All photos Martine Verfaillie

In Gullegem near Kortrijk in my beloved West Flanders, the riders were presented with one of the few loose crosses of this season. No classification, so several bigger names dropped the cross. Mathieu van der Poel was at the appointment, just like his British attacker Tom Pidcock. Van Aert, Aerts, Vanthourenhout, Iserbyt, and Laurens Sweeck have already focused on the Hulst World Cup sector, which is on the menu today. A conflict between Van der Poel and Pidcock then? We had to wait a while because, after a weak start and a crash in the first lap, the world champion already had to chase. A job that was quickly done, however. In the front, it was the re-appearing Jens Adams who made the first move. Sven’s sonThibau Nys was also upfront but it was not long in the race that Van der Poel resulted in a selection. Only Pidcock could follow, Nys fell back after a crash.
Halfway through the race, Van der Poel had had enough of his British company and put his gear. Pidcock knew immediately what time it was. The top 2 had already been set, the battle for third place was more exciting. There it went between Vermeersch, Adams, and the Spanish Champ Orts. The latter was the first to release. Adams also had to let Vermeersch go but came back strongly in the final lap. He went on and took the last podium place.
Ireland’s David Conroy was also in action and had his best result of the winter season with a 31st place and ready for today’s World Cup in Hulst (NL) representing Ireland

Top 10: 1. Mathieu VAN DER POEL Alpecin-Fenix in 1u00’35”
2. Thomas PIDCOCK Selection (GB) + 45″
3. Jens ADAMS Hollebeekhoeve Cycling Team (BEL) + 53″
4. Gianni VERMEERSCH Alpecin-Fenix (BEL) + 57″
5. Felipe ORTS LLORET Selection (Spain) + 1’27”
6. Diether SWEECK Alpecin-Fenix (Bel) + 1’45”
7. Joran WYSEUR Kon. Balen BC vzw (Bel)+ 1’51”
8. Emiel VERSTRYNGE CT Keukens Buysse Knesselare (Bel) + 2’03”
9. Thibau NYS Cycling Team 99 VZW (Bel) + 2’17”
10. Jim AERNOUTS Telenet Baloise Lions (Bel) + 2’23”

UCI Class 2 Women’s Elite Gullegem

With the World Cup Cross in Hulst on the menu on Sunday, the main Dutch victors took a day off. Just like in Bredene, an excellent opportunity for Sanne Cant for a first season victory. After half a lap, Vas decided to run off alone. She said goodbye to Cant, Van der Heijden, Kay, and Riberolle and kept the whole cross flowing smoothly. That gave her a second win in less than a week. In the chase, Cant seemed to have the best legs. Riberolle was the first to release, then Kay also followed. Van der Heijden hung on the stretcher for the entire match, partly due to mistakes. But in the final lap, the Dutch came back to join the Belgian champion. In a sprint with the two of us Cant seemed to make it, but just like yesterday (in Baal) she let herself be beaten just before the finish. So the third place for Cant, her second podium of the season. The ever trying and always smiling Michelle Geoghegan came in at the 26th place.

Top 10 Cyclocross Gullegem (vrouwen)
1 Kata Blanka Vas (HUN)
2 Inge van der Heijden (NL)
3 Sanne Cant (BEL)
4 Anna Kay (GB)
5 Marion Norbert Riberolle (FR)
6 Aniek Van Alphen (NL)
7 Karen Verhestraeten (BEL)
8 Rebecca Fahringer (USA)
9 Susanne Meistrok (NL)
10 Joyce Vanderbeken (BEL)

Martine’s protigee Sophie Wright (GB) had a brilliant race and result (11th)
Belgian Champ Sanne Cant got 3rd place and still looks for her first win