IT was not the best of years for the Kermiscross in Ardooie today (Thursday) as their star attraction - World Champion Zdenek Stybar - crashed out with a suspected broken collarbone. It was Stybar's second and final early season ‘cross race and bizarrely it was also in Ardooie where he crashed horrifically in August's Eneco Tour.
European under-23 champion Michael Vanthourenhout (pictured winning in Ronse last weekend) rode magnificently throughout though and was a clear winner ahead of Tom Meeusen and Philpp Walsleben. It was Vanthourenhout's debut win in an elite pro race.
Belgian champion Sven Nys was unable to start through illness and the winner for the past two seasons Klaas Vantornout did not start either. Nys was traveling to the race from Oostende, after winning a new cyclocross category at the annual Flandrien Awards on Wednesday evening, and began to feel unwell on the journey to the race.
Klaas Vantornout, may have a wry smile on his face this evening, as the organisers reportedly did not have the budget to meet the start fee for him - a local star Belgian rider and the defending title-holder! Let's hope that next year's 21st edition of the Kermiscross goes a bit more smoothly.
Stybar has been taken to hospital in Roeselare and we wish him a speedy recovery.
UPDATE: The World Champion's right shoulder was operated on after he ruptured ligaments in the crash which dislocated his shoulder. Reports suggest that he clipped course side fencing in the muddy conditions.
Brief result: 1 Michael Vanthourenhout (BEL); 2 Tom Meeusen (BEL); 3 Philipp Walsleben (GER); 4 Joeri Adams (BEL).
NEWS REPORT OF THE RACE HERE (at 30:57): Het Journaal