Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) grabbed the biggest win of his career in a tumultuous fifth round of the Superprestige Series in Gieten, The Netherlands. The 23-year-old Belgian sprinted to victory from a four-man leader's group after a fast race on frozen subsoil.
Superprestige leader Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) was on Meeusen's wheel at the start of the paved finishing straight, but the Belgian champion snapped off his left pedal and was forced to run across the finish line. BKCP-Powerplus teammates Radomir Simunek and Dieter Vanthourenhout, also part of the four man lead group, both passed Nys to finish second and third while Nys had to settle for fourth.
"I'm super happy because this is my first big win," Meeusen said. "It's sad to see what happened with Sven because I'd rather beat him on his true value. Then again, 'cross is 'cross and today I won. Riding on a frozen subsoil was to my advantage because the best riders can't transfer their power on the bike like they usually do."
For runner-up Radomir Simunek Jr. (BKCP-Powerplus) it's the first major podium result of the season in a race dedicated to his father who passed away last summer. On the podium he received the flowers from his mother. "I'm very satisfied. Today I fought for my dad. I rode at 110 percent," Simunek said.
Meeusen's delight was in high contrast with Nys' frustration about his broken pedal. "I'm lucky not to crash hard," Nys said. His fourth place finish wasn't a bad result after all since his rivals for the Superprestige Series had an off-day. "I'm doing a good job in the series but I'm a winner and I'd rather had two points more; I'm annoyed that I didn't win."
Only Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) was able to score a sizeable amount of points, finishing fifth at 45 seconds off the pace of the four leaders. The other stars didn't shine in Gieten. Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) crashed hard when trying to close the gap to the four leaders. The experienced Belgian headed straight to the hospital while complaining about pain in his neck and wrist.
Saturday's World Cup winner Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) had a complete off-day on Sunday. After a disastrous start he never recovered and eventually pulled out of the race. World champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) was riding near the front of the race but ran into difficulties on the icy parcours. "I made a small mistake and had to switch bikes. After taking a new bike I bobbled. It's a real shame to lose out on the Superprestige after fighting so hard for it in Hamme-Zogge despite my sore knee," Stybar said. The world champion eventually failed to score any Superprestige points by finishing in 17th position.
Compared to the tough World Cup course in Koksijde on Saturday, the riders found a fast, frozen and twisting course in the north of The Netherlands. The average speed on the tricky course reached 29 km/h, challenging the bike handling skills of the riders as the circuit grew slipperier throughout the race.
Four riders separated themselves from the field approximately half way through the race and steadily extended their lead: Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet), Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and BKCP-Powerplus riders Dieter Vanthourenhout and Radomir Simunek Jr.
Meeusen and Nys proved the strongest of this group and the duo held a slight gap over the BKCP-Powerplus teammates entering the finishing straight. Meeusen led out the sprint with Nys tucked in behind, but the Belgian champion's left pedal snapped off the crankarm providing Meeusen with his biggest victory to date.
|1||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||1:02:40|
|2||Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:00:10|
|3||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus|
|4||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:00:25|
|5||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:45|
|6||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team|
|7||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team|
|8||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team|
|9||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team|
|10||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus||0:00:55|
|11||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:01:00|
|12||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:20|
|13||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team||0:01:25|
|14||Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||0:01:30|
|15||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:01:35|
|16||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor|
|17||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:40|
|18||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus||0:02:10|
|19||Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team|
|20||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team|
|21||Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor|
|22||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||0:02:25|
|23||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:02:55|
|24||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:03:55|
|25||Jordy Luisman (Ned) RSE Cycling Team||0:04:05|
|26||Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof||0:04:15|
|27||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)||0:04:25|
|28||Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||0:05:25|
|29||Tim Ottens (Ned)||-3laps|
|30||Michael Stenzel (Ger)||-4laps|
|31||Jorge Cantalicio (Spa)|
|32||Frank Huisman (Ned)||-5laps|
|33||Jos Feiken (Ned)||-6laps|
|34||Alberto Candelas (Spa)|
|35||Kaey Van Rij (Ned) PRC Delta|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||68||pts|
|2||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||56|
|3||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||51|
|4||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||49|
|5||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||46|
|6||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||45|
|7||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||39|
|8||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||35|
|9||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||28|
|10||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||23|
|11||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||18|
|12||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||17|
|13||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus||17|
|14||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||15|
|15||Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||14|
|16||Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom||12|
|17||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||12|
|18||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team||11|
|19||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||11|
|20||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||9|
|21||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team||7|
|22||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||4|
|23||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||3|
|24||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||3|
|25||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||3|
|26||Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||2|
|27||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||1|
|28||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||1|