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Sweeck outfoxes Aerts to win GP Leuven

MIDDELKERKE, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 15: Arrival / Laurens Sweeck of Belgium and Team Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal / Celebration / during the 61st Superprestige Middelkerke Noordzee Cross 2020, Men Elite / @SuperprestigeCX / #middelkerke / on February 15, 2020 in Middelkerke, Belgium. (Photo by Marc Van Hecke/Getty Images)
From February Laurens Sweeck of Belgium and Team Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal celebrates at 2020 Superprestige Middelkerke Noordzee Cross (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) claimed his second victory in the space of a week, getting the better of Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) to win the GP Leuven. 

After mastering the sand to win the Jaarmarktcross on Wednesday, the Belgian champion relied on his sprint to get the better of Aerts, with whom he’d spent pretty much the whole race on the front. 

Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) finished in third place after a long solo chase, with European champion Eli Iserbyt in fourth, making it three Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal riders in the top four.

The Belgian team used that numerical advantage to good effect, ultimately outmanoeuvring the rider who had won this race three times, and two of the three previous races in this year’s Ethias Cross series.

Aerts’ leading teammate, Lars van de Haar, only joined the main chase group towards the end of the race. Meanwhile, Sweeck was able to point to Vanthourenhout and Iserbyt as he sat on Aerts’ wheel almost the whole way round. 

In fact, the complexion of the race was set from the very first lap. Sweeck was first out of the blocks, with Aerts on the wheel through the steep up-and-down wooded section before hitting the front on the grass and through the pump track section. There, the pair opened a gap and went on to cross the line together for the first of 10 times. 

After forming part of an eight-man chase on the opening two laps, Vanthourenhout and Iserbyt moved clear in pursuit on the third lap, allowing Sweeck to force Aerts to set the pace. 

On the fifth lap, Iserbyt made a mistake in the wooded section and Vanthourenhout was alone in the chase as the European champion dropped back to a group with teammate Ryan Kamp, Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Fenix), and the Hens-Maes duo of Vincent Baestens and Daan Soete. Kamp crashed on the following lap but it was soon clear none of those riders would come back into contention. 

The real question was whether Vanthourenhout would come back to the front, and he did reduce a 19-second gap at the half-way mark to 12 seconds by the end of lap seven, but Aerts would not relent. 

The gap went back up to 15 seconds ahead of the final lap, as Sweeck, who was able to shelter on the road section and on some of the grass, was in the perfect position. He was content to follow as the leading duo made no mistakes on the final lap. They emerged onto the road for the finishing straight and Aerts, still on the front, opened up the sprint, but Sweeck soon went way over to the left. 

It was a long sprint, and despite there not being much between them at first, Aerts soon ran out of power and Sweeck took it all the way to the line to raise his arms.

Results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:56:31
2Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:00:01
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Hens-Maes0:00:24
4Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:00:33
5Lars van der Haart (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions0:00:35
6Daan Soete (Bel) Hens-Maes0:00:39
7Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Hens-Maes0:00:44
8Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix0:00:45
9Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:00:56
10Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans0:01:23
11Tom Meeusen (Bel) Hens-Maes
12Timo Kielich (Bel) Credishop-Fristads
13Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:01:31
14Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:01:40
15Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:01:42
16Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans0:01:47
17Jelle Camps (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:01:50
18David Menut (Fra) Cross Team Legendre0:01:52
19Timon Ruegg (Swi)
20Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:01:57
21Steve Chainel (Fra) Cross Team Legendre0:02:03
22Diether Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads0:02:11
23Thibau Nys (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:02:14
24Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans0:02:19
25Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa) Nest-Skoda-Alecar0:02:28
26Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:02:32
27Cameron Mason (GBr) Trinity Racing
28Anton Ferdinande (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:02:33
29Lander Loockx (Bel) Hens-Maes0:02:38
30Joran Wysure (Bel)0:02:40
31Stan Godrie (Ned)0:02:55
32Curtis White (USA)0:03:05
33Ward Huybs (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:03:27
34Gerben Kuypers (Bel)0:03:36
35Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions0:03:41
36Theo Thomas (Fra) Tormans0:04:00
37Gianni Siebens (Bel)0:04:08
38Arne Vrachten (Bel)0:04:10
39Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel)0:04:15
40Seppe Rombouts (Bel)0:04:19
41Jetze Van Campenhout (Bel) Hens-Maes0:04:22
42Xander Geysels (Bel)0:04:31
43Emiel Verstrynge (Bel) Tormans0:04:33
44Maik van der Heijden (Ned)0:04:35
45Arno Van den Broeck (Bel)0:04:41
46Remi Lelandais (Fra) Cross Team Legendre0:04:45
47Dolf Pemen (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Dolcitini
48Sascha Weber (Ger)0:04:46
49Luke Verburg (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal0:04:48
50Noe Castille (Fra) Cross Team Legendre
51Joachim Van Looveren (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Dolcitini0:04:53
52Nick Peers (Bel)0:04:58
53Kenny Roelandt (Bel)0:05:04
54Lennert Belmans (Bel)-1 lap
55Clement Horny (Bel)-2 laps
56Jens Guys (Bel)-3 laps
57Victor Van de Putte (Bel)-4 laps
58Antoine Huby (Fra) Cross Team Legendre
59Thomas Verheyen (Bel)
60Ivan Feijoo Alberte (Spa) Nesta-Skoda-Alecar
61Jarno Jordens (Bel)
62Justin Laevens (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Dolcitini- 6 laps
63Ydris Salmoez (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Dolcitini- 7 laps
DNFDavid van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFDieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
DNFMees Hendrickx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads
DNFJulian Siemons (Bel)
DNFLen Dejonghe (Bel) Hens-Maes
DNFVince Van den Eynde (Bel)
DNFElio Clarysse (Bel)
DNSLilian Schneider (Fra) Cross Team Legendre

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