The 2017/18 season closes on Sunday at Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle in Belgium. The race not only marks the end of the season, it also serves as a farewell tour for two familiar faces in Klaas Vantornout and Rob Peeters. As the sport has become a game of the young, Vantornout and Peeters have continued to race into their 30s, with Vantornout turning 36 and Peeters 33 this year.
Vantornout and Peeters will both depart from the sport as Worlds podium finishers. Peeters finished second behind Neils Albert in 2012 at Koksijde. He has also been enjoying the tail end of his career with some international racing. Peeters won in China in 2016 and kicked off his last season with an early U.S. start at Rochester, where he finished second and third in the close races won by Stephen Hyde and Kerry Werner.
Vantornout took home silver at Worlds two times. He finished behind Zdenek Stybar in 2010 at Tabor and then took second behind Sven Nys in the thrilling battle in Louisville in 2013. He also won Belgian Nationals twice in 2013 and 2015 after starting his professional career in 2006.
In our team since 1️⃣/3️⃣/2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣8️⃣
🇧🇪 champ in 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣3️⃣ & 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣5️⃣
Vice 🌈 champ in 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣0️⃣ & 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣3️⃣
Winner of 6️⃣ Superprestige races
3️⃣ days to go
Enjoy your last training ride today @KlaasVantornout! pic.twitter.com/rnFWTqVjm3
— Marlux-Bingoal (@MAR_BG_CT) February 23, 2018
Vantornout’s last season has been an up and down affair. He won an EKZ series race earlier in the season and had a few podium near-misses in major-series races. He also suffered a hand injury in a crash at Namur during the holeshot, but returned to race the next week at Zolder.
— Klaas Vantornout (@KlaasVantornout) December 18, 2017
He also finishes with a 19-4 record in the Gingercross rivalry with Stephen Hyde — and based on that story, as a ginger, perhaps his quick return from the hand injury is no surprise.
Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle is being held on Sunday, February 25. The Women’s race is at 7:45 a.m. EST and the Men’s is at 9:00 a.m. EST.