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By Marcel van Hoecke
Sven Vanthourenhout (Quick Step-Davitamon) won the second heat of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series on Sunday in Hamme-Zogge, Belgium, outsprinting Tom Vannoppen (MrBookmaker.com) and Sven Nys (Rabobank) during the sprint to the finish.
Nys, the series leader, had a bad start, hitting one of the iron barricades with his shoulder. It seemed to slow him somewhat initially, but soon he was back to his old self, bunny-hopping the barricades.
Only Vanthourenhout and a very strong Vannoppen could keep up with Nys. The last three laps they stayed together, and it was Vanthourenhout taking a narrow sprint win over Vannoppen and Nys.
This was the second victory in a Superprestige ’cross for Vanthourenhout.
“I’m glad that I’m good in the sprint, because during the last round and a half most of my energy was gone,” he said. “Tom Vannoppen was really top today. But Nys was also tremendous. Without the rideable parts in the ’cross, there is no question about it that Nys would have been out of sight, as usual. I was at the end of my powers but gave all I’ve got.
“Before this season I said that I hoped to win two big crosses. After today, I’m already halfway.”
As for Vannoppen, he said that while he had a good race, “if you go to the finish with Sven Vanthourenhout, a second place is the most feasible score.”
“It was only a minor difference, but whether you lose with only one centimeter or with three minutes of difference, it doesn’t matter,” he added.
Nys, his skinsuit torn and his shoulder lacerated from his crash into the barricade, agreed that Vanthourenhout was unbeatable in any mass rush to the line.
“It is not a shame to lose to Sven Vanthourenhout in a sprint,” he said. “I tried to escape during the last lap, but failed. I have to be satisfied with my position, because I fell during the first lap. I hit the iron barricades with my shoulder. This was a painful experience from which I had to recuperate. My season could have been over already. But I will only suffer for some days, I hope.”
Hamme-Zogge, Belgium. October 24
1. Sven Vanthourenhout (B), Quick Step-Davitamon
2. Tom Vannoppen (B), MrBookmaker.com
3. Sven Nys (B), Rabobank
4. Ben Berden (B), Saey-Deschacht
5. Bart Wellens (B), Fidea
6. Richard Groenendaal (Ned), Rabobank
7. Wim Jacobs (B), Fidea
8. Willant van Gils (Ned), Rietveld
9. Tim Van Nuffel (B), Saey-Deschacht
10. Edwin Vervecken (B), Fidea