By Jeff Jones
Bart Wellens (Fidea) continued his good run of form by winning the first round of the Superprestige series in Ruddervoorde, Belgium. On a fast, dry circuit, Wellens was too good in the sprint against Sven Nys (Rabobank), who was nevertheless satisfied with second place. In third was Wellens' teammate Wim Jacobs, who rode well to finish just 9 seconds behind.
During the race, Nys tried several times to get away from Wellens, but he could not and the odds were against him in a two man sprint. He also fell on the stairs on the last lap, but was able to come back to Wellens. "After Nys' fall, the best Wellens would have ridden away," said Wellens. "But I took advantage of the sprint. I wasn't good enough to ride away from him, and it didn't make sense for me to do a turn because my teammate Jacobs was behind us. In this race, the teamwork was very important.
"It's clear that Nys and I are the best. This was the first of many nice duels. You saw also that the public enjoyed it, what an atmosphere here in Ruddervoorde."
The World Champion Nys was relatively content with his second place, especially after his crash last weekend and subsequent balance problems. "I don't feel desperate after this," he said. "I finished here in the same time as Wellens, so I'm mentally ready for the following duels. I had the feeling during the race that I could take the initiative, but I didn't dare do it alone. This was a semi-road race and team tactics play a much bigger part.
"When I fell, I was perhaps just on the verge of getting a gap, but I was happy that I could come back. I really should work on my sprint, that was a disaster. I'm like a snail."
Read the entire Ruddervoorde Superprestige race report here.