Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) and Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) won the final round of the Superprestige series at the Middelkerke race, Saturday. Both riders also claimed the title for the overall series.
Alvarado’s Superprestige title puts a cap on a breakout season that has seen the 21-year-old win the World Championships at the start of this month, and only narrowly lose out on the overall in the World Cup series. Though Sweeck has been less all-conquering, he too has had a strong season, taking the Belgian national title and placing fifth in the World Championships.
Alvarado won the women’s race from a three-up sprint, beating Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and season-long rival Annemarie Worst (777) in the final straight.
Worst and Alvarado went clear early in the race, asserting their dominance over the field in the way they have done since the start of the season. Betsema and junior world champion Shirin Van Anrooij chased behind. Van Anrooij fell off Betsema’s pace in the second lap, and the experienced Dutchwoman bridged up to Alvarado, who had to stop after losing a shoe, leaving Worst solo at the front.
Betsema and Alvarado were able to chase down Worst through the middle of the race, and from there on, the trio were neck and neck. It was only in the final climb and stretch to the line where they separated, with Alvarado surging clear at the very last, taking the race win and sealing her Superprestige title.
Yara Kastelijn (777) finished the race in sixth place, enough for her to secure second overall in the series, with teammate Worst taking third overall.
Sweeck took victory in the men’s with an impressive solo performance. Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) and Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) took second and third respectively.
Sweeck was in the front group throughout the race, which by lap four of nine was made up of seven riders, including Aerts, Iserbyt and Tom Pidcock (Trinity). Sweeck chose a sandy section to make his move, accelerating away with a decisive attack that saw him lead the chasers by over 10 seconds at the end of that lap.
Lars van der Haar (Telenet Baloise Lions) and his teammate Aerts led the chase, but were unable to gain ground, with the gap between 27-year-old Sweeck and the chasers remaining largely static through the remainder of the race.
Aerts bagged second-place over Iserbyt with a late acceleration in the final lap. Iserbyt’s third-place in the race was enough to secure him second in the overall, with van der Haar taking third in the series.
World Cup series winner Aerts placed fourth in the Superprestige series.
Women’s Top 3
- Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin – Fenix): 00:41:34
- Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): +00:01
- Annemarie Worst (777): S.T
Men’s Top 3
- Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): 01:02:30
- Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions): +00:15
- Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): +00:22