Vantornout pulls away late to win Hansgrohe Superprestige
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vantornout pulls away late to win Hansgrohe Superprestige

by Kyle Moore at 1:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
Wyman dominates in Ruddervoorde with three Brits in top four

Klaas VantornoutKlaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) took a few seconds on the final lap to get enough distance on world champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea), winning the opening round of the Superprestige cyclocross series in Ruddervoorde, Belgium.

Nys stayed ahead of Meeusen for second place, with the Telenet-Fidea rider rounding out the all-Belgium podium. After leading earlier in the race, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) drifted to fifth, behind Lars van der Haar (Rabobank), the winner of the first two elite men’s World Cup rounds.

Vantornout was vigilant throughout a race that periodically swung in the favour of several different riders. On a course that contained mud, run-ups, bunny hops, cobbles, and sand, Vantornout went cleanly through the final lap to open a few seconds of lead. He pushed his running pace through some muddy, winding runs, while Meeusen slipped and slid just behind, losing a little ground and catching up Nys behind him.

Nys had minor issues of his own, overcooking on a hotdog turn and delaying his chase on the final lap. He was able to eventually get around Meeusen, but Vantornout was too far ahead with not enough race left, and the Crelan-KDL rider settled for second.

"Fantastic. After my Belgian title, this is my finest victory," Vantornout enthused afterward. "In front of my own people, close to home, it was very enjoyable with all the spectators. I won here exactly ten years ago as a junior, a victory that I still cherish. And now I've won here with the elite riders.

"I felt very good from the start, much better than yesterday in Tabor. I immediately put the race in my hands and kept adding pressure. I knew I was the fastest through some of the loops [on the last lap], and after that it was just the crucial sandbox, but apparently I had enough speed there too. After that, it was just enjoyment to the finish. Now I have my beautiful victory and I can continue with peace of mind."

How the Superprestige opener played out:

It was a long sprint to the first right-hander, and Vantornout won the race to it, ahead of ‘Hole-Shot’ van der Haar and Nys. Meeusen and Thijs Van Amerongen (AA Drink) were bumping shoulders early, with the Telenet-Fidea rider winning the battle for the spot. The positions after the first turn held for most of the first lap, with Vantornout extending a little on van der Haar and Nys.

Meeusen was the fourth man in line, already opening a small gap to fifth place. Finishing the first lap, Vantornout was looking back for the first time, seeking someone to come through. His quartet had built a small advantage over Albert, who was pushing hard by himself in fifth, five seconds behind. Team-mates Van Amerongen and Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) were chasing just behind, along with Julien Taramarcaz (BMC).

Nys obliged Vantornout to begin lap two. The Belgian nearly muffed a bunny hop, placed directly at a left-hand bend, but kept his chain attached and kept going. Albert was nearly up to the four in the lead, extending the gap between fifth and sixth place. Beginning the third lap, five were together, in Nys, Vantornout, van der Haar, Meeusen, and Albert. A second group of five was fifteen seconds behind, in Aernouts, Van Amerongen, Philip Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus), Wietse Bosmans (BKCP-Powerplus), and Marcel Meisen (Kwadro-Stannah).

Having recovered from his chase to get back on, Albert came through for his turn in the lead. Behind, Twan Van den Brand (Orange Babies), Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea), and Taramarcaz were the next men over the line, at a half-minute back.

Meeusen was struggling to hold the front group after slipping his chain off on the same bunny hop on which Nys had struggled earlier. Albert was pulling out a little gap on van der Haar and the rest. He checked under his shoulder as lap four began, and he continued to push the tempo with an eight-second lead. The gap went out just a bit more on the early portion of lap four, as Meeusen made it back to the chasing group again. Vantornout led the chasers around the Ruddervoorde course, keeping rival Albert within striking distance. The quartet was still eight seconds behind Albert over the start-finish line with the race half over.

The other chasers had dropped further back, as Aernouts, Van Amerongen, and Peeters were 31 ticks slower, and Meisen operating a little further behind. Ahead, Vantornout had stamped on the gas, nearly catching Albert, while Nys and Meeusen were a little further back, and the high of the previous two weekend races was catching up to the Dutchman van der Haar.

