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Belgian champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) won a muddy Superprestige opener in Ruddervoorde on Sunday.
Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) finished second with Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) third.
Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) grabbed the early lead and put on a powerful show, even table-topping once over one of a series of small rollers. But he faded as the race wore on and finished in sixth. Sven Nys (Landboukrediet) suffered a mechanical, dropping a chain that took some time to dislodge and remount, but fought back to finish fourth on the day, just ahead of Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea).
Albert is off to a strong start to his 2011-12 season, having won last week’s Vlaamse Industrieprijs Bosduin. He becomes the first leader of the Superprestige series with 15 points, followed by Aernouts with 14 and Vantornout with 13.
Earlier, Helen Wyman (Kona) continued her own strong start by winning the women’s race ahead of Niki Harris (Telenet) and Lucie Chainel.
The Superprestige series continues October 30 in Zonhoven, Belgium.
- 1. Niels Albert (Bel), BKCP-Powerplus
- 2. Bart Aernouts (Bel), Rabobank-Giant
- 3. Klaas Vantornout (Bel), Sunweb-Revor
- 4. Sven Nys (Bel), Landbouwkrediet
- 5. Bart Wellens (Bel), Telenet-Fidea