SWEECK STAYS 3RD IN SUPERPRESTIGE SERIES

Laurens Sweeck, the 22-year-old Belgian sensation who races for Era Real Estate – Circus aboard fi’zi:k saddles, finished fifth at Saturday’s Superprestige event at Spa-Francorchamps in his home country. On the circuit that’s better known worldwide for motor racing than human-powered efforts, Sweeck’s superb handling resembled that of F1 lap record-holder Sebastian Vettel as he maintained third position in the overall standings.

Fifth was an even more impressive result given that Sweeck had a spectacular fall early on, leaving him down in 17th. He remounted, and set about conquering a course whose long, steep climbs don’t naturally suit his riding style. Laurens’ twin brother, Diether, who also uses fi’zi:k saddles, didn’t fair quite so well, finishing down in 15th.

Saturday’s result didn’t dishearten Diether, however, and he looked a different rider 24hrs later at Zilvermeercross. From the off he unleashed a high wattage, and sat not too far back from the three riders who’d ultimately top the podium – Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert (who won in Spa the day before) and Tom Meeusen. As the race unfolded, Diether fell slightly back but kept a high tempo and enjoyed a powerful finish-line sprint to beat David van der Poel by literally millimetres.

As for fi’zi:k-riding Laurens, though never in contention for the victory, he showed what a strong rider he is by finishing fourth. Both riders now head to Mallorca for a brief training camp before further cyclocross events next weekend.

Over in America, cyclocross star Jeremy Powers headed to Oklahoma for the infamous Ruts N’ Guts event. In Saturday’s elite men’s race – Powers didn’t compete in Sunday’s race – Powers enjoyed a strong first half but showed signs of fatigue during the second half to finish 11th. Tobin Ortenblad took the victory.