Sven Nys (Crelan - AA Drink) won the seventh round of the Bpost Bank Trophy cyclo-cross series by winning a three-man sprint with Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea). The Belgian champion extended his lead in the Bpost-series up to a massive gap of 4:05 over Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), who finished fifth in Lille at more than a minute from the three leaders. Meeusen moves into third overall at 8:33 from Nys.
The 37-year-old Belgian champion Nys was forced to work hard for it in Lille, Belgium. His last rival for the general classification, Niels Albert, took a great start, much in contrast with his disastrous opening lap at the world championships last weekend. Nys went wide on the first corner and ended up riding outside the top-10. At the intermediate sprint in the second lap, Albert grabbed 15 bonus seconds for the general classification, with Tom Meeusen on his wheel taking 10 seconds. Lars van der Haar led the chase group at nearly half a minute, taking the last five bonus seconds.
When Meeusen took over the initiative in front, Albert made some mistakes and quickly faded back. In the background, locomotive Nys got under steam with only Van der Haar being able to attach his wagon. Albert was quickly caught back and left behind by the duo. Meeusen was much harder to catch. He held on to a 10-second lead for a couple of laps.
"I had a hard job to come back on a strong Meeusen. I was confident that I would close it down because it's not easy to hold on to a 10-second lead. From there, it was a tactical battle," Nys told Sporza.
Meeusen and Nys then exchanged accelerations with Van der Haar often hanging in the ropes but always managing to come back. The young Dutch champion switched bikes every two laps while his rivals never entered the pit.
"I was never comfortably in the group, always the third wheel. When I returned to the front, they exchanged attacks," Van der Haar said.
When hitting the final lap, the three remained in the lead. Meeusen and Nys both believed in their chances to nail the win.
"Today I was as good as Nys. In the tactical battle I felt I had things under control," Meeusen told Sporza.
Nys made a strong acceleration halfway the final lap, but Meeusen managed to come back and just before entering the finishing straight, Van der Haar caught back up as well.
"I led out the sprint because after my earlier attack, I recovered a little while the others were on their limit to close it back down," Nys said. When starting the sprint, Meeusen suddenly sat up, waving his arms in frustration.
Nys easily won the sprint ahead of Van der Haar and Meeusen. Meeusen explained to Sporza what ruined his sprint. "In the sprint, my chain skipped a gear. It wasn't a shifting mistake because I was already in the right gear. Just like in Leuven [flatting in the last lap in a two-man battle with Nys], I'm losing out on the win due to details."
Nys didn't know what happened behind him. "I don't know if he [Tom] ran into trouble in the sprint, but I also held off Lars van der Haar who's a fast man, too," Nys said.
Van der Haar regretted Meeusen's bad luck as he wanted to use him to grab the victory. "In the sprint, Tom's chain blocked, and so I wasn't able to get back on Sven," Van der Haar said.
Pauwels was fourth at 38 seconds, well ahead of Albert and Corné van Kessel. US national champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) was 19th in Lille.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink Cycling Team||1:03:06|
|2||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team|
|3||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:04|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:38|
|5||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:01:08|
|6||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|7||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:01:16|
|8||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb–Napoleon Games||0:01:23|
|9||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team|
|10||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:01:44|
|11||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink Cycling Team|
|12||Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace Cycling Team|
|13||Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:01:51|
|14||Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) Team Natubalans-Apex||0:01:53|
|15||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:01:54|
|16||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:02:28|
|17||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:02:37|
|18||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team|
|19||Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha-Focus||0:02:48|
|20||Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:03|
|21||Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:05|
|22||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team||0:03:08|
|23||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||0:03:20|
|24||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:03:46|
|25||Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa) MMR Spiuk||0:03:53|
|26||Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Specialized-Garmar||0:03:54|
|27||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:04:16|
|28||Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist||0:04:24|
|29||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:04:26|
|30||Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Team Thielemans-Van Cauter||0:04:36|
|31||Kevin Cant (Bel) Primator Cyclingteam||0:04:57|
|32||Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:05:20|
|33||Patrick Gaudy (Bel) The Barracuda Company||0:05:55|
|34||Micki Van Empel (Ned) KDL Cycling Team||0:06:03|
|-1lap||Niels Koyen (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team|
|-2laps||Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Coolens Cycling Team|
|-2laps||Jens Gys (Bel)|
|-2laps||Bart Verschueren (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team|
|-3laps||Aaron Schooler (Can) Team H&R Block|
|-3laps||Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel)|
|-3laps||Wouter Goosen (Bel) Zannata Cycling Team|
|-4laps||Edwin De Wit (Bel)|
|-5laps||Teemu Viholainen (Bel)|