Pauwels Comes From Behind, Wout van Aert Crashes Early
Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb Napoleon Games) took an exciting win Wednesday with a narrow lead over six other riders at Parkcross Maldegem, with U23 World Championship runner-up Laurens Sweeck (Corendon KwadrO) taking second, and Gianni Vermeersch (Sunweb Napoleon Games) finishing third. Wout van Aert (Vastgoedservice – Golden Palace Cycling Team) finished fifth after crashing early in the race and being forced to spend the rest of the laps pursuing the leaders.
At the start of the race, Michael Vanthournhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and Wietse Bosmans (BKCP-Powerplus) created a small gap and set a brutal pace that only the latter would be able to maintain throughout the remainder of the race. Klaas Vantornout, Sven Nys (Crelan AA), Vermeersch and Sweeck tried to match the speed, with Pauwels behind and Van Aert further back trying to recover from the crash.
By the last lap of the race, a group of eight gathered at the front, including Tim Merlier. Van Aert, although having spent nearly the entire race in chase mode, had been able to bridge up to the lead group.
Pauwels attacked just after the pits, creating a small gap that only Sweeck would reach back up to in the finishing stretch, but only too late. Vermeersch led the followers, who all finished at the same time two seconds back, and included Bosmans, Van Aert, Vantournout, and Merlier. Nys came in 11 seconds behind the leader for eighth.
American top finisher at Worlds Jonathan Page came in 25th.
“The course was fast, and in some places also very technical,” Pauwels told Sporza after his race. “Actually, I started very badly… I only found a chance to compete a full half into the race. We finally pulled the final round with a group of eight men. Just past the pit I actually made a difference. Suddenly I felt that there was no one in my wheel and then I continue full on. Perhaps the rest behind me just made a mistake. I just turned in the final straight and I knew I would make it.”
Mercy Davy posted a YouTube video, which is a short look at the early race as well as photo stills of the racers battling the course conditions:
Sanne Cant Takes a Win: Season “Cake without the Icing” Due to Loss at Worlds
The other overall World Cup winner Sanne Cant (Ciclismo Mundial) won the first-ever Women’s Elite Race at Parkcross Maldegem. Unlike Pauwels, she would not wait until the closing lap to contest victory, and she took a solo win over Sanne van Paassen and Loes Sels .
Cant quickened the pace by the end of the first lap, taking full advantage of the fast course. Van Paassen and Sels were able to match her early, and separated themselves from the rest of the chase group. Within the second lap, however, Cant had already gaped the other two and only built her lead for the remainder of the race.
British rider Hannah Payton would come in for seventh place, while American Christine Vardaros followed in 12th.
“Night after night I keep replaying that sprint over in my head,” Cant told Sporza of her narrow loss in the World Championships.
Yesterday, she followed that comment up: “I ran into someone who was just a little stronger than me. I feel very good despite two hectic days. I will race through two weekends with a double program, starting with Saturday and Sunday Lille Hoogstraten. Then will follow Middelkerke Eeklo and Malle. After I will rest, enjoying a great season in which was cake without the icing with the loss at Worlds.”
2015 Parkcross Maldegem, Women's Elite Results
|2||Sanne VAN PAASSEN||NED||27||41:49:00|
|9||Kim VAN DE STEENE||BEL||29||45:57:00|
|10||Esther VAN DER BURG||NED||17||46:06:00|
|11||Mieke DE ROO||BEL||43||46:11:00|
|17||Meg DE BRUYNE||BEL||19|
|18||Ynske VAN TICHELT||BEL||19|
2015 Parkcross Maldegem, Men's Elite Results
|5||Wout VAN AERT||BEL||21||1:01:22|
|13||Yorben VAN TICHELT||BEL||21||1:02:55|
|19||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL||27||1:04:23|
|23||Javier RUIZ DE LARRINAGA IBANEZ||ESP||36||1:04:58|
|29||Edwin DE WIT||BEL||32||1:06:40|
|30||Aitor HERNANDEZ GUTIERREZ||ESP||33||1:06:50|
|31||Tim DE SCHUYTER||BEL||22|
|33||Bert DE BACKER||BEL||31|