Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions) went back-to-back in Superprestige series races and scored a solo victory in Boom on Saturday. Scotsman Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds) chased for eight laps and settled for second place, 10 seconds back. Superprestige leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) completed the podium in third.
The 27-year-old Dutchman, who won the last round of the Superprestige series in Merksplas, attacked on the second lap of the hilly course and managed to hold a steady pace for the victory. He moved to third place in the series, trailing second-placed Niels Vandeputte (Alpecin-Deceuninck) by just one point.
“Personally, it is a big accomplishment that my lower back is doing well, after I had some problems with it. I think we found the exact spot we needed to make it better. That’s why it [racing] goes a lot better now.
He said he heard the crowd cheering for Mason on each lap, and knew he could be caught so had to ride his own race.
“It was always at the same spot – first they cheer for me and a few seconds later I heard them cheer for him, so I had the feeling he was close. I never looked back because I know it doesn’t make sense. I always felt him there. I also know he’s the type of rider that is like my type and I know he would never really crack. I had to push on to maintain the gap.”
In the setting sun with the green light igniting the field, Jens Adams (Lotto-X-Oats Athletes for Hope) charged to the front from the first left-hand turn. He immediately opened a gap of a few seconds, the chase led by Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions).
Adams struggled in a series of corners in the muddy ruts which allowed Nys, Nieuwenhuis, Mason and Iserbyt to pass and take control of the pace
Mid-way through the second lap, Nieuwenhuis accelerated across several climbs on the hilly course and opened a measurable gap of 9 seconds.The 27-year-old Dutchman threatened to go out of sight for good, but Mason rode in second place carving a few inside lines to distance himself from a tandem of Nys and Iserbyt.
Across the fourth lap, Vandeputte caught Nys and Iserbyt to form a solid trio of chasers, with Thijs Aerts (Circus-Re Uz-Technord) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels-Sauzen-Bingoal) five seconds back as a closing small group of pursuers. The battle at the front continued to yo-yo by just a few seconds, Mason failing to make any major moves on the lead.
On the sixth lap, Iserbyt, the current Superprestige leader with three victories, began to attack, breaking free of Vandeputte and Vanthourenhout and putting in a 10-second gap for solo third. The group had dropped Nys on the previous circuit, who rode inside the top 10 with Witse Meeussen (Crelen-Corendon) a little over a minute back.
Mason remained seated on most of the climbs to keep Nieuwenhuis on a short leash, but on the final lap began to hop off the bike and run the punchy climbs. By the time Mason rounded the final turn, the Dutchman had crossed the finish 10 seconds ahead.
“I walked to the race today,” said Mason with a broad smile about being on the podium near his home. “I can see my apartment from here. It was a nice race, a kind of lonely race. I tried my best to close on Joris, but I was kind of at my maximum. It’s nice to do another podium at a race this big.”
Even though he lives in Boom, he was not able to gain an advantage with a pre-ride of the course. He said he arrived just the night before the race. He called the race a ‘time trial’.
“In the race, it was a bit slow motion. There were some bits he was better, some laps I was better. Actually, I was never in the wheel. Until I am in the wheel, then it’s not really a battle. It was more a time trial. I was doing my best.”
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