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Pauwels claims Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps

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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team) wins Francorchamps

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team) wins Francorchamps
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Pauwels tops the Francorchamps podium

Pauwels tops the Francorchamps podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Francorchamps podium

Francorchamps podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) working his way to the top of the run-up

Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) working his way to the top of the run-up
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Pauwels makes it to the top of the steep run-up

Pauwels makes it to the top of the steep run-up
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars Van Der Haar (Giant-Shimano Development Team) muscles over the steep run-up

Lars Van Der Haar (Giant-Shimano Development Team) muscles over the steep run-up
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The leaders race through a tough day on the Francorchamps course

The leaders race through a tough day on the Francorchamps course
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A tough day for KwadrO Cycling rider

A tough day for KwadrO Cycling rider
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team takes third place on the day

Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team takes third place on the day
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) wins Francorchamps

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) wins Francorchamps
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Pauwels and van der Haar lead the elite men's race

Pauwels and van der Haar lead the elite men's race
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Pauwels leads van der Haar into the run-up

Pauwels leads van der Haar into the run-up
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team)

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team)

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano)

Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)

Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)

Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) finished 8th on the day

Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) finished 8th on the day
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Elite men's race on the Francorchamps track

Elite men's race on the Francorchamps track
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Elite men's race on the Francorchamps track

Elite men's race on the Francorchamps track
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The elite men run up the steep climb on course

The elite men run up the steep climb on course
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) won the restyled version of the GP de la Région Wallonne. The race featured as the fifth round of the Superprestige series with a course on the famous F1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. Pauwels profited from a late crash from Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano Development Team) to win solo on top of the Raidillon.

“It’s great. It was very tough. There were a lot of running sections so it wasn’t really tailor-made for me but I felt good. Beforehand I wasn’t sure I would win. I dug too deep early on because in the end I ran out of energy. Luckily everybody was tired so I was able to win. My first half of the season is a success,” Pauwels told Vier.

The first few laps there were nearly no gaps in the long line of riders as they sped around the car circuit. Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) had a go but the German was caught back. After three laps, the recurring ascents of the Raidillon and ‘le Mur’, the incredibly steep run-up, started to sting. Only eight riders remained in front and when Kevin Pauwels attacked the masks fell off.

Early bird Walsleben had no answer ready and only Van der Haar managed to get back on Pauwels’ wheel with a big effort. The duo quickly created a gap of 15 seconds on a chase group containing Nys, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus), Jens Adams (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace), Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea). The gap grew up to half a minute when the riders hit the Raidillon for a sixth time. Suddenly Nys was dropped by the group. The Belgian champion kept the group in sight but never got back in contention. One lap later Van der Poel was leading the chase together with Meeusen when the latter jumped away on the Raidillon.

“It’s very hard with the headwind on the climb. Trying to follow Tom would’ve blown my engine,” Van der Poel told Vier. Meeusen quickly distanced the rest of the chasers. In front Pauwels did most of the work but still the duo hit the final lap together. Meeusen was at 16s when hitting the final lap, with Jens Adams best of the rest at half a minute.

“Today I had no answer to anything Kevin did. Twice I told him to take me with him,” Van der Haar told Vier. In an effort to reach out for the win Van der Haar moved to the front but crashed when cornering around a tree. Pauwels didn’t waste any time and sped to the victory. “In the final lap I tried to reach the ‘Mur’ in front but I crashed. Luckily my bike wasn’t broken,” Van der Haar said.

Pauwels had no trouble to bring the win home. Van der Haar had enough left to hold off Meeusen for second place. A late flat tyre cost Adams the fourth place which Van der Poel gratefully accepted.

With three rounds left, six riders are left in contention for the overall victory in the Superprestige series. The next round of the Superprestige series is held in Diegem on December 28.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:59:33
2Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Shimano Development Team0:00:15
3Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:00:29
4Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP - Powerplus Cycling Team0:00:44
5Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team0:00:48
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:00:58
7Corné Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:01:05
8Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan - AA Drink Team0:01:21
9Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace0:01:52
10Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea0:01:54
11Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:02:08
12Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team0:02:15
13Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team0:02:19
14Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:02:40
15Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team0:02:44
16Mariusz Gil (Pol) Project Cross Racing0:02:46
17Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:02:49
18Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:03:06
19Tomas Paprstka (Cze) Remerx-Merida Team Kolin0:03:13
20Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:03:19
21Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:03:28
22Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team0:03:32
23Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:03:56
24Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Veranclassic-Doltcini Cycling Team0:04:14
25Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Cycling Team Zemst VZW0:05:47
26Michael Boros (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor0:06:11
27Ole Quast (Ger)0:06:17
28Josep Betalu Constantino (Spa)0:06:23
29Clement Lhotellerie (Fra)0:06:40
30Stephen Hyde (USA)
31Aaron Schooler (Can)
32Mark Mcconnell (Can)
33Cameron Jette (Can)

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