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Belgian champion gets rid of the world champion and Meeusen by acceleration on the final lap and keeps his pace all the way to the finish line to take the first win in the Superprestige series

Photo: Feltet.dk

KLAAS VANTORNOUT

NEWS

SUPERPRESTIGE

NEWS

TOM MEEUSEN

RIDER PROFILE
|
NEWS
27.10.2013 @ 17:38 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Klaas Vantornout got his quest to win the Superprestige series off to a perfect start when the Belgian won the opening race on the technical circuit in Ruddervoorde. Having joined "Mr. Superprestige" Sven Nys and Tom Meeusen to form a front trio, he made an acceleration on the final lap and maintained the pace all the way to the finish to take a beautiful solo win.

 

Last year Klaas Vantornout proved that he had taken the final step to join the cyclo-cross elite when he won the highly prestigious Belgian championships. The next step in his career is to win one of the three season-long series - the World Cup, the Bpost Bank Trofee and the Superprestige - and today he got his quest to take the Superprestige title off to a perfect start.

 

Vantornout had struggled a bit in the recent races which were held on fast, dry courses but today the cross scene had returned to the classical, technical circuit in Ruddervoorde. This suited the Belgian champion well while double world cup winner Lars van der Haahr found it less to his liking.

 

While van der Haahr and Kevin Pauwels were now on the back foot, the race evolved into a battle between Vantornout, Niels Albert, Tom Meeusen and Sven Nys. Albert used up a lot of energy in a solo attempt and so was the first to fall off when Vantornout started to show his strength in the final part of the race.

 

When the riders started the final lap, Vantornout, Nys and Meeusen were still together but Vantornout had shown in the last few laps that he was the strongest rider in the race. When Nys showed signs on weakness by allowing Meeusen to get into second position, Vantornout put down the hammer and rode away from his rivals.

 

Nys had enough energy to make one final quest to get back to the Belgian champion but it was too late. Vantornout took a beautiful solo win and so became the first leader of the Superprestige series while Mr. Superprestige Nys - overall winner of the series no less than 12 times - had to settle for 2nd ahead of Meeusen.

 

The next round of the series will take place next Sunday in Zonhoven.

 

Vantornout starts fast

As it is often the case, Klass Vantornout won the battle for the front position when the peloton set off. With Sven Nys and Lars van der Haahr on his wheel, the Belgian champion took the initiative in the early part of the first lap and he quickly gapped the rest of the peloton.

 

Behind, van der Haahr, Nys and Tom Meeusen set off in pursuit while Niels Albert was leading the peloton. Kevin Pauwels had a terrible start and was riding near the back of the peloton but had little room to move up in the strung-out group.

 

Vantornout gets company

Van der Haahr was riding really well in the sand section and managed to sprint across to Vantornout with Nys and Meeusen on his wheel. At the first passage of the finish line, those four riders were 5 seconds ahead of Albert who was being chased by Bart Aerouts and Thijs van Amerongen while Julien Taramarcaz led the remainder of the peloton. At this early point in the race, Pauwels was already more than 30 seconds behind.

 

On the second lap, Nys moved to the front with van der Haahr on his wheel and the world champion started to put his rivals under pressure. "Mr. Superprestige" was clearly feeling better than he did in yesterday's World Cup in Tabor and Meeusen was now hanging on for dear life. Behind, Martin Bina and Philip Walsleben had joined Aernouts and van Amerongen in the small group that was in pursuit of Albert.

 

Nys shows his technical skills

Nys' fast pace had momentarily put both Vantornout and Meeusen in difficulty but van der Haahr was always well-positioned on his wheel. The world champion took a small breather which allowed Albert to bridge across but when they hit the sand section, Nys showed his superior technical skills. He gapped his companions and van der Haahr had to dig deep to get back to the world champion. Vantornout and Meeusen also made the junction while Albert was now once again struggling a few metres behind.

 

As they hit the finishing straight, Nys slowed down which allowed Albert to rejoin the front group while Walsleben, Bina, Aernouts and van Amerongen were now 12 seconds behind. As Nys slowed down on the next lap, Albert took over on the front while the chase group was getting a bit closer to the leaders and had been joined by Radomir Simunek.

 

Albert goes off on his own

Albert significantly upped the pace and as Meeusen was forced to run up a climb, the Belgian lost contact with the leaders. He quickly lost much ground but managed to recover and gradually edged closer to the front as the neared the end of the lap.

 

Just before they hit the finishing straight, Meeusen rejoined the front group. At the same time, Nys briefly slowed down and so Albert was allowed to go off the front. As they passed the line, he was 10 seconds ahead of his chasers while Bina, van Amerongen and Aernouts were 10 seconds further adrift.

