The seventh round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series was held at a new course in Hoogstraten, Belgium on Sunday. The continuous rain of the last few days created soaky meadows, turning the course into an old-fashioned mudder. Belgian champion Sven Nys (Crelan - AA Drink) dealt best with the hard circumstances and grabbed his second win of the weekend. It was Nys' 16th victory of the season and his eighth victory in Hoogstraten.
"If you're enjoying good form like I do, then it's easier to win on such a course. The strong men automatically move to the front. I profited from my typically stronger second day. I tried to ride conservatively. You can never hit the red zone because you pay for that later in the race," Nys told Vier.
Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) grabbed his first podium result in a long time. "Last night I felt depressed. I was fourth at the world championships, but that result wasn't confirmed in Lille yesterday. This second place boosts my morale. Finishing second behind Nys feels like a victory these days," Vantornout told Vier.
Just like in Lille on Saturday, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) took a fast start in Hoogstraten. He couldn't bring the win home but still managed third place. In the Superprestige standings, Nys closed in to four points on Niels Albert, with one round left to race.
"Albert fought hard for it and if he clinches the overall win in Middelkerke, then it's well deserved. He'll have to ride top-four. I'll try to put him under pressure and see whether he has a bad day or not," Nys said.
Dutch champion Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) was ranked third in the Superprestige series before the race. He managed the hole shot in Hoogstraten but then the ankle deep mud and a cold forced him to pull out. Van der Haar drops from third to sixth overall. Sven Nys and Niels Albert dealt much better with the huge amounts of mud than Van der Haar. Both riders took a conservative start, but in the second lap Albert took over the command and powered away. In one lap, he collected almost 20 seconds on a large chase group. That was the sign for Nys to move up. Before the end of the same lap, Nys already caught up with Albert; Vantornout closed the gap a little later.
The three leaders rode together for most of the fourth lap until Nys rode an impressive line in the long sand stretch, leaving the duo Vantornout & Albert behind. In no time, the duo found themselves half a minute down on the Belgian champion. Vantornout then distanced Albert in the sixth lap. When the latter got stuck into the wiring, he threw his bike from left to right in frustration.
"I was riding pretty well and closing the gap on Klaas. I got into the wiring, broke two derailleurs... I didn't have much luck and needed to vent my frustration. Luckily I didn't let go of my bike. Actually, I needed to get the bike on my right-hand side anyway because I can't hop on the bike from the other side," Albert joked.
The top-three remained the same in the closing laps although Albert still had to work hard to hold off Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) for third place. "It's a very hard course. I have to dig very deep when trying to defend my classification. Today the hard work paid off but next week I'll have to do it again," Albert said.
Despite missing out on the podium, Van Amerongen was delighted with his fourth place. "It's my best Superprestige result ever. I didn't expect it as I wasn't going too well the last few weeks. Mud is my thing," Van Amerongen told Vier.
A few minutes later Nys' buddy, Sven Vanthourenhout (Crelan-AA Drink), was a surprising addition to the top-10. Another veteran, American rider Jonathan Page (Page) showed good form late in the season as he finished 13th, scoring his first Superprestige points in a very long time.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Trek||1:00:10|
|2||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:32|
|3||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:00:53|
|4||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:00:56|
|5||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:00|
|6||Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace Cycling Team||0:01:59|
|7||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus|
|8||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:18|
|9||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:02:28|
|10||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink Cycling Team||0:02:43|
|11||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:03:00|
|12||Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace||0:03:08|
|13||Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist||0:03:42|
|14||Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:04:12|
|15||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:04:18|
|16||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team||0:04:34|
|17||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:05:00|
|18||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:05:19|
|19||Vinnie Braet (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:05:25|
|20||Micki Van Empel (Ned) KDL Cycling Team||0:05:40|
|21||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:05:44|
|22||Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:05:51|
|23||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:06:06|
|24||Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa) MMR Spiuk||0:06:14|
|25||Davy Commeyne (Bel) Smartphoto Cycling Team||0:06:25|
|26||Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha-Focus||0:06:58|
|27||Bart Hofman (Bel) Afdeling Oost-Vlaanderen WBV - VZW|
|28||Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:07:18|
|29||Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Specialized-Garmar||0:07:25|
|-1lap||Niels Koyen (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team|
|-1lap||Kevin Cant (Bel) Primator Cyclingteam|
|-2laps||Aaron Schooler (Can) Team H&R Block|
|-2laps||Bart Verschueren (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team|
|-2laps||Nicolas Le Besq (Fra)|
|-3laps||Jon Gomez Elorriaga (Spa) Bioracer-Caravanos Erandio|
|-3laps||Inigo Gomez Elorriaga (Spa) Bioracer-Caravanos Erandio|
|-4laps||Teemu Violainen (Fin)|
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