Emotional eighth title for Nys By Brecht Decaluwé Despite a disastrous start Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) bounced back to grab his eighth Belgian cyclo-cross championship title in Hooglede-Gits.
It was an emotional win for the 35-year-old winner who dealt with an injured back on the morning of the race. “It’s not particularly the performance but the way the day evolved,” an emotional Nys said. “I really thought I was going to disappoint everybody. For a couple of hours I was down-hearted and now this. Mentally I battled hard. This was emotional because I didn’t think I would be in the mix today.”
Co-favorite Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) started well but the defending champion couldn’t match the speed from Nys in the Hooglede mud and eventually he lost almost a minute on Nys. Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) surprisingly completed the podium after a strong ride on the 2007 world championships course.
The eventual winner had a disastrous start and in front the competition didn’t wait. While Nys rode outside the top-10 it was Albert who sped away in front. After the first lap the defending champion enjoyed a lead of ten seconds on a group with Peeters, Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea). Remarkably, Nys bridged back up with this group and early on in the second lap he was bridging up solo towards Albert.
By the end of that second lap Albert struggled for the first time to keep up with Nys although he didn’t crack just yet. The first chase group followed at 15 seconds and included Peeters, Meeusen, Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus), Sven Vanthourenhout and Kenneth Van Compernolle (Style & Concept).
Vantornout got dropped out of this group and abandoned before the race was halfway, riding straight on to his nearby home. Early on in the second lap Nys tackled a run-up which was followed by a steep muddy descent and long mud section very well. Albert quickly lost nearly ten seconds but he didn’t give in.
Nearly two laps long Albert remained at the same distance. “I didn’t plan to accelerate as it was up to Niels to come back on me. On this course you have to ride at your own speed,” Nys said. According to Albert that pace was simply too fast. “Once he had a gap I managed to hang on for two laps. Then I cracked and I realized that I was riding for second place,” Albert said. The advantage from Nys on Albert climbed up to half a minute and in the remaining laps the gap grew up to fifty seconds.
Most riders were riding on their own on the selective course and the podium spots seemed decided as Peeters had a safe gap on the following chasers Meeusen, Sven Vanthourenhout and Van Compernolle. The latter surprised many with his strong performance but he ran out of gas in the last lap.
“It’s a bit disappointing to finish eighth as I was battling for sixth place,” Van Compernolle said. Nys stood tall in the final laps and claimed his eighth title after a long solo ride. Albert and Peeters completed the podium. Nys’ buddy Sven Vanthourenhout won the battle for fourth place ahead of Meeusen. “I stared a bit too fast and from there I rode my own pace. That’s experience and it led to fourth place today,” Sven Vanthourenhout said. His cousin Dieter Vanthourenhout finished sixth. Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) didn’t find his usual legs but did win the sprint for seventh place from Van Compernolle and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team).
Kevin Pauwels struggled all race and finished tenth at more than four minutes from winner Nys. “My back hurt. It bothered me more and more as the race went on. My season was good already so it’s not so bad,” Pauwels said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet)||1:02:20|
|2||Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)||0:00:52|
|3||Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea)||0:01:17|
|4||Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet)||0:01:31|
|5||Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)||0:01:37|
|6||Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus)||0:02:13|
|7||Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept Cycling Team)||0:02:41|
|8||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Style & Concept Cycling Team)||0:03:05|
|9||Bart Aernouts (Rabo - Giant Offroad Team)||0:04:02|
|10||Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb Revor)||0:04:15|
|11||Joeri Adams (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)||0:05:27|
|12||Jim Aernouts (Sunweb Revor)||0:06:11|
|13||Vincent Baestaens (Landbouwkrediet)|