(Zonnebeke, Belgium)- If Mathieu van der Poel’s nickname is “The Sniper” for his uncanny ability to pull the trigger on an attack while catching his opponents unawares, his main rival, Wout van Aert, proved this weekend that he could be the Artilleryman, winning a battle even before any toe-to-toe fighting could begin.
Military metaphors aside, Van Aert made his decisive move in the first lap of Kasteelcross Zonnebeke against a stacked Belgium field, which included the recently crowned national champion, Klaas Vantornout. This is a course that allows for early breakaways and commanding leads, as also proven last year by Nys’s dominating performance in the 2014 race on his new Trek bike. Van Aert continued a solo ride, gapping the field, and taking a win by well more than a minute over second place Vantornout.
Tim Merlier, who took seventh in the Belgian National Championship, rounded out the podium in third, outkicking Rob Peeters at the line.
Belgian living in America, Ben Berden, tested his legs against his fellow countrymen, and took 19th. The current Canadian National Champion, Mike Garrigan, likely preparing for his shot at Worlds, was also in the fray, and received 32nd.
In the other C2 race in Europe, the Cyclo-cross International de Nommay in France, Caroline Mani and Lucie Chainel-Lefevre battled tooth and nail all race, with the Rabobank rider creating late separation and beating the Raleigh Clement rider by 19 seconds for first.
After Francis Mourey had a disappointing French National Championship showing, he took a win in Nommay by a half-minute, with French National Champion Clément Lhotellerie coming in seventh.
2015 Kasteelcross Zonnebeke, Men's Elite Race
|1||Wout VAN AERT||BEL||21||1:05:01|
|10||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL||27||1:08:51|
|12||Tom VAN DEN BOSCH||BEL||30||1:09:22|
|13||Yorben VAN TICHELT||BEL||21||1:10:14|
|24||Dave DE CLEYN||BEL||27|
|27||Pieter VAN ROOSBROECK||BEL||19|
|33||Bert DE WISPELAERE||BEL||33|