Klaas Vantornout, shown here at Hoogstraten, rode perfectly today for the win at Middelkerke © Bart Hazen
MIDDELKERKE, BELGIUM – Belgian National Champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napolean Games) played a tactically perfect race today, covering the early moves and then attacking a select group containing Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), World Champion Sven Nys, and an impassioned Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea). Vantornout chose perhaps the best feature of the course to make his move, slotting into the lead position just before a tricky berm that led into a 90-degree turn on deep sand. Throughout the race, this section had bottle-necked the riders, and Vantornout laid down the power as Meeusen struggled to respond, opening up a significant gap that ballooned to nearly 30 seconds by the last lap. The gap was more than enough to give Vantornout plenty of time to enjoy another win in what has been a very successful season.
World Champion Sven Nys had a difficult race, looking uncomfortable as he continuously sat up to stretch his back, and consistently floated at the rear of the lead group. A crash on the final lap ended his chances of contesting the podium, leaving Albert and Meeusen to sprint it out for second, with Albert coming out on top. Nys followed a few moments later, but not before allowing Bart Aernouts to sprint around him as the World Champion sat up to again stretch his back. Nys was not worried about Aernouts, as his fifth place was enough to secure his 12th overall Superprestige victory, with a seven point lead over Niels Albert.
“I had to race today on character,” said Nys, via Sporza. “The will was there, but I lacked the freshness and I made mistakes. I fall in the last round, due to lack of concentration and also because I knew it was inside [the Superprestige overall victory].” On winning a twelfth overall Superprestige title, Nys said, “I think I’m a deserved winner. I won five of the eight crosses. I scored high in all classifications. Such regularity was rewarded with a World title this year.”
“It is fantastic to close the season with a win in my own region,” said Vantornout. “In the beginning I had trouble with Albert, but I was definitely the best today. Otherwise I would not have gotten away from the rest. After Christmas, I surprisingly took another step forward. “
“Klaas deserved to win,” said Meeusen, who surely deserves the most aggressive ride of the day, “but I am now the happiest rider. It has been a very difficult season so far, and I heard among the crowd to fight for victory. I have shown the people I can handle this level, that I belong here. This confirmation was necessary for me. This gives courage for it again to go into the summer. “
2013 Superprestige Middelkerke Elite Men Results
|16||Gerben DE KNEGT||NED||1:06:51|
|18||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED||1:07:12|
|20||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||1:07:30|
|21||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL||1:07:36|
|28||Micki VAN EMPEL||NED||1:09:26|
|30||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||1:10:23|