Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) emerged victorious out of a four-man lead group during today’s Vlaamse Druivencross Overijse cyclocross race.
Spectators saw Meeusen, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and BKCP-Powerplus teammates Mathieu Van der Poel and Philipp Walsleben, testing one another’s mettle during several laps of today’s race.
However, as the race entered into the final go-around, the battle for the lead came down to Meeusen and Vantornout, as their rivals struggled to stay onboard.
At one point, Vantornout appeared to be poised for victory, however, Meeusen managed to slip past his fellow countryman and seize the win – after hitting the finishing straight with a well-timed lead out to the finish.
Meanwhile, Vantornout, who lead the race for a couple of laps earlier before fading back into the chase, finished in third.
“When I can take the victory it’s always special because normally I have to do it in a sprint, and today it was as well,” said Meeusen.
“Mathieu van der Poel didn’t ride yesterday, so he was very fresh, and he attacked two times in of the race, so I knew if I could hold his wheel I could compete for the victory. I had to be first in the last corner, and I was first there, and I could just hold it to the finish.”
Vantornout commented on the difficulty with trying to stay onboard with Meeusen during the final lap.
“You know it will be difficult when you enter the last lap together with Tom Meeusen. He’s also a very clever rider, who also knew he had to enter the last straghtaway as the first rider,” said Vantornout.
“I still felt power in my legs to do the sprint, I could keep going in the sprint, but it was not enough to beat Tom. It’s a bit disappointing … but it’s a confirmation I’m doing well and yesterday (GP Hasselt) was only bad luck.”
Van der Poel was likewise disappointed with not being able to remain in contention during the final laps of the race.
“It was a tough course, and I controlled the race, and I thought I was going to sprint for the win, but I made a little mistake the last lap. So I was not in for the win today,” he said.
“I’m happy and satisfied about my race, because it was really tough and I always was in the front, but now it’s a bit disappointing. You always want to win, and it’s a bit frustrating, but I have to think positive and look at the bright side of today. It’s difficult to win a cyclocross this year, and it’s been a while for me. So I look forward to next week already.”
In the women’s race, Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) continued her dominance, after prevailing against world road champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Liv-Rabo).
Earlier in the race, Ellen Van Loy had a strong start during today’s heavy course. But, as the Telenet-Fidea rider began to fade, Ferrand-Prevot and Cant came to the fore.
Cant would later overhaul Ferrand-Prevot in the final lap to take the victory, while Sophie De Boer (Kalas-NNOF) finished third.
“I think we both made mistakes, but I had in the last lap one push, and it was just enough,” said Cant.
“But I had some troubles the lap before, so I had a gap to close. So I had to change my tactics,” she said.
Ferrand-Prevot admitted that Cant was the stronger rider on the day, and a better runner, too.
“It was a good race for me. I’m not so good when it’s muddy, but I try to be better,” she said. “Today I wanted to try to fight with Sanne. I did it, but one lap early, I think.
“I was not so fast on the running, and so she came back on the mud. She was stronger.”
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