You can now find the Superprestige Ruddervoorde gallery and race report live below – enjoy. (Words contributed by Nicholas Lemke)
The early races of the day saw Eli Iserbyt win the Junior race and Laurens Sweeck emerge the victor in a heated battle with Michael Vanthourenhout in the U23 race.
Sanne Cant continued a winning weekend and honored her new European Champion title with another win on Sunday in the women’s race. Ellen Van Loy took the holeshot with Helen Wyman grabbing some time on the front as well. But Sanne Cant took the front through one of the many grassy technical turns and rode the first lap sandpit a few meters longer than her pursuers, Van Loy and Wyman.
This would be the winning move of the race, as Cant rode a clean and steady tempo alone at the front for the next 6 laps. She was the only woman able to ride the entire sandpit several times throughout the race. She would eventually finish solo, 21 seconds in front of Wyman, and 38 over Van Loy.
In the men’s event, Tom Meeusen raced aggressively throughout the race with Lars Van der Haar an early compatriot at the front. Together, these two broke away early along with Klaas Vantornout, creating a significant gap to the chasers behind. Sven Nys pursued with Mathieu Van der Poel, who crashed in the downhill sandpit, the most selective course feature on the day.
Nys was able to bridge to the leaders after several laps, which caused a general slowing. A group of 8, including Kevin Pauwels, Jens Adams, and Corne Van Kessel eventually came together at the front, with Van der Poel also regaining the group. The lead frequently changed hands over the next several laps with Van der Haar losing the group through a tangle with Van Kessel.
Into the tense finale and Van der Poel put in a hard attack, countered by Meeusen, who managed to hold the front throughout the final lap. The last passage through the sand pit, saw Nys, who was clearly the best in the sand throughout the race, pass both Pauwels and Van der Haar to go from 6th to 4th. A betting man would not have wagered against Nys landing on the podium after this show of strength.
The group was too big to do something special today. I felt that I can do something special in the sandpit last lap, but there were too many riders in front of me. So my acceleration stopped at the end of the sandpit so that’s the reason why I couldn’t sprint for victory.
Onto the finishing straight, the final 4-up sprint was between Meeusen, Vantornout, Van der Poel and Nys. Meeusen did a long sprint to take the win and Van der Haar passed Vantournout for 2nd. Nys, in a rare result, finished off the podium.
I knew if I’d get out of the sandpit first, I’d have a big chance for winning, so that is what happened….My shape is coming right now. I hoped to have the best shape for Koppenberg and Zonhoven…but I got sick a week before [Koppenberg] and so my shape is just a week later now…
Van der Poel now leads the Superprestige series with 40 points to Nys’ 39. With Van der Haar a close 3rd on 38 points. The next round is held in Gavere on the 16th of November.
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