Vanthourenhout Seals Victory at Hexia Cross Gullegem

Michael Vanthourenhout has triumphed at the Hexia Cross Gullegem, marking his first victory since clinching the European title in Pontchâteau last November. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider embarked on a solo adventure mid-race and successfully maintained his lead to the finish.

The start list included notables like Thibau Nys and Gianni Vermeersch, but it was Nys who appeared particularly eager, taking the lead early on. However, he soon fell back, allowing Vermeersch and Joran Wyseure to move ahead. After one lap, they had a slight lead over Vanthourenhout and Nys, with Cameron Mason and Lander Loockx trailing closely.

Vanthourenhout then upped the tempo, distancing himself from Nys and establishing a 12-second lead over Wyseure and Nys after three of the seven laps. Mason and Vermeersch followed, forming a quartet in pursuit of Vanthourenhout. Mason soon detached himself from this group, becoming Vanthourenhout’s primary chaser.

Despite Mason’s efforts, Vanthourenhout’s advantage remained over 20 seconds by the fifth lap. Wyseure and Nys, now over half a minute behind, battled for the third position. As Vanthourenhout entered the final lap, he had a comfortable lead of 23 seconds over Mason, enough to secure his second win of the season.

Mason secured second place, with Wyseure winning a tight contest against Nys for third. Vanthourenhout shared his satisfaction in the post-race interview, expressing that he felt increasingly stronger each week and saw the race as an opportunity to contend for the top spot.

Wyseure, pleased with his performance, highlighted the challenge of his duel with Nys, feeling content to have edged him out. Mason, too, expressed satisfaction with his podium finish, describing the race as a challenging ‘tractor race’ due to its heavy mud.

Nys, finishing fourth, shared mixed feelings – disappointed to miss the podium but pleased with his form. He acknowledged his struggles in recent weeks but felt optimistic about the upcoming Belgian Championships, believing in his potential to perform well on a more suitable course.

Gullegem 2024 Men result

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Main photo credit: Cor Vos

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