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"After one lap I really got a good feeling. Then I looked for my pace and rode away from the rest. Today I did not really attack. I just looked at myself and am happy that I got the good feeling back."

Photo: photopress.be

CYCLO-CROSS

NEWS

WOUT VAN AERT

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
01.01.2016 @ 19:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout Van Aert denied Sven Nys the dream farewell at his home race, the GP Sven Nys in Baal, as the youngster turned out to be in a class of his own on the muddy course in Nys’ home city. The youngster got away already in the third lap and delivered a dominant solo performance throughout the rest of the race to take another victory in the Bpost Bank Trofee series. Nys was the best of the rest, with Toon Aerts taking a surprise third place. Van Aert extended his overall lead with just one race left in the 8-race series.

 
Below you can read reactions from winner Wout Van Aert, third-placed Toon Aerts and fourth-placed Michael Vanthourenhout. You can find a reaction from Sven Nys here.
 
Wout Van Aert (winner)

Wout Van Aert was very pleased after his fifteenth win of the season as the result also allowed him to claim the overall victory of the Bpost Bank Trofee with one race still remaining. "It's nice that I already have it in my pocket," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "It's nice that I do not have to worry about it after the Worlds. It's the second year in a row that I can approach the final race in a relaxed way.

 

In Baal, no one was even close to Van Aert who dropped his rivals in the third lap and extended his lead lap after lap. There were no signs of the illness which had hampered him in Heusden-Zolder and Diegem. "After one lap I really got a good feeling. Then I looked for my pace and rode away from the rest. Today I did not really attack. I just looked at myself and am happy that I got the good feeling back."

 

Van Aert has dominated all season and thanks to his victory today he is even more of a favorite for the national championships in his home city of Lille next week. "Last year I was also the big favorite but on the day the outcome was not good. A Belgian Championships race is a different competition and the course is also not entirely comparable to that of today where I could express my strengths. Unfortunately, there are no difficult climbs and the course is sandy. The Belgian Championships is a quick race. Everything will be closer and of course I will have a lot of my supporters who will cheer me on."

 

It was the last time that Sven Nys did his own Grand Prix and Van Aert also noted the supporters. "It was fantastic, especially when I was riding close to Nys. I must also thank the audience because I got a few sporting encouragements too.

 

Toon Aerts (third)

Toon Aerts (22) took his first podium place on Belgian soil. This year the rider of the Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team has made the step from the U23 to the elite ranks and won the race in Bensheim, Germany, and with a third place in Baal he has now achieved his his first podium at home.

 

In the finale, Aerts joined the duo Sven-Vanthournhout and eventually secured the third spot on the podium. He lost the sprint for second place to Sven Nys, his future employer. "I made a mistake in the end," he admitted to Het Nieuwsblad. "I should not have changed my bike. That took time and I had to dig deep into my reserves to catch Sven again. In the sprint I came up short. Now, well, those are lessons that Sven can soon teach me."

 

"I have great respect for Nys. When you know he be your teacher next year, it's wonderful. I'm a first-year pro and do not have the experience. Those are things I can learn next year. Tonight I will go through that last lap a few times and next time I will have the courage not to change and let Nys ride away."

 

"I'm happy with this third place," he continued. "I've been in good form for a couple of weeks but it surprises me a bit because I didn't feel very good during the warm-up and the first lap was also tough but in the end it went better and I rejoined the Nys group and I just gave it everything."

 

With his third place, Aerts also applied for a spot in the selection of national coach Rudy De Bie for the Worlds in late January. Last week he was eleventh in Heusden-Zolder. "I can certainly do my part," he said. "Riders who are good on a difficult course like today can do a lot at the World Championships in Zolder in the long straight sections. It is my goal to be there. I can bring riders to the front when it is needed. That's one of my strengths."

 

 

Michael Vanthourenhout (fourth)

For most of the race, Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) looked like hi would finish on the podium in Baal for his new sponsor, but the youngster thought there was another lap left and returned too late to Sven Nys and Toon Aerts to do the sprint. He had to settle for fourth place.

 

Vanthournhout is clearly completely recovered from his illness and rode constantly at the front in Baal. "I often choose a fast start, and I did so again today," he told Het Nieuwsblad "On a muddy course I'm at my best and I felt good. I rode on the front in my group for most of the time but unfortunately not in the final lap," he added. "I thought there was another lap to go. I thought I could close the gap to Sven and Aerts along the way. It was too late when I realized that the race was over. It's s shame as I think the podium was possible."

 

On Friday evening, Vanthourenhout will travel to Cologne, Germany, where he and Kevin Pauwels who was suffering from a sore back and could only manage 10th in Baal, will take a plane to Mallorca on Saturday for a five-day training camo.  "The condition is already good," he said, "but I hope there still get a few percent to gain. I really want someone from our team to win the national title in Lille and I hope to be able to do my part."

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