LOENHOUT, Belgium—On a controversial course, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) proved that fortune favors the brave, launching a solo attack from a large group that he was able to hold until the finish, earning himself the win at Azencross, the sixth round of the BPost Bank Trofee series.

Famous for its pump track section and large rollers capable of sending riders airborne if desired, the Azencross course was not favored by racers to wanted to keep their wheels on terra firma.

Youthful exuberance was the order of the day at the start, with Michael Vanthournhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) taking the holeshot, with Tim Merlier (Vastgoedservice / Golden Palace) and Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Murprotec) slotted in behind him.

Wout van Aert (Vastgoedservice / Golden Palace) was the victim of a poor start, and was far back in the field throughout the initial lap.

Not phased by traffic, van Aert and Lars Boom (Astana) both recovered well from poor positioning and worked their way into the top half of the race, jumping from group to group en route to the leaders.

Van Aert was able to connect with the lead group, and while Boom was making progress in joining the leaders, eventually paid for his effort and was seen stretching his back, and eventually falling off the pace.

At the front of the race there was a relative stalemate. As it went in the women’s race early on, the wide open and fast Azencross course led to a large group forming, with no one able to escape.

As the leading group rolled through the start finish on lap three, Matheiu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) decided to stretch his legs and perhaps go for a time bonus and attacked the group, bringing Julien Taramarcaz (ERA Real Estate-Murprotec) with him. Van der Poel was able to roll through the sprint bonus point uncontested and earned an eight second bonus in the BPost Bank Trofee GC.

With the two escapees gaining time on the field, all eyes were on van Aert. With a short effort he was able to go clear of the field and join the leading duo of van der Poel and Taramarcaz.

On such fast course, common knowledge would assume that a split was not meant to be, and the field made quick work of bringing back the trio of Taramarcaz, van Aert and van der Poel.

With van Aert and van der Poel neutralized, there was a momentary lull in the field. This was all the opportunity that Meeusen needed to launch what would be his race winning attack.

With his proven explosiveness and BMX-based bike handling prowess, Meeussen was at home on the Azencross course, and almost instantly had a 15 second gap.

As his gap grew up to 25 seconds, the group behind Meeusen had difficulty organizing. Sunweb-Napoleon Games began to work to bring down the gap for their leader Kevin Pauwels, but the chase group was too large and had too many hangers-on to make any real inroads to Meeusen.

The gap lingered at 16 seconds with two laps to go. Capitalizing on this indecision, Meeusen launched his way over every obstacle available on the course, and his 16-second gap swelled to 30 as he rolled through for the final lap.

With a large gap, Meeusen kept his pace up, and giving the crowd a show, kicking out his Ridley mid-air as much as possible throughout the last lap. He would win with a gap of 18 seconds.

Behind Meeusen, the field began to wind up for the sprint. Sweeck launched first, but the Vastgoedservice / Golden Palace duo took a page from the book of Etixx-Quickstep with van Aert doing his best Mark Renshaw impression to lead out Merlier. Merlier would finish second, and van Aert would take third in a photo finish.

Not everyone loved the technical, dry course:

Be sure to check out our Elite Women’s race report to see the down-to-the-wire finish, and stay tuned for video highlights.

BPost Bank Trofee Azencross Elite Men's Results

1MEEUSEN TomBEL2755:53:00
2MERLIER TimBEL2356:11:000:18
3VAN AERT WoutBEL2156:11:000:18
4SWEECK LaurensBEL2256:11:000:18
5SIMUNEK RadomirCZE3256:12:000:19
6VERMEERSCH GianniBEL2356:12:000:19
7VAN DER POEL MathieuNED2056:12:000:19
8VAN KESSEL CorneNED2456:13:000:20
9TARAMARCAZ JulienSUI2856:14:000:21
10NYS SvenBEL3956:15:000:22
11VANTHOURENHOUT MichaelBEL2256:16:000:23
12PAUWELS KevinBEL3156:17:000:24
13AERTS ToonBEL2256:17:000:24
14VAN DER HAAR LarsNED2456:18:000:25
15VAN DER POEL DavidNED2356:30:000:37
16BAESTAENS VincentBEL2656:54:001:01
17VAN DEN BRAND TwanNED2656:54:001:01
18SWEECK DietherBEL2256:55:001:02
19DENUWELAERE JanBEL2757:09:001:16
20AERNOUTS JimBEL2657:13:001:20
21VANTHOURENHOUT SvenBEL3457:13:001:20
22PEETERS RobBEL3057:13:001:20
23VAN AMERONGEN ThijsNED2957:32:001:39
24ADAMS JoeriBEL2658:16:002:23
26SWEECK HendrikBEL2358:29:002:36
26WUBBEN NielsNED2759:09:003:16
27VAN LEEUWEN PatrickNED3059:24:003:31
28VANTHOURENHOUT DieterBEL3059:26:003:33
29BOROS MichaelCZE2359:52:003:59
30WALSLEBEN PhilippGER2859:55:004:02
31BOOM LarsNED301:00:004:07
32VAN DEN HAM MichaelCAN231:00:034:10
33DE CLEYN DaveBEL271:00:044:11
34KOYEN NielsBEL241:00:164:23
35SAGESSER SeverinSUI231:00:204:27
36SAMPARISI NicolasITA231:00:314:38
37LIVERMON TravisUSA271:01:075:14
38JAUREGUI QuentinFRA211:01:195:26