Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and Lars van der Haar (Rabobank) were the two formative riders at the floodlit cyclocross in Kalmthout. On the extremely fast track, which was peppered with a few stairs, both set the tone from the start. First, however, riders such as World Champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL), Martin Bina (Kwadroo-Stannah), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and Wietse Bosmans (BKCP-Powerplus) could follow them. His teammates Niels Albert and Philipp Walsleben, on the other hand, had a bad start and only managed to move up the field as the race progressed.
But the preliminary decision had already been made. On lap five, Dutch champion Van der Haar increased the pace. Only Pauwels could follow him. Behind the duo, the gap between the pursuers increased. Of these, Albert in particular struggled for speed, while Nys had to bury his chances after a fall.
Albert and Vantornout, meanwhile, managed to keep the gap at just under 12 seconds over the next few laps. But they didn't get any closer to the two leaders. On the contrary: in front of a home audience, a very strong Pauwels played with his flight companion. After initially forcing him to take the lead at the beginning of the last lap, he finally broke away from Van der Haar in the final technical passage, who was ultimately able to settle for second place. For Pauwels it was the first success of the season. Third place went to Vantornout, who was able to relegate Albert to fourth place due to a late wheel change. In the end, Walsleben was the best German in tenth place.
The Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) won the women's race.
1. Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games)
2. Lars van der Haar (Rabobank)
3. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games)
4. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)
5. Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea)