With pre-race favourite Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) sitting out after a nasty spill at Azencross last week, Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea) won the GP Sven Nys on cold day in Baal, Belgium on Sunday, January 1. The European champion started 2017 with a dominant performance for himself and his team manager to whom the GP is titled.
With the win, Aerts remains in contention on the general classification of the DVV Trophy, with reigning world champion Wout van Aert (Vérandas Willems-Crelan) still atop the leader board after a second place finish in Baal ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) in third.
The win in Baal gives the European champion his third win of the season, and he was quick to acknowledge teammate Tom Meeusen after the race.
“As a team, this was an important race and the support of the public and Tom Meeusen gave me confidence,” explained Aerts. “In the last lap Wout was still riding strong, but I never panicked. It was question to remain cautious on the technical sections and on the straights to pedal through as fast as possible.”
Next up for Aerts are the Belgian championships in Ostend.
“Surely this week I will be asked many questions about my chances of winning,” Aerts realized. “A year ago I got too much attention after my victory in Leuven. Hopefully I can handle my nerves better and contend for the win.”
Although Van Aert closed the gap to eight seconds on the final lap, the win was not to be for the 22-year-old Belgian after a cautious start.
“My own fault,” admitted Van Aert. “In the beginning, I had too much fear in the corners. That crept into my head. I also did not want to take unnecessary risks with what lies ahead in the coming weeks.
“In the final lap I was still very close, but there was too little time to make something good. I do not win here; again it is my own fault.”
- 1. Toon AERTS, (BEL), 1:02:51
- 2. Wout VAN AERT, (BEL), +0:08
- 3. Michael VANTHOURENHOUT, (BEL), +0:13
- 4. Kevin PAUWELS, (BEL), +0:31
- 5. Wietse BOSMAN, (BEL), +0:50
- 6. Tim MERLIER, (BEL), +1:29
- 7. Corne VAN KESSEL, (NED), +1:41
- 8. Jens ADAMS, (BEL), +1:41
- 9. Laurens SWEECK, (BEL), +2:08
- 10. Gianni VERMEERSCH, (BEL), +2.11