The win by Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) at the fifth round of the UCI cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur, Belgium on Sunday came unexpectedly. The numerous climbs around the Namur citadel suited the light rider, but several rain showers turned the course into a muddy affair, which usually isn't his cup of tea.
The Belgian rider overcame his own doubts and crushed the opposition with a blistering performance. His second World Cup win puts him at only 11 points behind World Cup leader Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the general classification.
At the post-race press conference, the quiet Belgian fielded questions from reporters.
Question: Did you benefit from the elevation changes on the course?
Pauwels: On most of the climbing sections, you had to run so, that wasn't in my favour.
Q: What did you think - kick off the race with a bang and see what happens?
P: No, I took a pull, rode at my own pace and [Francis] Mourey got dropped. I rode most of the race at my own pace, and I did that well. I thought Niels [Albert] would come back. As soon as I had 30 seconds, I knew I had a good chance to win.
Q: Are you relieved that you won? It's only your third victory this season.
P: No, not quite, but I am happy with it. There's always been someone who's very good. It was Sven [Nys] or Niels. That makes it very hard to win.
Q: You're back up with the best in the World Cup standings...
P: Yes, I didn't expect that. I'm not focused on the World Cup really. Both Zolder and Hoogerheide are courses that suit me. Also Rome, I've heard it suits me, too. The course is in a city park. We'll see.
Q: You've been going better since the race in Antwerp. What happened?
P: I've been going better for a couple of weeks now. Maybe it was the training camp that I needed.
Q: You're aiming at the championships?
P: Everybody is focused on those, I guess.