Wernimont and De Groote take AVS Cup lead

Nicolas Wernimont and Arne De Groote are the first leaders of the AVS Cup in Ghent. The Belgian duo scored 16 points. Britain’s Rhys Britton and Wil Tidball are second with the same amount of points, followed by Danish duo Matias Malmberg and Oliver Frederiksen on 15 points.

The first 120-lap points race was marked by a large crash involving several riders. France’s Florentin Lecamus Lambert had to abandon the race on the spot. Denmark’s Arne Birkemose and Anders Fynbo won the race ahead of Britton and Tidball. Belgian Bryan Boussaert and Dane Martin Mollerup were third. 

The second points race was won by Britain’s Zach Bridges and Sam Watson. They defeated their compatriots Britton and Tidball, followed by Malmberg and Frederiksen. 

The 166 metre time-trial went to Wernimont and De Groote. They proved too quick for Malberg-Frederiksen and fellow Belgians Brent Van Mulders and Tuur Dens. The first madison is scheduled for Thursday. 

‘SERIOUS DISADVANTAGE’ 

“Just like last year I win the first one-lap time-trial,” said De Groote. “Last year I was led out by Matthias Van Beethoven, now by Nicolas Wernimont. It’s remarkable because he’s only a second-year junior and he’s 17 kilos lighter than me. He has to push a lot of weight!” 

“He did a perfect job. It’s great to win the lap and take the lead. I want to be on the podium again on Sunday. Last year we had bad luck with Van Beethoven’s injury. My current team-mate is learning every day, but I’m impressed by what he showed today. We’re taking these Future Six Days day by day.”

The first madison follows on Thursday to give the foreign teams a day to get used to the steep track of ‘t Kuipke. “For us that’s actually a serious disadvantage,” De Groote added. “I would have loved to ride a madison on the first night, but that’s the way it is. The foreign riders now have an advantage the first two days, but we’re going to do everything we can to keep our lead.”