RUDDERVOORDE, Belgium – Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea) held off Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP_Powerplus), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) to claim the victory in a four-way sprint at the 2014 Hansgrohe Superprestige Ruddervoorde.
Meeusen looked strong from the get-go, taking to the front of the race early on. The Telet rider remained within the first five positions thorough the race’s entirety before a well timed move early in the tenth round sealed the deal.
The few seconds advantage gained by Meeusen all but evaporated in the last moments of the race, as the leaders hit the sand pit for the last time. Vantornout nearly managing to edge by, but Meeusen would not relinquish, holding his position, turning onto the tarmac first and out-sprinting his rivals for the win.
Meeusen and Lars van der Haar (Giant Shimano Development Team) took an early lead with van der Haar claiming the holeshot and Meeusen pushing through to drive the pace. Vantornout was next to latch on, making the catch in the second lap as they hit the sand. Several seconds back in seventh position, van der Poel took a nose dive as he attempted to negotiate the sand, dropping off the pace initially, but the young Dutch rider spring-boarded back to contention with the help of teammate Phillip Walsleben and then Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Cycling Team).
By mid-race eight riders made up the lead group with Meeusen, Vantornout, van der Haar, and Nys being joined by van der Poel, Pauwels, Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea) and Jens Adams (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace).
A series of mistakes broke the group apart for a time when first Nys, then Pauwels lost traction, slipping on as series of turns. Pauwels mistake blocked several riders, allowing van der Haar, Vantornout and van Kessel a momentary lead before van Kessel clipped the barriers on a subsequent turn, taking out van der Haar in the process. With two laps to go van der Haar had regained the 16 seconds he had lost to once again make contact with the lead group, but it was too late in the game, managing only to salvage a fifth place finish.
Turning up the pace in the eighth lap was van der Poel, attempting to make a break by surging ahead before the group hit the sand pit. Surprisingly, Nys was conspicuously at the back of the group, possibly attempting to save energy, even trailing behind Adams as the young Belgian began to fall off the pace.
A lap later it was mostly back together with only Nys and Adams trailing by five seconds. Nys made his move toward the front in the waning minutes of the race, but his timing seemed to be off, taking up the rear as Vantornout and van der Poel battled to overtake each other behind Meeusen. Blocked in as the sprint unfolded, Nys soft pedaled across the line for fourth.
2014 Hansgrohe Superprestige Ruddervoorde Elite Men’s Results
|2||Mathieu VAN DER POEL||NED|
|5||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED|
|8||Corne VAN KESSEL||NED|
|16||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED|
|20||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED|
|26||Eddy VAN IJZENDOORN||NED|
|28||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED|
|29||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL|
|33||Kevin VAN HOOVELS||BEL|