By Brecht Decaluwé and Gregor Brown
While many were working off holiday indulgences, Wednesday was just another day at the office for the likes of Sven Nys (Rabobank), Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) and Lars Boom (Rabobank). The trio went one-two-three off the front before 20,000 spectators as they raced by a lake in Hofstade, Belgium.
The three men escaped from a field of 58 riders just after the first lap, with Nys eventually winning solo to add yet another World Cup to his palmares. He was so pleased by the course, of which many riders approved, that he said, "This is why we became cyclo-cross riders."
Wellens made an unexpected rear exit from the lead group on lap four when he dropped back when completing a bike change. He found that he had not put enough air into his tires for the forest sections of the course. The two Rabobank team-mates worked solidly together to keep Wellens at a distance. "We took turns so we would stay in the lead," Nys said.
But Boom wasn't strong enough to stay with the UCI points leader Nys. "I allowed Boom to return at first because I could use his help, but eventually he got dropped anyway. I didn't attack, I just rode my own tempo," Nys explained how he kept Wellens on a safe distance and how he dropped his Dutch team-mate.
Nys went on to another World Cup victory while Wellens successfully accomplished a strong surge to catch and defeat Boom for second place.
The next World Cup leg is held in France on January 13, in Liévin. For full coverage of the World Cup in Hofstade, click here.