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Completing an excellent performance, Vantornout dropped his rivals on the penultimate lap and held off his teammate Pauwels to win the Superprestige race in Gavere; Nys finished third after a great comeback

Photo: John de Jong

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16.11.2014 @ 16:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Klaas Vantornout again showed that he excels in muddy, hard races when he took a beautiful solo win in the Superprestige race in Asper-Gavere. With a strong attack on the penultimate lap, he dropped his Sunweb teammate Kevin Pauwels and Tom Meeusen, with the former making it a 1-2 for the team. Sven Nys made a great comeback after a disastrous start to finish third and take the overall lead in the series.

 

Having seen several different riders in big races in recent weeks, Klaas Vantornout finally broke the drought when he won today’s hard, muddy Superprestige race in Asper-Gavere. Having looked like the strongest rider for most of the race, the Belgian held off his rivals on the final lap to take a beautiful solo win.

 

After the first few laps, a front quintet with Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels, Tom Meeusen, overall leader Mathieu van der Poel and Philip Walsleben had formed. After a strong start where he had briefly led the race solo, van der Poel was dropped and Walsleben also lost contact with the leaders, making it a three-rider battle for the win.

 

Vantornout always looked like the strongest rider and repeatedly dropped his rivals in the hardest sections. However, he always seemed to be waiting for them and at the start of the penultimate lap, the trio were still together.

 

On the long second climb, Vantornout made his move and as he quickly opened a big gap, he left no one doubting that he was the strongest rider in the race. Pauwels and Meeusen were left to battle for second and it seemed that the latter had come out on top when he dropped the Sunweb rider. However, Meeusen made a costly mistake that saw him getting passed by Pauwels who made it a 1-2 for Sunweb.

 

The story of the day was Sven Nys who got the race off to a disastrous start. At the end of the second lap, he was not even in the top 20 and seemed to be completely out of the battle for the top positions.

 

However, he started to move up and lap after lap he reduced his deficit to the leaders. In the end, however, he ran out of steam but importantly he managed to pass both Lars van der Haar and van der Poel, his main rivals in the overall standings.

 

On the final lap, he benefited from Meeusen’s travails and he managed to pass the Telenet rider just before the finishing straight. Hence, his great comeback allowed him to finish on the podium in a race whose muddy course suited him really well.

 

In the end, it ended as a good day for Nys and he managed to take the lead in the Superprestige standings. He now leads van der Poel by 2 points while van der Haar and Vantornout are one point further adrift in third. The next race in the series takes place next Sunday in Francorchamps, one day after the World Cup race on the famous sand course in Koksijde.

 

How it unfolded:

Rob Peeters won the opening sprint but he quickly gave room for David van der Poel who led the peloton as they ran up the climb for the first time. However, he was quickly passed by Tom Meeusen whose acceleration strung the peloton completely out.

 

While Meeusen opened a gap, David and Mathieu van der Poel joined forces with Kevin Pauwels to form a chase trio. Meanwhile, Sven Nys had had a disastrous start and found himself far back and outside the top 15.

 

Being able to ride section that many were forced to run, Meeusen extended his advantage over his chasers. Nys was not really moving up and his only consolation was that Lars van der Haar had had an even poorer start.

 

While David van der Poel drifted backwards, Pauwels and Mathieu van der Poel managed to catch Meeusen. At the same time, Klaas Vantornout and Peeters had attacked from the main group and as they entered the finishing straight for the first time, they too had joined the front group.

 

At the passage of the line, the front quintet was more than 5 seconds ahead of a chase trio that consisted of Corne van Kessel, Philip Walsleben, Bart Aernouts and Thijs van Amerongen. The big group with van der Haar and Nys were more than 10 seconds behind.

 

As van der Poels applied the pressure on the second lap, Peeters who had suffered a mechanical, and Vantornout were the first to lose contact. Pauwels also fell off the pace, leaving Meeusen and van der Poel as the leaders of the race. Meanwhile, Walsleben had passed Peeters and he had now joined forces with Vantornout.

 

Sven Vanthourenhout was now in lone pursuit of Walsleben and Vantornout while van der Haar had joined the next group which had also caught Peeters. Surprisingly, Nys was drifting further backwards and he was no longer in the top 20.

 

On the long muddy climb, van der Poel rode away from Meeusen while Vantornout and Walsleben caught Pauwels. However, all five riders came together as they entered the finishing straight at the end of the second lap. At this point, Nys was finally starting to move up and he left his group behind him and had the first chase group with van der Haar, Bart Wellens, van Amerongen, Aernouts and in sight.

