Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) outfought a gutsy Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-Kwadro) on Sunday to win the Zilvermeercross as Sabrina Stultiens (Rabo-Liv) finally broke Sanne Cant’s long winning streak.
Van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) got off to a fast start under the lights in Mol.
But it was Van Aerts who had the legs at the end. He led the chase that snuffed out a late attack by Sweeck, then dropped him with just under two laps remaining and rode alone to the victory.
Sweeck hung on for second, while Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) — who had been sailing over a concrete barrier that the others had to run — used his trick to take enough advantage for third place on the day.
“I really wanted to do well here today,” said Van Aert. “Mol is the home of the team and I wanted to put up a good performance.”
Van Aert told Nieuwsblad.be that he had not felt strong at the start, but found his legs along the way.
“I was not feeling too well at the start, but luckily that did not last long and I was better during the race. Suddenly I was in the final in a position to win anyway and I was able to finish it,” he said.
In women’s racing, meanwhile, Stultiens finally dethroned Cant. She beat Ellen Van Loy (Telenet-Fidea) for the top spot on the podium, leaving Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) to settle for third.
It was a rare loss for the powerful Belgian champion. After abandoning the Superprestige round in Francorchamp a few weeks ago with back problems, Cant had won every race she finished since November 2.
“This I did not expect,” said Stultiens, who told Nieuwsblad.be she spent the past week training in Spain.
“I was not sure if my body would respond well … but apparently I was really strong today. I am very happy because this is my first win of the season,” she said.
Cant, meanwhile, said she had a poor start and had to chase for two laps, but she was sanguine about the streak coming to an end.
“That is unfortunate, but this streak could not last,” she said.