Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) gained the Actual Cross Zonnebeke – Kasteelcross, soloing throughout the end line 24 seconds forward of runner-up Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and 48 seconds forward of third-placed Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep).
A bunch of 4 riders emerged early within the race with Vanthourenhout and Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammate Yordi Cousus, Merlier, Vermeersch, and Lander Loockx (TDT-Unibet).
Vanthourenhout, Vermeersch and Merlier separated themselves from the others mid-race. Nevertheless, Merlier slid out via a nook on lap seven and into the wood stake, shedding worthwhile seconds on the main pair, Vanthourenhout and Vermeersch.
Vanthourenhout used his superior cyclocross ability to open a spot on his two nearest rivals through the penultimate lap, opening a two-second hole over Vermeersch and a further two seconds on tiring Merlier.
The European Champion pushed his lead out to greater than 20 seconds on the final lap, all that was wanted to take the day’s win and convey confidence into the following day’s World Cup in Benidorm.
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