Vanthourenhout leads a large group of riders
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The fans watch on

The fans watch on
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Following in line

Following in line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The riders pass through the finish line

The riders pass through the finish line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The top three in the men's race

The top three in the men's race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The nighttime slot made for an interesting spectacle

The nighttime slot made for an interesting spectacle
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There was no missing Sven Nys in the dark with his bright yellow Trek

There was no missing Sven Nys in the dark with his bright yellow Trek
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert takes the corner

Wout Van Aert takes the corner
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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There was no mud but plenty of sand

There was no mud but plenty of sand
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The night race provided a great spectacle

The night race provided a great spectacle
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars Van Der Haar finished fourth

Lars Van Der Haar finished fourth
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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US Champion Jeremy Powers crosses the line

US Champion Jeremy Powers crosses the line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert makes his way through the dark

Wout Van Aert makes his way through the dark
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert celebrating his victory

Wout Van Aert celebrating his victory
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sven Nys comes home in second

Sven Nys comes home in second
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michael Vanthournhout is happy with his third place finish

Michael Vanthournhout is happy with his third place finish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Van Aert wins in Vegas

Wout Van Aert wins in Vegas
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sven Nys rode to second

Sven Nys rode to second
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) won the first-ever non-European UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Wednesday under the sparkling lights of Las Vegas, Nevada, soloing to an impressive CrossVegas win ahead of fellow Belgians Sven Nys and Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napolean Games).

Desert Breeze Soccer Complex, which hosted the ninth running of CrossVegas, lived up to its name Wednesday as winds whipped throughout the 67-minute race on the thick park grass.

The conditions didn’t appear to slow the riders, however, as the pack of 70 cruised over the course in one long, strung out line for the first several laps.

Although Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) won the hole shot and led early on during the first lap, it was Vanthourenhout who put in the first real attack of the race. The move netted him a gap that grew out to a maximum of 30 seconds.

“When I took 30 seconds, I really felt pretty good and I had hope for the end but then I saw two really strong riders coming and I said, ‘OK, I’ll hold back a little bit and then try to catch up,’” Vanthourenhout said.

The two approaching riders were Nys and eventual winner Van Aert, who said he knew with Vanthourenhout’s strength they could not leave him alone off the front for long.

“I know him from the youth categories in Belgium,” Van Aert said. “He’s a strong rider. He’s always difficult to catch back when he’s got a good pace.

“I knew we can’t wait long to make a move in the front,” Van Aert said. “And then I saw that Sven was in the front, and before in the race he was always a little bit more in the back. So I knew he was strong, and he wanted also to go in the front.”

Van Aert and Nys slowly reeled in Vanthourenhout after several laps of chasing, and once together the trio continued to open up its advantage over a group of about 15, who were being led by US champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus).

Vanthourenhout lost contact with Van Aerts and Nys with three laps to go, drifting back into no-man’s land while fighting to hold off the chase.

“I really tried to keep on as long as I could,” Vanthourenhout said. “But then at a certain moment I had to let them go. Then I said I would ride my own race and I kept my third place, which was really good.”

With Vanthourenhout gone from the lead, Van Aert quickly seized the moment and attacked Nys, gaining an advantage over his fellow Belgian and then pressing the issue. Nys trailed about 15-20 seconds behind, with Vanthourenhout still holding onto his third-place spot.

“I thought maybe I had to try more,” Van Aert said. “But after the first one I already had a gap. Afterwards it was just giving all I had. It was really difficult the last two laps to keep on pushing and keep up the pace, because it is a really heavy course. The ground is really heavy, and also a lot of wind on the field. It was a hard one, but I’m very happy to start the season like this.”

Meanwhile, Powers continued to do the work in the chase, and his efforts whittled the group down to just himself, Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) and 2014-15 World Cup winner Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napolean Games). The two European riders were content to let Powers do the pulling, sitting in his slipstream and waiting to pounce at the finish.

Van Aert showed his class with a spectacular final two laps, holding off Nys by 23 seconds at the finish. Vanthourenhout came in 44 seconds down for third, while Van der Haar and Pauwels both slipped past Powers to round out the top five.

Van Aaert said he was especially proud to have the opportunity to wear the World Cup leader’s jersey next month during round two in Valkenburg.

“Last year I was two times the World Cup leader in the U23 category, but I had not the option to wear it because there was a world champion right there,” Van Aert said. “Right now it’s going to be the first time I can race in it, and it’s really something that I can look forward to, to do that in Valkenburg next month.

