Your Saturday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

December 31, 2016

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Aert outsprints Sweeck for Bredene win; De Jong back on top at Bredene; Mathieu van der Poel unlikely to race GP Sven Nys; Nicole Cooke: British Cycling has many questions to answer; Gianni Meersman forced to retire due to cardiac arrhythmia; New kit design, bike sponsor for UnitedHealthcare; Oldest Tour de France winner dies; Video: Gold Coast Hinterland; Happy new year!

Van Aert outsprints Sweeck for Bredene win

by Mark Zalewski

Wout van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) took career win number 49 in Bredene, and the final with his current team, before changing to the outfit managed by Sven Nys. The world champion was pushed to the line due to a strong ride from Laurens Sweeck (ERA Circus). Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts-Verona) had the best race of his season, winning the chase group sprint for third.

Van Aert had some trouble in the first half of the race, first with hopping over the barriers and then with one of the sand sections halfway through the 60 minute race. That bobble put him off the lead group by about ten seconds. But as usual, he did not panic and rode a steady tempo back to the leading group of nine, led by Clement Venturini (Cofidis).

After van Aert made contact with the group Sweeck made his move, with only van Aert able to cover. The two rode away from the rest, with each taking a turn leading the short, five-minute laps. On the penultimate lap van Aert again had trouble hopping the barriers and Sweeck upped the pace. Van aert recovered and made sure on the last lap to make a clean pass of the barriers. Out of the final sand section van Aert attacked, knowing the finish pavement stretch was coming soon after. Sweeck was right on his wheel but did not have enough to come around in the sprint.

“I had a feeling that the race was going to be difficult,” van Aert said. “I wanted to watch the first half to see which way the wind would blow. However, I made a mistake and so I made it hard on myself. I was glad when Sweeck accelerated, this pushed us to get the lead. For the sprint I accelerated to put Laurens under pressure.”

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) did better in his second race of the week (and season), finishing tenth.