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Frédéric Caudron is 'super in prestige'


Published by frits bakker

© © Harry van Nijlen/kozoom.com
Frédéric Caudron (r) and Eddy Leppens, the finalists in the Superprestige

LOMMEL - His next victory would make it a milestone, but with this ninth Superprestige gold, Frédéric Caudron already has the record. Before today, he and Raymond Ceulemans were both on eight wins. To make it nine, Caudron had to beat the Belgian nr. 1, organizer and home crowd favorite Eddy Leppens. The difference in prize money: 2500 euro for the winner, 1800 for the runner-up. Like last year's final against Eddy Merckx, it became a tense and close match. Caudron survived two match points by Leppens, then at 50-50 dealt a devastating blow from the penalty spots: a seven from the break and Leppens could only answer with two.

The final match of the week had everything to entertain the crowd: a high level, creativity, tension and a great climax. Caudron had the early initiative (11-0), a good lead just before halftime (23-10), but when he could only add two points in the next five innings, he was caught by Leppens.

The local boy cruised through the second half of the match, caught up at 36-36 and took a 45-40 lead after 24 innings. Caudron ran a seven, just in time, but had to sweat two matchpoints at 47-49. The first was a difficult double-the-rail that missed with slightly too much english, the second was a missed round-the-table. A little run of three took Caudron to the finish in the 28th inning, and Leppens equalized from the spots. Caudron put maximum pressure on his opponent in the shootout, running seven. Leppens scored from the points, made his second, but then missed.

It was the second time this tournament that a Caudron victory was in danger. Martin Spoormans too, had threatened the later winner in the group stage, with a run of fourteen and a 40-39 final score.

The Superprestige traditionally opened the new season, in which no doubt the Belgians will claim their place on the international stage. The two highest placed on the world ranking, Eddy Merckx and Roland Forthomme, had already been eliminated before the final day. Frédéric Caudron, who sometimes showed his fatigue from all the travelling, demonstrated in Lommel that his drop on the ranking has nothing to do with his ability, it was caused by a few unlucky World Cups. For the other finalist, Eddy Leppens, who keeps shining in all the Belgian tournaments, it remains a mystery why he can't reach the international summit.

The remaining two players in the semifinals could never mount a real challenge. Martin Spoormans was unable to repeat his surprise performance against Merckx, Leppens kept him on a tight leash from the first inning. The feared Spoormans tactics did not come into play at all: 16-1 to Leppens in four innings, and that became 35-9 after ten. Final score: 50-21 after 22. As coincidence would have it, Frédéric Caudron and Peter Ceulemans, spent from earlier rounds, produced the exact same final score.

The Superprestige will again be played in De Adelberg in Lommel next year.

Eddy Leppns was acclaimed best player of the year in Belgium, Kenny Miatton is the best talent.

Time for a photoshoot with The finalists pose with Peter van Velthoven, the mayor of Lommel and his sports assistent Yasmine Greek, wife of cyclist Johan van Summeren.

Martin Spoormans (r) beaten by Eddy Leppens in the semis

Peter Ceulemans

1 Frédéric Caudron

2 Eddy Leppens

3 Martin Spoormans en Peter Ceulemans

5 Jef Philipoom, Eddy Merckx, Marco Janssen en Steven van Acker.

The youth tournament, with the final played before the seniors, was won by Geoffrey Dresselaerts in the junior category and Kenny vander Mierde for the under-nineteens. Dresselaerts played an excellent final against Dylan Parent, winning it 25-12 in fifteen innings with a high run of ten (1.667/0.800). Kenny vander Mierde beat Stef van Hees 20-17 in 27 innings (0.740/0.629, high run eight).

Geoffrey Dresselaerts winner in the juniors tournament

Kenny vander Mierde won the tournament under 19