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Superprestige Cyclo-cross Gavere - C1
Gavere, Belgium , November 16, 2008
Race 2 - November 16: U23 Men
Belgian champion celebrates too early, Walsleben wins
By Brecht Decaluwé in Gavere, Belgium
Germany's Philipp Walsleben (Palmans-Cras) and Belgium' Tom Meeusen (Fidea) provided the spectacle in the Men's U23 race in Gavere. Walsleben had a small gap over Meeusen for most of the race but during the last lap Meeusen managed to bridge back up to the German to sprint for the victory in Gavere.
The Belgian champion thought he had it won and raised his hand in the air to celebrate the victory, but failed to take into in account that Walsleben wasn't giving in. Within three days Walsleben turns 21 and the German handed himself the perfect birthday present by throwing his wheel ahead of his Belgian rival's at the finish line.
"Tom started the sprint strong in which I used a bigger gear. I stayed close to him, but there wasn't much room to overtake him until he created some space and raised his hand in the air," Walsleben said, pointing out that this wasn't the best move of the day from Meeusen.
The latter realized that he had just missed out on a great opportunity to win against the so far unbeatable German. "Damned, if I wouldn't have raised my hand I could have won, but I shouldn't have made that mistake anyway," Meeusen said. "Still, second place isn't bad though. Walsleben was stronger uphill, but I was better on the technical sections. I proved that I'm a real cyclo-cross rider."
The gap with the next rider, Kenneth Van Compernolle, showed how strong the two protagonists were – it took more than two minutes before the Belgian crossed the line for third place. Walsleben now leads the Superprestige series standings with a small margin of two points on Meeusen.
Due to multiple rain showers in the preceding days, the course in Gavere turned out to be extremely muddy and slippery. The technical course separated the wheat from the chaff right away and thus Walsleben and Meeusen quickly got away from the rest of the field. During the first lap they were joined by Quentin Bertholet (Fidea), but on the next circuit, Walsleben gapped his two companions on the climb towards the castle in Gavere, gathering ten seconds by the top.
In the slippery descent, Meeusen managed to bridge back up to Walsleben while Bertholet dropped further back, being joined by fellow Belgian Kenneth Van Compernolle (Sunweb-Projob). Walsleben had more power than Meeusen, and though Meeusen closed down the gap as much as possible on the descent and the other technical sections, Walsleben he crossed the line with about fifteen seconds on his Belgian rival at the midpoint of the race.
Walsleben kept his lead during the second half of the race while Meeusen kept putting on the pressure as he stayed within striking distance of the German. That gap remained the same when Walsleben and Meeusen entered the ultimate lap, but on the most technical section of the descent Walsleben suddenly went down and Meeusen managed to catch up.
Walsleben then tried to get rid of Meeusen on the climb, but the latter stood tall and on the last part he even jumped away from Walsleben. But then it was Meeusen's turn for bad luck when he got some wiring between his spokes and had to step off his bike to get rid of it. As a result the two entered the finishing straight together with the surprising sprint as icing on the cake of a beautiful battle.
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1 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Palmans Cras 0.54.08 2 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb- Projob 2.20 4 Joerie Adams (Bel) Rabobank Continental 2.48 5 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3.01 6 Marek Konwa (Pol) 3.38 7 Robert Gavenda (Svk) 3.51 8 Stef Boden (Bel) 4.00 9 Lukas Kloucek (Cze) 4.08 10 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) 4.11 11 Wim Leemans (Bel) 4.24 12 Marcel Meisen (Ger) 5.10 13 Gianni Denolf (Bel) Palmans - Cras 5.48 14 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) 6.25 15 Kristof Zegers (Bel) 6.28 16 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Palmans - Cras 6.35 17 Sven Verboven (Bel) Palmans - Cras 6.40 18 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) 6.42 19 Geert van der Horst (Ned) 7.02 20 Michiel Dieleman (Bel) 7.27 21 Matthias Nilsson (Zwe) 7.48 22 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) 7.57 23 Mark Thwaites (GBr) 8.11 24 Marco Minnaard (Ned) 8.33 25 Harm van der Sanden (Ned) 9.21 26 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 9.23 One lap behind 27 Jelle Brackman (Bel) Granville-Morgan Blue Cycling Team 28 Jorn van Veen (Ned) 29 Dany Lacroix (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 30 Kaj Slenter (Ned) 31 Robby Cobbaert (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 32 Jannik Hansen (Den) 33 Tom Desmet (Bel) Asfra Racing Team Two laps behind 34 Jeffrey Depuydt (Bel) 35 Laurent Moulin (Bel) 36 Jonathan Bervoets (Bel) 37 Zeb Willems (Bel) AVB-USSspa Cycling Team Kasterlee 38 Matthias Onghena (Bel) 39 Bart Barkhuis (Ned) 40 Amadeusz Rodzinski (Pol) Three laps behind 41 Cristian Izquierdo (Bel) 42 Lorenzo Messine (Bel) 43 Steven Galens (Bel) Standings after three rounds 1 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) 30 pts 2 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 28 3 Marek Konwa (Pol) 25 4 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 23 5 Jan Van Dael (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 21 6 Lukas Kloucek (Cze) 7 Stef Boden (Bel) 20 pts 8 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 9 Joeri Adams (Bel) 17 pts 10 Wim Leemans (Bel) 16 11 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 13 12 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) 13 Rik van IJzendoorn (Ned) 12 pts 14 Geert van der Horst (Ned) 10 15 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) 16 Kevin Cant (Bel) AVB-USSspa Cycling Team Kasterlee 17 Robert Gavenda (Svk) 9 pts 18 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 19 Davy De Scheemaeker (Bel) 8 pts 20 Julian van Dijk (Ned) 7 21 Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) 22 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) 6 pts 23 Kaj Slenter (Ned) 5 24 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Palmans - Cras 25 Bart Barkhuis (Ned) 26 Marcel Meisen (Ger) 4 pts 27 Twan van den Brand (Ned) 28 Marco Minnaard (Ned) 29 Gianni Denolf (Bel) 3 pts 30 Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 31 Dennis Verhoeven (Ned) 32 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) 2 pts 33 Kevin Smit (Ned) 34 Kristof Zegers (Bel) 1