Michael Vanthourenhout wins Telenet Superprestige Merksplas

Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) claimed an emphatic victory in a greasy, treacherous Telenet Superprestige round in Merksplas. The Belgian, superior in the tricky, technical section of the course, went clear on the second to last lap and held onto the lead through to the finish.

"It's my first victory in such a series so I'm very happy," Vanthourenhout said. "I think in the woods it was good for me. I like the turns and the sand for me it was a good one."

In a tactical battle for the Superprestige classification, leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) overcame some early mistakes to claim second and inch out his lead over Toon Aerts thanks to teammate Laurens Sweeck out-sprinting Aerts for third to complete the podium sweep for Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal.

"I'm very happy with second place, especially with the win for Michael and third for Laurens," Iserbyt said. "The whole podium for Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal - it's very impressive. It was a very hard race, they did a great job in front in the first half hour."

The race started in the rain and Quinten Hermans (Circus-Wanty Gobert) took the lead out of the gates but slipped out on a greasy section in the woods, allowing Lars van der Haar (Telenet Baloise) to open up a gap. The Dutchman pushed on giving a tactical advantage to teammate Toon Aerts, second in the series to Eli Iserbyt.

With Iserbyt's teammate Laurens Sweeck forced to chase, Aerts settled on the Belgian champion's wheel as he worked to reel in Van der Haar. The catch came midway through the nine lap race and, with Iserbyt then also coming back from his crash. Sweeck eased up on the pace, allowing his Vanthourenhout to rejoin and then Iserbyt made it three for Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. 

Aerts put in a surge in the sand on lap seven, drawing out Iserbyt. The pair led into the penultimate lap with Vanthourenhout and Van der Haar chasing, then Sweeck and Corne van Kessel (Circus-Wanty Gobert) just behind in a tense, tactical race in the mud.

The six leaders came together mid-lap with Vanthourenhout opening up a gap in the technical section through the woods and Aerts forced to chase ahead of Isberbyt on the long, flat straightaways.

Vanthourenhout then showed his prowess in the mud again on the final lap, sailing clear en route to victory with the two general classification rivals evenly matched behind.

Iserbyt got away from Aerts in the final lap and an exhausted Aerts couldn't hold off the charge from Sweeck, with team tactics once again costing him his position in the rankings.

"We have three very good players in the team and in the end we could go full gas and it was enough to get three podium spots," Iserbyt said.

"We don't need words to know what we mean [to do tactically]," Iserbyt added. "When Michael went full gas before the forest, it was only Toon and Lars wasn't there anymore. I think they did a little too much work early in the race."

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:59:33
2Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:00:08
3Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:00:13
4Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions
5Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:00:22
6Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:00:27
7Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Teika-BH-Gsport 0:00:36
8Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:43
9Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers 0:00:50
10Diether Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads 0:01:15
11Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:01:27
12Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers 0:01:46
13Anton Ferdinande (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:01:54
14Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:02:06
15Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:02:12
16Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:02:17
17Timo Kielich (Bel) Credishop-Fristads
18Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
19David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:02:33
20Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:02:38
21Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:02:44
22Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:02:45
23Joran Wyseure (Bel) 0:02:47
24Steve Chainel (Fra) Cross Team Legendre 0:02:50
25Loris Rouiller (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:00
26David Menut (Fra) Cross Team Legendre 0:03:22
27Emiel Verstrynge (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:03:30
28Thibau Nys (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions 0:03:36
29Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa) Nesta-Skoda Alecar CX Team 0:03:37
30Curtis White (USA) 0:03:57
31Théo Thomas (Fra) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:03:58
32Arne Vrachten (Bel) 0:04:11
33Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads 0:04:29
34Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team 0:04:33
35Julian Siemons (Bel) 0:04:41
36Joshua Dubau (Fra) 0:04:51
37Florian Richard Andrade (Fra) Cross Team Legendre 0:05:06
38Rémi Lelandais (Fra) Cross Team Legendre 0:05:10
39Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) 0:05:24
40Yan Gras (Fra) AAA Sörius 0:05:26
41Lander Loockx (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers 0:05:30
42Robin Alderweireld (Bel) 0:05:34
43Maik Van Der Heijden (Ned) 0:05:41
44Thomas Verheyen (Bel) 0:05:45
45Gianni Siebens (Bel) 0:05:47
46Arne Baers (Bel)
47Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity Racing
48Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions
49Joachim van Looveren (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT
50Ward Huybs (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions
51Stan Godrie (Ned)
52Gerben Kuypers (Bel)
53Jelle Vermoote (Bel)
54Arno Van Den Broeck (Bel)
55Jetze van Campenhout (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers
56Luke Verburg (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
57Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel)
58Lilian Schneider (Fra) Cross Team Legendre
59Kyle Agterberg (Ned)
60Antoine Huby (Fra) Cross Team Legendre
61Niels Koyen (Bel)
62Elio Clarysse (Bel)
DNFTom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers
DNFJelle Camps (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
DNFCameron Mason (GBr) Trinity Racing
DNFAndreas Goeman (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions
DNFLen Dejonghe (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers
DNFUgo Ananie (Fra) Cross Team Legendre
DNFDolf Pemen (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT
DNFYdris Salomez (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT


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