Despite undergoing treatment with antibiotics, Belgian champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) powered his way to a second win since his comeback from a wrist injury in Loenhout, Belgium. Albert completed a long solo effort to claim the fifth round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy for his third career victory in Loenhout.
"From my nose to the top of my head it's all shut," said Albert. "With a nose spray with eucalyptus it opened up. Thanks to my great form I managed to make up for my illness. I had a huge amount of power in my legs and today the course demanded power."
World champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) was runner-up at 16 seconds, four seconds ahead of Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet).
GVA-Trophy leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) bounced back from a disastrous start to finish sixth. Pauwels remains overall leader after five rounds with 113 points, 12 more than Stybar and 30 up on Albert.
Right after the start the riders entered the first muddy section and Pauwels collided with another rider. The overall leader faced an uphill battle as he found himself in last place after his mishap.
"I didn't look back and went for it," said Pauwels. "Of course there was a lot of traffic and all those guys race for their spot as well. Suddenly I noticed Tom Meeusen and that gave me morale to keep going."
While Pauwels worked his way through the field of about 60 riders the men in front didn't wait. Dutch champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) and world champion Stybar avoided a crash from early race leader Mitchell Huenders (Rings) in the same muddy section.
Stybar picked up the three bonus points at the intermediate sprint after two laps, Boom picked up two points and sole chaser Albert the remaining point. Stybar dropped back during the third lap while Nys started to gain ground. His rush forward was halted when Nys crashed against a pole, got back on his bike and then found out his chain was dropped.
"I made an steering error. I lost a lot of time. It's frustrating because it was my own fault," Nys said. The problems cost him about 20 seconds.
Belgian champion vs Dutch champion
In front Albert bridged up with arch rival Boom. The duo was chased by Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Stybar but those two didn't make up any ground on the leaders. Nys and Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) then bridged up to this first chase group.
In front Boom clearly struggled in the technical sections where Albert showed off his skills, such as jumping over the small ditch at the pit zone entrance. On the long road to the finish Boom, however, used his road skills and steamed back onto Albert's wheel.
During the fifth lap of the race Boom got dropped again and this time for good. "There was way too much turning around for me. Hopping that ditch? I'm a road rider and I don't risk that stuff," Boom said.
Boom was soon caught by Nys and co. in the chase group and the Dutch star lent a hand by going flat out in the wind on the long road at the finish. The Dutch champion's effort brought them back to within 12 seconds of leader Albert with three more laps to go.
Boom quickly dropped out of the chase group and nobody else seemed to have the punch to get back to Albert. Accelerations from Peeters and Wellens didn't bring the group any closer and they trailed Albert by 18 seconds with two laps to go and 31 seconds when they heard the bell for the last lap.
On that final lap Nys and Stybar powered away towards the podium spots while Albert rode steadily at the head of affair. As Albert rolled onto the finishing straight he had plenty of time to enjoy the applause from the huge crowds in Loenhout. Stybar sprinted to second place with Nys not contesting the world champion. "I knew I was going to lose the sprint and didn't care about the GVA-points," Nys said.
Telenet-Fidea riders Peeters and Wellens finished fourth and fifth while Pauwels ended his run in sixth place at 1:13 from winner Albert.
Cousins Sven and Dieter Vanthourenhout finished seventh and eighth while Boom eventually rolled across the line in ninth place. French youngster Aurélien Duval (CC Charlott) completed the top-10.
A little further back Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) demonstrated his rising form. He was in the mix for thirteenth place for most of the race but a bobble dropped his chain and made him lose ground in the final laps. Page just fell short of catching the fever-struck Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and the American rider finished sixteenth. "I was consistent today but that little bobble cost me some spots. I keep coming up though," a content Page said at the finish line in cold and windy Loenhout.
The next round of the GVA-Trophy will held on Sunday afternoon, January 1, 2012 in Baal, hometown of today's winner Albert but also from the "Cannibal from Baal" Sven Nys.
|1||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:58:11|
|2||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team||0:00:16|
|3||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:00:20|
|4||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:00:27|
|5||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:00:40|
|6||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:13|
|7||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:01:21|
|8||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:33|
|9||Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank||0:01:39|
|10||Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.Aube||0:01:46|
|11||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept||0:02:23|
|12||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||0:02:29|
|13||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl|
|14||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:02:34|
|15||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:02:38|
|16||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles||0:02:42|
|17||Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL||0:02:55|
|18||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:03:01|
|19||Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea|
|20||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:03:19|
|21||Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole||0:03:26|
|22||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:03:34|
|23||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team|
|24||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team||0:03:35|
|25||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:04:05|
|26||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco||0:04:08|
|27||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:04:09|
|28||Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem||0:04:13|
|29||Florian Vögel (Swi)||0:04:29|
|30||Romain Lejeune (Fra) U.V.Aube||0:04:32|
|31||Kobus Hereijgers (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:04:58|
|32||Ben Berden (Bel) Ops Ale-Stoemper||0:05:21|
|33||Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda||0:05:41|
|34||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||0:05:50|
|35||Kristof Cop (Bel)||0:05:54|
|36||Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:06:13|
|37||Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies||0:06:15|
|38||Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar||0:06:59|
|39||Jimmy Tielens (Bel) Team DW Bikes||0:07:03|
|40||Sébastien Ugolini (Fra) CD Haute Garonne||0:07:06|
|41||Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing||-2laps|
|42||Mitchell Hoke (USA) Team Clif Bar|
|43||Marco Minnaard (Ned)|
|44||Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh||-3laps|
|45||Yoann Corbihan (Fra) Hennebont Cyclisme|
|46||Dries Pauwels (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team|
|47||Keiichi Tsujiura (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor|
|48||Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team|
|49||Ryan Knapp (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross|
|50||Jeremy Durrin (USA) J.A.M. Fund - NCC|
|51||Miguel Fillaut (Fra) ASPTT Rennes Cyclisme||-4laps|
|52||Romain Pinot (Fra) VS Quimperois|
|53||Jake Wells (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team|
|54||Steven Van Vooren (Bel)|
|55||Lewis Rattray (Aus)||-5laps|
|56||Scott Chalmers (GBr)|
|57||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels||-6laps|
|58||Andrew Stewart (GBr)|
|59||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|60||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team|
|61||Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb-Revor|
|1||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team||3||pts|
|2||Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank||2|
|3||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||1|
|1||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team||0:07:03.7|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:07:03.8|
|3||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:07:04.0|
|1||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||113||pts|
|2||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team||101|
|3||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||83|
|4||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||79|
|5||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||73|
|6||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||66|
|7||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||59|
|8||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||51|
|9||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||46|
|10||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||44|
|11||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept||43|
|12||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||41|
|13||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||38|
|14||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||36|
|15||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco||33|
|16||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||31|
|17||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||23|
|18||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||20|
|19||Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL||18|
|20||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team||15|
|21||Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank||14|
|22||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland||13|
|23||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles||13|
|24||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels||12|
|25||Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.Aube||11|
|26||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||9|
|27||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Landbouwkrediet - KDL||7|
|28||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||5|
|29||Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||5|
|30||Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda||4|
|31||Dave De Cleyn (Bel)||4|
|32||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||3|
|33||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||3|
|34||Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team||2|
|35||Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange - Magic-Sportfood.de||2|
|36||Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem||2|
|37||Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea||2|
|38||Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team||1|
|1||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team||9||pts|
|2||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||6|
|3||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||5|
|4||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||3|
|5||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||3|
|6||Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank||2|
|7||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||1|
|8||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||1|