Cant Stop, Won’t Stop
Tomorrow will host the last race in the Superprestige Series, round eight at Noordzeecross Middelkerke. The Elite Women is the only field of the four categories that do not have an overall points total. In one sense, this gives tomorrow’s race a winner take all feel that will add to the suspense. On the other hand, this undervalues Sanne Cant’s incredible performance in this series all season long, despite battling sickness in December.
The entirety of the Junior race at Noordzeecross Middelkerke will be a victory lap for the Belgian, Eli Iserbyt. He has succeeded in winning all of the last seven rounds, and his closest competitor, Johan Jacobs of Switzerland, is well over 15 points behind. Translation: Even if Iserbyt is unable to finish the race, he will still walk away the overall winner.
The U23 race will also be a competition for pride, as Michael Vanthourenhout has the overall series locked up. The interesting contention here is that Vanthourenhout only has one win to his name during the 2014-15 Superprestige Series, a victory at Diegem in December. Because Laurens Sweeck did not finish at Spa-Francorchamps, a stage made famous stateside in the Junior race because of Gage Hecht’s performance, he is out of contention for the overall series win.
Four Elite Men Enter with High Hopes
The Men’s Elite Race has the most factors still in play for a chance at the overall win, with four riders still in tight competition.
World Champion Mathieu van der Poel sits two points ahead of his next competitor, overall World Cup winner Kevin Pauwels. The young Dutchman will certainly be the favorite to take the individual race as well if his performance in 2015 thus far has any say in the matter. His main rival, Wout van Aert, did not compete in the Men’s Elite race until last week, whereas Van der Poel has been racing the series since the start, with three victories to his name.
Lars van der Haar, who couldn’t defend his Dutch or World Cup jersey this year, has 87 points, five behind the leader, and he will certainly look for a statement win to give him a major series to stand behind this season.
Like last year, Tom Meeusen stands at the periphery, with a small chance of taking the overall win if all the cards go his way. Unlike last year, he battled against veterans Niels Albert and Sven Nys, both of who drew the full series to a tie. Nys comes into tomorrow sixth, but out of contention for the overall win.
Stay tuned tomorrow for race reports and results on cxmagazine.com.