Vestingcross Hulst
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Photo credit: Paul D'Eer

Week 25 Predictions: Middelkerke and Vestingcross

The penultimate week of the 2019/20 season is upon us. There are four races left on the calendar and all of them are C1s. This weekend, the Superprestige series finishes up with the race in Middelkerke. In the Netherlands, Vestingcross marks the final race of the season in that country. Vestingcross is part of the Ethias Cross series, however because of UCI rules, it is not an official UCI series, thus there are no points nor an overall classification. The races in February are fun to watch because there are a lot of younger riders who use this time to shine. For instance, Junior World Champion, Shirin van Anrooij finished third in the Elite Women’s race last weekend.

Superprestige Middelkerke

The final round of the Superprestige takes place in Middelkerke on Saturday. Also known as Noordzeecross, the race is mostly grass, but is very twisty and double backs on itself a lot. The race has been held for 15 years, and has been the finale of the Superprestige series for since the 2009/10 edition.

Elite Men

In what can only be seen as a fitting end to a contentious season, Laurens Sweeck and Eli Iserbyt will battle it out for the overall. No matter where they finish, the first of those two to cross the line will win. The tiebreaker is the finishing place in Middelkerke, so even if Iserbyt ties Sweeck on points, he will win the series. We expect a fierce battle between these two as they settle the score one last time. Based on the way he rode last weekend, we are giving the nod to Quinten Hermans this week. As a result, he should pass Lars van der Haar to take third place overall. Behind Hermans, we expect an all Belgium podium…and Laurens Sweeck to take the overall.

  1. Quinten Hermans
  2. Toon Aerts
  3. Laurens Sweeck

Elite Women

Despite having only a five point lead, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado should end up keeping her overall lead. The five points separating her from Yara Kastelijn, means that Kastelijn would need to finish five places a head of Alvarado. Barring some crazy incident, Alvarado is safe. Annemarie Worst is essentially stuck in third overall, and would have to finish seven or eight places ahead of Kastelijn. We expect Worst to land on the podium, so she has an outside chance of pulling off the upset. Shirin van Anrooij finished third in the Elite Women’s race last weekend and we expect the same in Middelkerke. We have been super high on Worst this season and we are going to stick with that.

  1. Annemarie Worst
  2. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado
  3. Shirin van Anrooij 

Vestingcross

Elite Men

With the absence of Mathieu van der Poel, it’s time for the Belgians to finish the season strong by raking up the wins. Van der Poel has won all three additions of this race, so it’s time for someone else to join that list. We’re really high on Laurens Sweeck right now. However, we are really liking Toon Aerts to land on the top step of the podium. Tom Pidcock has an outside chance of breaking up the all Belgian podium, but that wont happen in Hulst.

  1. Toon Aerts
  2. Quinten Hermans
  3. Laurens Sweeck

Elite Women

We need to create a wheel of Dutch women riders, so that we can spin it to pick podium places. If Sanne Cant were able to break the Dutch stranglehold, we would be stoked. She just hasn’t had a good season thus far. Unfortunately, we don’t think she will come around in Hulst. Annemarie Worst finished ahead of Inge van der Heijden last year. Katie Compton was able to beat Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado for third. Editor’s note: Denise Betsema won the race, but was later removed as the winner due to a doping suspension. So let’s spin that wheel and see who lands on top.

  1. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado
  2. Annemarie Worst
  3. Yara Kastelijn

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