Stultiens Battles Van Loy, Breaks Away in Technical Sections
Although Ellen Van Loy (Telenet-Fidea) appeared to dictate the early race at the 2015 Sudal Classic at Leuven, it was Sabrina Stultiens (Rabo-Liv) and a late surge that won the day in the Women’s Elite Race. Van Loy had to settle for second while Jolien Verschueren (Telenet-Fidea) took third.
Sanne Cant was slotted to start with a designated number one to pin on her jersey, but it seemed the cold that she has been fighting against got the better of her.
As per usual, Van Loy started the race at the front after a vicious holeshot while American Elle Anderson (Kalas – NNOF Cycling Team) stayed close to the front with Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea). in the early goings, Verschueren undertook a turn on one of the flatter segments of the course, and although she recovered quickly, Anderson behind her was caught up in the chaos.
Van der Poel Solos to Victory After Slow Start, Meeusen Takes Three-Man Sprint for Second
Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP Powerplus) didn’t have the best start in a race where a single line dominated over half the course, but that didn’t prevent him from winning alone at the 2015 Soudal Classic. Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) sat fourth place (last in the chase group) coming into the final turn, but after a bold attack that would force a long sprint, he was able to take second with Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) following close for third.
At the start of the race, Dieter Sweeck (Corendon – Kwadro) took the holeshot, which was more important than a usual course as the front half of the Soudal Classic forces riders into a single line of traffic. He was able to maintain his pole position for over a lap. Mathieu van der Poel weaved through riders on the back end of the first lap and worked his way to the front with Meeusen. When Dieter Sweeck attempted to match their pace, he bobbled and slid across the narrow lane of the course.
Sven Nys, meanwhile, crossed the line 11 seconds back after the first lap, and all throughout the second lap, his back wheel slid out in the mud, forcing him to unclip to recover at least three times in the lap.
Laurens Sweeck (Corendon – Kwadro) made a move to the front of the race, and was the first rider to successfully ride up a brutal run-up that came after an 180 degree turn after a sharp descent. Sweeck used this to press his advantage, while Van der Poel, Meeusen, Philipp Walsleben, and Pauwels were the only riders to chase.
With six laps to go, Van der Poel suffered a front flat, but was extremely lucky as he was not far from the pits and only needed to spend the next lap to reach back to the chase group. By that time, Meeusen had separated himself from the chasers and found the wheel of Sweeck.
Not to be outdone, Van der Poel and Pauwels took turns pushing the chase pace, and were able to catch the leaders by four laps to go. Van der Poel attacked nearly a full lap later, and created a large gap from the rest of the group while Walsleben fell back. The 20-year-old was able to maintain his lead, only letting up just before the finish. Sweeck, who had spent much of the race at the front pulling riders, was unable to match the sprinting prowess of Meeusen and Pauwels, and was forced to resign himself to fourth.
Stay tuned for Full Results.