Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) won a blisteringly fast Vlaamse Industrieprijs Bosduin on Sunday in Kalmthout.
The race boiled down to a two-man battle between Pauwels, the hometown favorite, and Lars van der Haar (Rabobank).
With two laps remaining the two had 16 seconds over another duo, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb). World champ Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) was in a second chase after a couple of miscues that dropped him out of the first.
Going into bell lap van der Haar was in something of a spot. Albert had pitted, leaving Vantornout in sole possession of third place, and the Belgian champ was closing in on the leaders — only one of whom was a teammate.
Pauwels slowed after the barriers, and van der Haar moved into the lead as Vantornout closed to within eyeshot of the leaders.
Then Pauwels reclaimed the lead and opened the throttle, taking a few bike lengths over van der Haar.
The Rabobank rider tried to fight back, but soon found himself three seconds down as Pauwels blasted onto the cobbles leading to the finish.
Pauwels kept pushing, and with one quick look over his left shoulder he saw he’d been successful and began his celebration, leaving a disconsolate van der Haar to coast across the line for second. Vantornout held on for third.
Earlier, in women’s racing, Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) won going away from Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabobank). Ellen Van Loy finished third.