Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) closed out the 2010-11 Superprestige season by taking a dominating victory at Sunday’s finale in Middelkerke, Belgium.
Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) could manage only sixth place at the Noordzeecross, but consoled himself with his 10th overall victory in the series.
Vantornout got off to a strong start on the rolling, twisting circuit, replete with sand, wet grass and mud, but before long he had world champion Zdenek Stybar and Telenet-Fidea teammate Kevin Pauwels for company.
With five laps to go the front group had grown to nine riders, with Nys, Belgian champion Niels Albert and and Dieter Vanthourenout (BKCP-Powerplus), Bart Wellens and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) tacking onto the lead trio.
The Sunweb riders had the front with Stybar going into a tough two-step climb whose first half was rideable while the second was not — until Nys managed the feat with two laps to go — and then Vantornout was off on his own and building an advantage.
He had six seconds over Stybar as he hit the pavement with four laps to race. A lap later, his advantage had grown to 21 seconds, and the chase was nowhere in sight. The remainder of the race would be for the lesser steps on the podium.
Nys and Pauwels looked like the men for that job, taking a slight lead over the other chasers as Vantornout soldiered on alone. But Pauwels shed the Landbouwkrediet rider and slotted solidly into second place, and Nys saw Wellens, Meeusen and Stybar slip past him in the final laps.
Vantornout had plenty of time to celebrate, and he started early, tugging on the front of his skinsuit to give the sponsors a little bonus TV time. Pauwels hung on for a solid second 13 seconds later with Wellens taking a welcome podium spot at 21 seconds back.
American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) crossed 14th on the day.
With all said and done, Nys collected his 10th overall Superprestige title with 107 points. Pauwels finished second overall with 92 while Stybar rounded out the podium with 85.