 

Vantornout leads the chase

With Nys having dropped a bit back in the chase group, the pace-setting was now left to van der Haahr but Albert had now opened up a massive gap. Halfway through the lap, Vantornout took over while Meeusen was still doing his best just to hang on.

 

At the next passage of the line, Vantornout's hard work had paid dividends as the gap to Albert was now only 7 seconds. The Belgian champion gesticulated to his champion as he tried to get some assistance but no one was intent on providing him ay help. Meanwhile, Bina had been dropped from the trio of chasers but had been replaced by Rob Peeters who had been moving up through the field.

 

Vantornout in lone pursuit

Vantornout was by now clearly the strongest in the chase group and the Belgian champion rode away from his companions in the first part of the next lap. While he gradually got closer to Albert, Meeusen was now leading the chasers from which van der Haahr had been dropped.

 

Halfway through the lap, Vantornout joined Albert to form a front duo. Meanwhile, Nys was now riding hard in the sand section as he tried to get across to the leaders. Meeusen was unable to keep up with the world champion and in a matter of seconds he had closed the gap to Albert and Vantornout.

 

Meeusen rejoins the leaders

The front trio briefly looked at each other until Vantornout hit the front and started to accelerate. Meeusen had benefited from the short standstill and was not far behind the leaders. At the next passage of the finish line, the trio was only 2 seconds ahead of Meeusen while van der Haahr was 8 seconds further adrift. Van Amerongen, Peeters and Aernouts still formed the next group while Bina, Walsleben and Twan van den Brand were the next riders to cross the line.

 

Meeusen got back to the front group but when Nys hit the front and started to accelerate, the Belgian once again got dropped. Albert was now also tiring and on a hard run-up, the Belgian lost contact with Nys and Vantornout.

 

Vantornout tries to shake Nys

While Vantornout hit the front to try to put Nys under pressure, Meeusen caught Albert and the two Belgians combined forces in their quest to reel in the world and Belgian champions. However, Albert was now paying the price for his solo ride and he was struggling just to keep up with Meeusen.

 

Vantornout applied the pressure all the way through the lap but was unable to get rid of Nys. As they started the penultimate lap, Meeusen was only 2 seconds while Albert was 5 seconds further adrift. Van der Haahr was 17 seconds behind while Pauwels had gradually moved up and was now riding with van den Brand in around 10th position.

 

A front trio is formed

Meeusen joined the front duo just as Nys hit the front. The world champion was, however, not completely committed to his pace-setting and so Vantornout was quickly back in charge. Meanwhile, Albert was doing his best as he tried to rejoin the leaders.

 

Vantornout's acceleration put Meeusen in difficulty but he was unable to shake Nys. As they hit the finishing straight for the penultimate time, Vantornout briefly had a problem with his pedal which allowed Meeusen to rejoin the leaders. At the pasage of the line, Albert - who had now been joined by van der Haahr - was 17 seconds behind.

 

Vantornout makes the winning move

Vantornout set the pace as they started the final lap while Nys allowed Meeusen to move into 2nd position. That proved to be an unwise decision as the Telenet rider was unable to keep up with the Belgian champion. In a matter of seconds, Vantornout had opened up a big gap to his two companions and Nys now appeared to be tired from a hard race.

 

The world champion was struggling to keep up with Meeusen but just before the sand section, he found the energy for one final acceleration. He dropped his companion but the gap to Vantonout was too big. The Belgian champion could afford to ride the final part of the lap without taking any risks and crossed the line in solo fashion to take a beautiful win. Nys finished 2nd with a time loss of while Meeusen took third. Van der Haahr dropped Albert on the final lap and ended his winning streak by taking 4th while Albert held off Aernouts and van Amerongen to take 5th. Peeters, Bina and Pauwels completed the top 10.

 

Result:

1. Klaas Vantornout

2. Sven Nys

3. Tom Meeusen

4. Lars van der Haahr

5. Niels Albert

6. Bart Aernouts

7. Thijs van Amerongen

8. Rob Peeters

9. Marcel Meisen

10. Kevin Pauwels

 

Overall Superprestige standings:

1. Klaas Vantornout 15

2. Sven Nys 14

3. Tom Meeusen 13

4. Lars van der Haahr 12

5. Niels Albert 11

6. Bart Aernouts 10

7. Thijs van Amerongen 9

8. Rob Peeters 8

9. Marcel Meisen 7

10. Kevin Pauwels 6

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