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"I certainly did not get the victory as a gift. On the contrary, it didn’t go well in the beginning and I even crashed. I slipped in just about every corner made many mistakes and then I crashed at the bars."

Photo: UCI

CLEMENT VENTURINI

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CYCLO-CROSS

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KEVIN PAUWELS

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19.11.2016 @ 19:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Laurens Sweeck has taken the win at the GP Hasselt, the fourth round in the Soudal Classics series, after a thrilling race. He was able to hold off Clément Venturini and Corné van Kessel. Kevin Pauwels had to abandon at the midpoint after a crash.

 
We have gathered a few reactions.
 

Sweeck: This win was certainly not a gift

Laurens Sweeck (Era-Circus) took his second win of the season. 

 

"I certainly did not get the victory as a gift," he told Het Nieuwsnlad. "On the contrary, it didn’t go well in the beginning and I even crashed. I slipped in just about every corner made many mistakes and then I crashed at the bars. I asked the people in the pit for some more air in the tubes and that helped." 

It took quite a while before he could close the gap to Corné van Kessel. 

 

"Together with Clément, I made it backto Corné and in the penultimate lap I made my attack because I did not want it to be decided in a sprint. I did not take any additional risks and did not jump the bars because the course got worse lap after lap. With this victory, my weekend is already a succes. I also enjoyed the atmosphere in the final laps. I don’t know whether I will feel the effort on Sunday in Koksijde. Hopefully I can continue my momentum there.”

 

Venturini: I believed in victory

Clément Venturini was the surprise of the day. The young Frenchman chased Corne van Kessel together with Laurens Sweeck and seemed to be the best of the pair. In the end, he lost the victory to Sweeck. 

 

"I am very happy with this second place. At the European Championship I was already good, so my form does not surprise me. I also go to the races in Belgium to become a better rider. It is a high level here." 

 

Along the way he believed in the victory. 

 

"Yes, yes. There was one point where I felt that Laurens was better and he made a difference. He was the best today." 

 

Tomorrow awaits the World Cup in Koksijde. 

 

"Sand is not my thing, but I'll be fine. I will have to recover well," said Venturini.

 

Van Kessel: The win was within reach

Corné van Kessel seemed to be on his way to victory for a while, but the Dutchman finally saw Clément Venturini and Laurens Sweeck getting back. He had to settle for third place. 

 

"I still long animated the race,” he said with satisfaction. "I cannot complain."

 

However, there was still a little disappointment. 

 

"If Laurens and Clément had hesitated a little longer in the pursuit, I might have stayed ahead. Now they worked together and they got back. Laurens showed that he was the strongest in the end. I was hoping for more than third place, but Venturini was just that little bit stronger, so it was a third place.”

 

No major injuries for Kevin Pauwels after crash in Hasselt

Kevin Pauwels, three times winner in Hasselt and eagerly looking for his first win of the season, never made it to the finish. At the midpoint, he crashed after a collision with American Stephen Hyde. 

 

"He hit me in the exit of the pit," said the leader of Marlux-Napoleon Games. "I guess he did not see me. My bike stalled and I hit the ground on the head. It was just a few meters of asphalt and it was hard. I had pain everywhere and my shoe was broken. Then you cannot go any further." 

 

The World Cup race in Koksijde seems not to be jeopardized. "

 

I could be a bit stiff but I do not think I will have a lot of trouble in Koksijde. I am very lucky that I have not broken anything." 

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