 

On the long climb, Meeusen attacked again and dropped all his rivals while Walsleben was left behind. Van der Poel took off in pursuit of the Telenet rider while the Sunweb duo of Pauwels and Vantornout combined forces as the third and fourth riders on the course.

 

The yo-yoing in the front continued as van der Poel rejoined Meeusen while van der Haar had now finally overcome his bad start. The Dutch champion was on his own and started to get closer to Walsleben.

 

Strong chase work by Vantornout made sure that the front quintet was back together as they started the fourth lap. At this point, van der Haar was at 15 seconds while Vanthourenhout and Wellens had lost 27 seconds. Nys was now with Aernouts, van Kessel, van Amerongen and David van der Poel more than 40 seconds behind.

 

On the long climb, it was again evident that Walsleben was the weak link in the front group and he German champion was again left behind due to the hard pressure by van der Poel. The Dutchman managed to split the group and only Vantornout could keep up with him while van der Haar caught Walsleben.

 

Suddenly van der Poel started to suffer and as they went up the next big climb, the Dutchman was dropped by Vantornout. While he drifted back to Meeusen and Pauwels, Nys continued his march forward and he had now caught his teammate Vanthourenhout and Wellens.

 

At the passage of the line, Vantornout was 11 seconds ahead of his chasers and 20 seconds ahead of the van der Haar and Walsleben who were back together. Nys had dropped his two companions and was only 35 seconds back.

 

On the long climb, Meeusen made a great comeback to drop both Pauwels and van der Poel and in a very short time, he bridged the gap to Vantornout. Van der Poel was now fading and was dropped by Pauwels.

 

On the next climb, Meeusen seemed to pay the price for his hard chase but apparently Vantornout slowed down. Both Meeusen and Pauwels rejoined him as they hit the finishing straight.

 

At the passage of the line, the trio were 16 seconds ahead of van der Poel and van der Haar. Nys had caught Walsleben and was only 28 seconds behind.

 

Vantornout seemed to be the strongest rider on the climbs and repeatedly managed to drop Meeusen and Pauwels. However, the Belgian suddenly made a big mistake in a muddy section and drifted back into the third position.

 

Pauwels led the trio across the line to start the penultimate lap with an advantage of 24 seconds over Nys and van der Haar who had dropped van der Poel. The Belgian continued to set the pace for most of the lap and it now appeared that Meeusen was suffering.

 

On the second climb, Vantornout who had always looked like the strongest rider put in a big attack and the Belgian managed to drop both his companions.

 

At the start of the final lap, Vantornout had a gap of 6 seconds over his two chasers. Nys and van der Haar had lost their momentum and were still 22 seconds behind, meaning that they seemed to be out of the battle for the podium spots.

 

On the first climb, Meeusen managed to drop Pauwels but as the Telenet-Fidea captain nearly went down in a crash on the descent, the pair found back together. Vantornout was constantly increasing his advantage and as they hit the second climb, the win seemed to be decided.

 

Meeusen made another big mistake when he tried to ride a section that was too difficult and this caused him to get dropped by Pauwels. Nys was now making his usual late acceleration and left van der Haar behind as he started to get closer to the fading Meeusen.

 

Close to the top of the climb, Nys joined Meeusen. He went straight to the front, trying to drop his rival.

 

Meanwhile, Vantornout maintained his speed and he had plenty of time to celebrate a beautiful solo win. Pauwels made it a 1-2 for Sunweb while Nys managed to distance Meeusen to complete the podium. Van der Haar rolled across the line to round out the top 5 while overall leader van der Poel had to settle for sixth, keeping Walsleben at bay on the finishing straight.

 

Result:

1. Klaas Vantornout

2. Kevin Pauwels

3. Sven Nys

4. Tom Meeusen

5. Lars van der Haar

6. Mathieu van der Poel

7. Philip Walsleben

8. Bart Wellens

9. Sven Vanthourenhout

10. Bart Aernouts

 

Overall standings:

1. Sven Nys 52

2. Mathieu van der Poel 50

3. Lars van der Haar 49

3. Klaas Vantornout 49

5. Kevin Pauwels 48

6. Tom Meeusen 45

7. Corne van Kessel 28

8. Bart Aernouts 24

9. Philip Walsleben 22

10. Jens Adams 20

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