“I’m just really happy to start like this,” he said. “For every rider that is a little dream to do that, and it gives you a lot of confidence to keep doing the good work going into winter.”

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team1:07:00
2Sven Nys (Bel)0:00:23
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:00:44
4Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin0:00:52
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team
6Jeremy Powers (USA)0:00:54
7Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec0:01:30
8Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team0:01:40
9Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:01:48
10Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team
11Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Era Real Estate - Murprotec0:01:49
12Ryan Trebon (USA)0:01:52
13Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:02:04
14Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:02:17
15Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:02:31
16Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Bkcp-Corendon0:02:34
17Adam Toupalik (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon
18Steve Chainel (Fra)0:02:37
19Radomir Simunek (Cze) Era Real Estate - Murprotec
20Curtis White (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies0:02:38
21Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team
22Adam Craig (USA)0:02:46
23Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:02:49
24Michael Boros (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon0:02:51
25Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec0:02:54
26Ian Field (GBr)
27Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:02:56
28James Driscoll (USA)0:03:03
29Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team0:03:20
30Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Bkcp-Corendon0:03:28
31Simon Zahner (Swi)0:03:29
32Daniel Summerhill (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team
33Stan Godrie (Ned) Rabobank Development Team0:03:31
34Travis Livermon (USA) Team Smartstop0:03:36
35Jeremy Martin (Can)0:03:37
36Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing0:03:46
37Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team
38Brian Matter (USA)0:03:57
39Lukas Winterberg (Swi)0:04:01
40Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:04:05
41Allen Krughoff (USA)0:04:07
42Craig Richey (Can)0:04:16
43Dan Timmerman (USA)0:04:30
44David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp-Corendon0:04:37
45Kerry Werner (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies
46Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team0:04:49
47Mark Mcconnell (Can)0:04:57
48Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing0:05:30
49Christopher Aitken (Aus)0:05:41
50Tobin Ortenblad (USA)0:06:03
51Stephen Hyde (USA) Astellas Cycling Team0:06:04
52Aaron Schooler (Can)0:06:33
53Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)0:06:39
54Evan Mcneely (Can)0:07:19
55Tom Chapman (Aus)0:07:27
56Kenneth Hansen (Den)-1 Lap
57Jonathan Page (USA)-1 Lap
58Garry Millburn (Aus)-1 Lap
59Jack Hogan (Aus)-1 Lap
60Michael Van Den Ham (Can)-1 Lap
61Hugo Robinson (GBr)-2 Laps
62Yoshitaka Hama (Jpn)-2 Laps
63Sascha Weber (Ger) Cct P/B Champion System-2 Laps
64Zach Mcdonald (USA)-3 Laps
65Jeremy Durrin (USA)-3 Laps
66Oleksiy Ukhanov (Ukr)-4 Laps
67Jarno Trey (Est)-7 Laps

World Cup Standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team80pts
2Sven Nys (Bel)70
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team65
4Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin60
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team55
6Jeremy Powers (USA)50
7Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec48
8Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team46
9Van Corne Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team44
10Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team42
11Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Era Real Estate - Murprotec40
12Ryan Trebon (USA)39
13Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team38
14Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team37
15Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team36
16Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Bkcp-Corendon35
17Adam Toupalik (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon34
18Steve Chainel (Fra)33
19Radomir Simunek (Cze) Era Real Estate - Murprotec32
20Curtis White (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies31
21Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team30
22Adam Craig (USA)29
23Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team28
24Michael Boros (Cze) Bkcp-Corendon27
25Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate - Murprotec26
26Ian Field (GBr)25
27Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)24
28James Driscoll (USA)23
29Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team22
30Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Bkcp-Corendon21
31Simon Zahner (Swi)20
32Daniel Summerhill (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team19
33Stan Godrie (Ned) Rabobank Development Team18
34Travis Livermon (USA) Team Smartstop17
35Jeremy Martin (Can)16
36Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing15
37Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team14
38Brian Matter (USA)13
39Lukas Winterberg (Swi)12
40Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling11
41Allen Krughoff (USA)10
42Craig Richey (Can)9
43Dan Timmerman (USA)8
44David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp-Corendon7
45Kerry Werner (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies6
46Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team5
47Mark Mcconnell (Can)4
48Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing3
49Christopher Aitken (Aus)2
50Tobin Ortenblad (USA)1

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