Albert briefly pinched off Vantornout on a hotdog turn over flattened beer cups, and Albert rode the sand section as Vantornout ran behind him. Nys began his charge, making extremely quick work of his gap to the leaders, while Meeusen and van der Haar both struggled to keep pace. With lap six underway, Nys had made the lead group a trio, and since they had briefly sat up, Meeusen caught up as well. van der Haar was still chasing, as were Aernouts, Van Amerongen, and Peeters. Nys accelerated into the lap, dropping Meeusen once again. Albert was the next man to struggle, losing ground to Nys and Vantornout. Meeusen came around the former world champion, as they teamed up to try and keep Nys and Vantornout close.

van der Haar’s efforts were beginning to pay off a little, as he closed in on Meeusen and Albert. With two laps left, Meeusen had pulled away a little from Albert and van der Haar. It wasn’t long before Meeusen was back with Nys and Vantornout, and as the pace fluctuated, so did Albert behind the group. Albert fell back for good as the final lap began, as Vantornout kicked mud out of his cleat.

The last lap was a three-man showdown, as Albert and van der Haar came together more than ten seconds behind. Vantornout was pacing the trio up front with Meeusen just hanging on. The Sunweb-Napoleon Games rider seemed to make his move without using his pedals, as he lengthened his stride through some muddy run-arounds. Meeusen slipped several times in his attempt to chase, losing ground and trapping Nys behind him. The cagey world champion maintained his composure, until he misplayed a sharp left-hander and lost ground to both Meeusen and Vantornout. Vantornout was holding a four-second lead over Meeusen, with more of the lap gone before Nys could make his way back to the Telenet-Fidea rider.

Nys finally powered around him and opened up his chase, but Vantornout was cleanly through the sandy section for the final time, holding six seconds onto the pavement into the finishing stretch.

Vantornout had plenty of time to throw up his arms and celebrate his Superprestige series lead, with Nys and Meeusen over shortly thereafter.


Helen Wyman gets her Superprestige started right:

It was a Great Britain one-two on Sunday in the Hansgrohe Superprestige in Ruddervoorde, Belgium, and it was nearly a British one-two-three. Helen Wyman (Kona) bounced back from a tough outing in Saturday’s World Cup round to take the first Superprestige victory of the season.

Wyman won ahead of Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea), who got consecutive runner-up finishes for the weekend. Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) edged Gabby Durrin (Rapha-Focus) on the line for third, just preventing three countrywomen from taking the podium together.

Both Wyman and Harris rode in solo, with Cant outsprinting Durrin at 48 seconds behind the winner. Ellen Van Loy (Melbotech Prorace CT) was fifth.

Wyman got the top result after taking a disappointing eleventh in the World Cup round two on Saturday in Tabor.

“I had a really bad day,” Wyman said of that race. “On a course like that, in those circumstances, you can’t hide it. So it was just necessary to forget it. After the poor performance, I had a chat with my husband and I was feeling much better today, especially on a course with more variety.

“Hopefully I can repeat this in the Koppenbergcross – my Belgian home – this coming Friday. However, I expect that Nikki will be strong there as well.”

It’s the next Bpost bank trofee round where Wyman and Harris will face off again, this Friday on the Koppenberg.

Hansgrohe Superprestige – Ruddervoorde – Elite Men’s Brief Results:

1, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games)
2, Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL)
3, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea)
4, Lars van der Haar (Rabobank)
5, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)
6, Bart Aernouts (AA Drink)
7, Thijs Van Amerongen (AA Drink)
8, Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea)
9, Marcel Meisen (Kwadro-Stannah)
10, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games)

Hansgrohe Superprestige – Ruddervoorde – Elite Women’s Brief Results:

1, Helen Wyman (Kona) in 42’36”
2, Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) at 27”
3, Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) at 48”
4, Gabby Durrin (Rapha-Focus) in s.t.
5, Ellen Van Loy (Melbotech Prorace CT) at 1’49”

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