Vantornout takes his first season win in Superprestige Middelkerke
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vantornout takes his first season win in Superprestige Middelkerke

by Bjorn Haake at 11:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
Belgian rides home solo in one of the last important races of the season

Klaas Vantornout took his first season win when he rode solo into the finish in the Superprestige Middelkerke, Belgium. Sven Nys was sixth, but had already secured the overall win, his tenth in his career. More interesting was the battle for second overall, where Kevin Pauwels confirmed his second place and Zdenek Stybar rode Niels Albert off the third spot.

Vantornout finally came through at the end of a long season. "I had a lot of ups and downs this year. Probably more downs, though," he told Belgian TV after the race. His manager, who had criticized the whole team earlier in the season, hugged him right after the finish line. For the Sunweb team, things were looking a bit better in the second part of the cyclocross year.

Third-placed Bart Wellens said beforehand that the course didn't suit him and in the beginning it looked it. "The first three to four laps did not go so well." But he battled hard to get to third place. "This is enormous," he said after the race.

Pauwels with 78 points, Albert with 75 and Stybar with 74 had the second podium spot in mind. Pauwels finished second in the race, so kept his second overall. But Stybar finished two places ahead of Albert, giving the Czech rider a one-point lead and third place over Albert in the final ranking.

A twisty parcours

Pauwels, Sven Vanthourenhout and Stybar gave it full gas right from the gun. The trio was followed by most of the favorites, including Albert, Nys, and Vantornout. The most interesting in the opening laps was the battle between Pauwels and Sven Vanthourenhout for the pole position. Pauwels was always trying to pass his compatriot on the inside, with Vanthourenhout zig-zagging in an interesting manner.

By the fourth lap, the chase group had caught the front trio, with Vantornout attacking and getting a good gap. Nys and Pauwels jumped in lap six, chasing the lone leader Vantornout. Albert and Stybar were battling behind and with each other for the overall third place.

With two laps to go, Pauwels was half a minute behind Vantornout. Nys had dropped back to the chase, 40 seconds behind the leader. Albert was a few seconds back, trying to catch the Nys-Stybar group again.

Heading into the last lap, Vantornout had about 20 seconds on Pauwels and half a minute on Bart Wellens, who had used a timely move to be on his way to third. Stybar and Tom Meeusen were chasing a few meters behind, with Nys and then Albert close behind.

Results SP Middelkerke

1. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb)
2. Kevin Pauwels (Fidea)
3. Bart Wellens (Fidea)
4. Tom Meeusen (Fidea)
5. Zdenek Stybar (Fidea)
6. Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet)
7. Niels Albert (BKPC Powerplus)
8. Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKPC Powerplus)
9. Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb)
10 Jan Denuwelaere

Final overall ranking SP

1. Sven Nys 107 points
2. Kevin Pauwels 92
3. Zdenek Stybar 85
4. Niels Albert 84
5. Bart Wellens 77
6. Klaas Vantornout 62
7. Tom Meeusen 56
8. Bart Aernouts 53
9. Gerben de Knegt 42

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