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Spa Francorchamps Thru Patrick Verhoest's Lens!

This could easily be an amazing sculpture
This could easily be an amazing sculpture
Patrick Verhoest

Lovely day in Wallonia, and our man Patrick was there for the inaugural Spa Francorchamps SuperPrestige event! The course is within a Formula 1 venue of some repute, but whatever... it just looks like a cool place for a race.

Finish area

The Women's race saw Nikki Harris hold off Helen Wyman for the win, with Ellen Van Loy hot on their heels for the final podium place. Here's your podium heading up the course's main feature, a very nasty grass run-up.

Nikki Harris wins

Helen Wyman second

Van Loy third

Pretty good pain faces there. It was not an easy day, even by Cyclocross standards.

OK, the U-23 did not include Mathieu van der Poel, so of course reigning World Champ Wout Van Aert won, but not without an impressive push from Michael Vanthournhout.

Wout Van Aert approach

Michael Vanthournhout

Oh, and say hey to the top US U23 riders, Grant Ellwood (31) and Ian McPherson (30):

Grant Ellwood

Ian McPherson

OK, on to the Elite Men. And heeeeere they come!

Elite men swarm

This was a run-up of the highest order...

Klaas Vantornhout run

Bart Wellens hup

Sven Nys top

Notice anything different between these two? Sorry, I am endlessly fascinated with Pauwels' quirky ways.

Kevin Pauwels Klaas switch sides

Bearded guy (Mark McConnell). Everyone loves a big beard nowadays, I guess.

Mark McConnell beard

Eventually the race left the run-up and found a few other oddities, like the tunnel:

Leaders in tunnel

Sven Nys in tunnel

MvP didn't have his usual class today, settling for fourth.

Mathieu van der Poel

Eventually the race came down to Pauwels and Lars van der Haar:

Pauwels and lars van der haar

Pauwels, the crafty bugger, had a little extra on the day, and took the solo win.

Kevin Pauwels solo win

And that's your Day at the Races!

All photos by Patrick Verhoest.