Wout van Aert continues to beat the pros, winning his first ever Elite World Cup as a U23. 2014 Koksijde UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Elite Men. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Wout van Aert, shown here early in the season, has struggled to find a win in 2015 over Van der Poel. © Bart Hazen / Cyclocross Magazine

Cant Takes a Narrow Win over Sels

Crashing last weekend with what looked like a painful shoulder injury appears to have little effect on Sanne Cant’s racing performance, who took both wins this weekend, Saturday at Superprestige Middelkerke, and Sunday at G.P. Eeklo.
Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) is out to bookmark her 2014-15 season with a dominating performance in the early season and again at the last month. At Eeklo, Cant was able to get ahead of Loes Sels (Telenet Fidea) by five seconds, and the two riders had created a sizable gap from the rest of the field. Jolien Verschueren came in almost a minute behind to ensure an all Belgian podium.
Aida Nuno Palacio followed in for fourth. The Spanish rider, who is annually the national champion although fell short this year, has been quietly building her reputation with an eighth place finish at Superprestige Spa-Francorchamps and consistent top-25 finishes at World Cup events.
British rider Hannah Payton came in for sixth place, and American rider Christine Vardaros finished 12th.

Wout van Aert Gets First Win in A Month

Wout van Aert, who was the rider to look out for in 2014, has struggled to find wins under the shadow of Mathieu van der Poel in 2015. Both of his victories (G.P. Sven Nys and Kasteelcross Zonnebeke) have come when his primary rival wasn’t present at the race. He was able to buck this trend yesterday at G.P. Eeklo as he stood atop a podium over Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb Napoleon Games) and U23 World Champion Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb Napoleon Games). Men’s Elite World Champion, Van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus), came in fifth behind Gianni Vermeersch (Sunweb Napoleon Games).

Jens Adams took the holeshot, but on a fast course that would come to include road tactics, the front wasn’t the best place to sit, and Sven Nys, Vanthourenhout and Van Aert benefited as they drafted close behind.
Several laps in, a group of ten riders formed off the front, which included all the riders at the lead near the holeshot, as well as Pauwels, Laurens Sweeck, Van der Poel, Toon Aerts and Tim Merlier. Van Aert tested the pack’s legs on several occasions, and Nys was one of the first to fall back at the young rider’s pace.
Three young riders of the group, Van Aert, Vermeersch and Vanthourenhout were able to make separation from the others as Van der Poel couldn’t follow in tow. It appeared as if the three would keep away until the finish, except Pauwels made a daring lone assault to bridge back to the leaders. Pauwels, who won yesterday in the Men’s Elite Race at Superprestige Middelkerke, had nearly spent everything he had, and although he was the lone rider to keep pace with Van Aert in the final half lap, the younger rider bested him on the pavement.
Vanthourenhout was in sight of the leaders, and finished seven seconds back. Nys finished ninth, while the holeshot winner Adams crossed the line 11th.

2015 G.P. Eeklo, Elite Women's Race

1Sanne CANTBEL251:32:004040
2Loes SELSBEL301:32:053030
3Jolien VERSCHUERENBEL251:32:582020
4Aida NUNO PALACIOESP321:34:061515
5Lisa JACOBSAUS341:34:521010
6Hannah PAYTONGBR211:35:0588
7Joyce VANDERBEKENBEL311:35:4066
8Suzie GODARTLUX531:35:4944
9Katrien THIJSBEL301:35:5622
10Anja NOBUSBEL411:36:0411
11Suzanne VERHOEVENNED191:36:06
12Christine VARDAROSUSA461:36:20
13Kim VAN DE STEENEBEL291:36:23

2015 G.P. Eeklo, Elite Men's Race

1Wout VAN AERTBEL211:04:174040
2Kevin PAUWELSBEL311:04:213030
3Michael VANTHOURENHOUTBEL221:04:282020
4Gianni VERMEERSCHBEL231:04:391515
5Mathieu VAN DER POELNED201:04:481010
6Laurens SWEECKBEL221:04:5388
7Tim MERLIERBEL231:05:0766
8Toon AERTSBEL221:05:2244
9Sven NYSBEL391:05:2622
10Joeri ADAMSBEL261:06:1011
11Jens ADAMSBEL231:06:10
13Quinten HERMANSBEL201:06:39
14Michael BOROSCZE231:06:47
15Nicolas CLEPPEBEL201:06:53
16Kobe GOOSSENSBEL191:07:13
18Thomas JOSEPHBEL191:07:30
19Vinnie BRAETBEL241:07:37
21Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLEBEL271:07:44
22Bart HOFMANBEL301:07:44
23Thijs AERTSBEL191:07:55
24Tom VAN DEN BOSCHBEL301:08:00
25David VAN DER POELNED231:08:09
26Quincy VENSBEL291:08:29
27Ingmar UYTDEWILLIGENBEL241:08:46
28Angelo DE CLERCQBEL241:08:46
30Kevin CANTBEL27
31Niels KOYENBEL24