Corne van Kessel and Loes Sels soloed to victory at the Soudal Classics GP Leuven on Sunday in Belgium.

Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea) soloed to victory on Sunday at the Soudal Classics GP Leuven in Belgium and showed he is on form heading into the national championships next weekend. French national champion Clement Venturini (Ag2r-La Mondiale) captured second with Marlux-Bingoal’s Michael Vanthourenhout finishing in third.

The course in Leuven, Belgium was lumpy and had many ride-ups and run-ups for the riders. However, despite the undulating terrain, the dry course was quick and the elite men would contest 10 laps. Many of the top-ranked riders opted to skip the race on Sunday and instead head to a warmer climate to train. The next four weekends of the season are critical with the national championships, two World Cups and the World Championships.

Venturini would grab the holeshot and immediately set about working to create an advantage over the rest of the riders. He was followed by Thijs Aerts (Telenet Fidea), van Kessel and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Bingoal). Aerts would be unable to hold the pace in the group and drop off after the opening laps.

The leading trio traded attacks through the first quarter of the race, as a large group chased behind. Notable riders in the chase group were Eli Iserbyt (Marlux-Bingoal), Wietse Bosmans (ERA-Circus), Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal).

Vanthourenhout attacked out of the chase group on the third lap and would be joined a lap later by Pauwels. The Belgian was dropped out of the lead group after he crashed at the bottom of one of the descents. Behind the Marlux-Bingoal duo, Iserbyt and Bosmans had left the rest of the chasers behind.

Halfway through the race, the win was van Kessel’s to lose. He had ridden a flawless race to this point and to the contrary of his competitors, had no crashes or mechanicals.

Venturini crashed on the fifth lap and thus lost contact with van Kessel. He would join Pauwels and Vanthourenhout in chasing the Telenet Fidea rider. Meanwhile, Iserbyt dropped Bosmans and set off in pursuit of teammates and Venturini.

Pauwels would soon lose contact with Venturini and Vanthourenhout and drop back to Iserbyt to create a battle for fourth on the day. The battle for second would not appear as Venturini swiftly rode away from Vanthourenhout with three laps remaining.

Van Kessel comfortably took the victory in Belgium with Venturini finishing second and Vanthourenhout third. Pauwels would dispatch Iserbyt on the final lap to take home fourth. Marlux-Bingoal put three riders in the top five on the day.

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