With his tenth victory of the season Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) captured his fifth win out of five races in Leuven, Belgium during the last round of the Fidea Classics, turning those into the Sven Nys Classics. In Leuven Nys won ahead of Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) and French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ). Several top riders skipped the race in Leuven.
"It's a very nice winning streak. I'm glad I won here today but now I have to rest so that I'll be ready for Baal where everybody else will probably be at their best over there," Nys said on tv-channel VT4.
Eventual winner Nys moved onto the wheel of a quick-starting Peeters together with Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus) on the first lap. Nys' teammate Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet) and German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) were chasing at short distance after the first lap while a large group with Lars Boom (Rabobank), Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea), Francis Mourey and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) followed at twelve seconds from the three leaders. Mountain bike star Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized), the reigning cross country world champion, lost half a minute during the first lap.
While Peeters and Simunek set the pace up front, Nys backed off the pace slightly to await his teammate Sven Vanthourenhout. Once Vanthourenhout and Nys bridged back up the latter tried to slow the pace in front, but that trick didn't work out.
"I tried to get Sven into the lead group but Rob quickly took over the command and from there it was everybody for himself," Nys said.
"It wasn't quite a present for me because right away I had to let them go again," Vanthourenhout added.
At the end of the second lap Peeters and Nys powered perfectly through a muddy section and suddenly they had a huge gap of fifteen seconds over the first chasers: Mourey, Simunek, Vanthourenhout, Walsleben and Page. The latter lost ground during the fourth lap and dropped into a group with Wellens and Boom.
Mourey proved to be the strongest man in the chase and the Frenchman steamed towards the lead duo on his own. At the start of the fourth lap Mourey was only four seconds down on the two leaders while Vanthourenhout and Simunek trailed them by twenty seconds.
Nys didn't allow Mourey to make contact, however, as the Belgian set a rapid tempo through the first technical zone. Peeters stood tall but Mourey lost valuable time on that fourth lap.
Further back Simunek and Vanthourenhout remained in each other's company while a group with Walsleben, Wellens and Page was nearly a minute down on the leaders. The positions remained the same during the sixth lap although Boom started losing a lot of ground and the Dutch champion tumbled out of the top-15.
Waiting for the inevitable...
It was money time on the sixth lap as Nys moved into a higher gear at the first technical section. At first Peeters seemed to have an answer for Nys but by the end of the lap he trailed the Landbouwkrediet rider by four seconds. A comeback and an exciting finale wasn't possible and Peeters ended up consolidating his second place position during the last two laps.
"He knew my weak point in the start of the lap. I dropped and actually I dropped seriously as I lost almost half a minute right away," Peeters said.
Barring a last lap catastrophe amongst the top three, the podium spots were decided as Nys, Peeters and Mourey began the final circuit. Nys held a 32-second advantage on Peeters and a 1:10 margin on Mourey. Behind them Simunek ultimately got the best of Vanthourenhout as they crossed the line in fourth and fifth respectively.
In the next chase group with Page, Walsleben and Wellens the latter crashed into the fencing during the penultimate lap and he pulled out of the race. Page bobbled at a ditch and Walsleben easily headed for sixth place. The seventh place for Page is his best result in Belgium this season and it will boost the confidence of the American one week ahead of his national championships in Madison, Wisconsin.
Another notable result was the ninth place for Spain's Egoitz Murgoitio (Grupo Hirumet Taldea) behind first year professional Joeri Adams (Telenet-Fidea). Kenneth Van Compernolle (Style & Concept) completed the top-10 in Leuven.
Florian Vogel (Scott-Swisspower) was the best of the mountain bike stars by finishing in eighteenth place. His usual rival Kulhavy finished twenty-fifth in Leuven.
Before the race Nys promised to offer the winner's flowers to birthday boy Lars Boom. The now 26-year-old Dutch champion ultimately finished fifteenth.
On New Year's Day the top cyclo-cross riders battle each other on the home turf of Nys and Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in Baal, Belgium for the sixth round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy.
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||1:00:10|
|2||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:00:55|
|3||Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ||0:01:16|
|4||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:26|
|5||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:01:31|
|6||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||0:02:05|
|7||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles||0:02:14|
|8||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:02:26|
|9||Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea||0:02:30|
|10||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team||0:02:36|
|11||Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem||0:02:44|
|12||Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda||0:02:54|
|13||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:03:08|
|14||Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole||0:03:12|
|15||Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank||0:03:25|
|16||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:03:31|
|17||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:03:54|
|18||Florian Vögel (Swi)||0:04:16|
|19||Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team||0:04:38|
|20||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea||0:04:46|
|21||Arnaud Grand (Swi) Telenet-Fidea||0:04:56|
|22||Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:04:59|
|23||Tomas Paprstka (Cze)||0:05:29|
|24||Jo Pirotte (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace||0:05:36|
|25||Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Specialized||0:05:52|
|26||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||0:06:21|
|27||Bart Verschueren (Bel) KDL-Landbouwkrediet||0:06:35|
|28||Yannick Mayer (Ger) Team NSP|
|29||Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace||-2laps|
|30||Bart De Vocht (Bel)|
|31||Stijn Mortelmans (Bel) Palmans|
|32||Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa)|
|33||Christophe Balannec (Fra)|
|34||Dries Pauwels (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team|
|35||Jens Vandekinderen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea|
|36||Kristof Zegers (Bel)|
|37||Pablo Rodriguez Guede (Spa)||-3laps|
|38||Quentin Bertholet (Bel)|
|39||Bart Barkhuis (Ned)|
|40||Yoann Corbihan (Fra) Hennebont Cyclisme||-4laps|
|41||Jake Wells (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team|
|42||Alexis Caresmel (Fra)|
|43||Élie Regost (Fra)|
|44||Michael Cotty (GBr)|
|45||Felix Coté Bouvette (Can)|
|46||Kiernan Orange (Can) Ride with Rendall|
|47||Bruce Dalton (GBr)|