On the eve of the final round of the World Cup and one week before the World Championships, the Flandriencross in Hamme was as the ultimate test to gauge everyone's state of form. This Saturday, the route around the Mirabrug and along the Mira Bridge may not offer the sandy passages that the riders will face Oostende, but instead mud, repeated bumps and a prestigious field to top it off were plenty enough.
The riders of the Tormans Cyclocross Team led by Bart Wellens took the start of the antepenultimate round of the X2O Badkamers Trofee with good weather compared to the awful conditions of the previous week at the Zilvermeercross in Mol, but still without the public support for sanitary reasons. After a good start, Corné Van Kessel hooked up the pursuit group and occupied seventh place at the halfway point, about thirty seconds behind the leading duo formed by Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels -Sauzen).
The bumps, obstacles and merciless changes of pace punished any technical approximation, and little by little Van der Poel made the difference, pursued to the end by Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), but the World Champion hung on till the end and was never brought back. Van Kessel and Quinten Hermans, meanwhile, clung to the wheels of the top ten, Thomas Mein and Emiel Verstrynge followed around the minute. A solid finish by Bart Wellens' men allows Tormans to count on a sixth place for Van Kessel, an eleventh place for Hermans and a twenty-first place for Verstrynge.
In the women's event, while the start of the race seemed to outline a new mano a mano between the leaders of the Soudal Ladies Trophy, Lucinda Brand (Baloise-Trek) and Denise Bietsema (Pauwels-Sauzen), it was instead the World Champion Ceylin Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) who took advantage of the falls of his competitors to set the pace with authority and win comfortably. Shana Maes bravely fought on the obstacle course and closed her cross in 32nd place in just under an hour.
The next race is none other than the last round of the World Cup, which will take place tomorrow Sunday January 24th in Overijse. Quinten Hermans and Corné Van Kessel occupy fifth and sixth place respectively, so far they have secured a top ten spot in each of the rounds this season.
Flandriencross Hamme Hommes Elites/U23 :
1. Mathieu Van der Poel
2. Wout Van Aert +0:07
3. Laurens Sweeck +1:00
6. Corné Van Kessel +1:35
11. Quinten Hermans
21 Emiel Verstrynge
26. Thomas Mein
42. Théo Thomas
Flandriencross Hamme Women Elites
1. Ceylin Alvarado
2. Denise Bietsema +00:19
3. Manon Bakker +00:25
32. Shana Maes +8:08
Soudal Ladies Trophy 2020-2021 GC :
1. Lucinda Brand
2. Denise Betsema +0:38
3. Ceylin Alvarado +4:35