Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) won a muddy version of the Spades Cross in Loenhout, the fifth round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy, ahead of Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team). World champion Albert remains in the lead of the GvA Trophy with 121 points, five more than Nys and 13 more than Stybar.
This season Nys has run into all sorts of bad luck in the World Cup and the Superprestige Series, and added a collision with Albert and a crash to that list in Loenhout. Still, the Belgian champion managed to bounce back in muddy Loenhout and, thanks to his win, the 33-year-old Belgian is still in contention for the overall title in the GvA Trophy.
The three protagonists of cyclo-cross, Albert, Nys and Stybar, headed into the last lap together. Stybar was the first to be dropped while plowing through the mud. Then, Nys powered through a technical section on his bike where Albert dabbed his foot on the ground on a short climb. Nys held on to the seven-second gap and grabbed his ninth victory of the season.
"I won, with some juddering again, but I won. The last lap was an explosion of power, similar to what I did in Zolder and what I planned to do in Diegem," Nys told Sporza. "Early on I couldn't avoid Albert when he got stuck in the tape. I lost too many points because of that [in the intermediate sprint-ed.]. Then I slid out on a dangerous section at the bridge, but I wasn't bothered by all that.
"I had confidence and kept my composure because I knew I could win the race. It was a matter of making no more mistakes and being in front when I had to be there. I'm happy that I've re-found my strength and that I'm doing a good job for the [GvA] classification."
Runner-up Albert endured a tumultuous race in which he got stuck in the course tape plus got into an argument with Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank) and apparently also the crowd. "The cold and wetness was ok, I was more bothered by the pints of beer that were poured on top of me," Albert said.
At the end of the second lap Albert led the chase on sole leader Stybar. When Albert hit the finishing straight towards the intermediate sprint Dutchman De Knegt grabbed a bonus point away from the Belgian; the world champion responded with a middle finger and a fierce attack. "That was so weak from Gerben," Albert told Sporza. "I was leading those guys on the road, trying to get back on Zdenek and at the end of the road he comes to take the points. At that moment it was ridiculous. I'm sure he can use the points too, but then he should've worked on the road."
When asked about the final lap and how he lost touch with winner Nys, Albert said, "I made a small mistake. Sven took twenty meters and that was it."
Thanks to an early solo attack Stybar grabbed three bonus points at the intermediate sprint after two laps. In the end the Czech fell short and finished third, well ahead of fourth placed De Knegt. "During the last couple of laps I suffered from the cold. I made a mistake during the last lap and the other two were gone. It was matter of seconds but they were decisive," Stybar said.
The Czech champion is now trailing GvA series leader Albert by thirteen points but Stybar didn't mind that too much. "I'm happy that I finished on the podium once again," Stybar said, despite the fact that in Loenhout the gap between the three protagonists and the rest was once again huge.
Early on, Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP - Powerplus) was able to keep up with Nys, Albert and Stybar and he seemed to be working his way towards a surprising fourth place finish. Vanthourenhout's hopes were dashed, however, when he exchanged his bike in the pit and received a bike with a flat tyre.
De Knegt took advantage of the situation to grab fourth place while Vanthourenhout ended up battling in a group that featured Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team), Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas) and Rob Peeters (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago). The latter won the sprint for fifth place ahead of Vanthourenhout, Wellens and Franzoi.
Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team), winner of the World Cup round in Zolder and third in Diegem, had an off-day and finished only sixteenth in the mud at Loenhout.
The next round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy is held in Baal, on January 1 of the new year.
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||1:02:25|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||0:00:08|
|3||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:17|
|4||Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank||0:01:21|
|5||Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||0:01:42|
|6||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||0:01:45|
|7||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:47|
|8||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas||0:01:50|
|9||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank||0:01:54|
|10||Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team||0:01:58|
|11||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:02|
|12||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:02:17|
|13||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:02:34|
|14||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team|
|15||Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Baboco-Revor||0:02:45|
|16||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:50|
|17||Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom||0:02:57|
|18||Mariusz Gil (Pol) LKS Pom Strzelce Krajenskie||0:03:12|
|19||Bram Schmitz (Ned) Van Vliet - EBH Advocaten - Elshof|
|20||Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drinks Cycling Team||0:03:13|
|21||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Power Plus||0:04:09|
|22||James Driscoll (USA) Cyclocrossworld.com / Cannondale||0:04:13|
|23||Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida||0:04:35|
|24||Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team||0:04:51|
|25||Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team||0:05:03|
|26||Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Continental Team Differdange||0:05:15|
|27||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Rendementhypo Cycling Team||0:05:20|
|28||José-Antonio Hermida (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team||0:05:46|
|29||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL Trans NV||0:05:58|
|30||Troy Wells (USA) Clif Bar||0:06:03|
|31||Marek Chicosz (Pol)||0:06:21|
|32||Jody Crawforth (GBr) Arctic - Premier RT||0:06:25|
|33||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Het Snelle Wiel||0:06:29|
|34||Bart Verschueren (Bel) Revor Continental Team||0:06:43|
|35||Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:06:51|
|36||Ralph Näf (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team||0:06:58|
|37||Wim Leemans (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||0:07:23|
|38||Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Cyclocross Team Hamburg||0:07:58|
|39||Rudi Van Houts (Ned) TWC Tempo||0:08:09|
|40||Keiichi Tsujiura (Jpn)||-1lap|
|41||Magnus Darvell (Swe)|
|42||Clement Lhotellerie (Fra)|
|43||Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder|
|44||Lukáš Kloucek (Cze) Sunweb-Projob|
|45||Michael Opitz (Cze)|
|46||Yann Le Queau (Fra) Brest Iroise Cyclisme 2000|
|47||Paul Voß (Ger) Team Milram|
|48||Sebastien Le Naour (Fra)|
|49||Justin Lindine (USA) Bikereg.com/Joe's Garage/IF|
|50||Martin Haring (Svk)|
|51||Osmond Bakker (Can) EMDSerono-Specialized|
|52||Torsten Wittig (Ger)|
|53||Robert Glajza (Svk)||-3laps|
|54||Bolbaatar Bold-Erdene (Mgl) Snow Leopard|
|55||Masashi Matsui (Jpn)||-4laps|
|56||Ariunbold Naranbal (Mgl) Snow Leopard|
|DNF||Jeremy Powers (USA) Cyclocrossworld.com / Cannondale|
|DNF||Fabio Ursi (Ita) Centro Sportivo Esercito|
|DNF||Andreas Kugler (Swi) Coop BMC|
|DNF||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga (Spa)|
|DNF||Marco Bianco (Ita) L Arcobaleno Carraro Team|
|DNF||Gusty Bausch (Lux) LC Kayl|
|DNF||Mickael Bleuzen (Fra)|
|DNF||Mark Freudenberg (Ger)|
|DNF||Milan Barenyi (Svk)|
|DNF||Bram Wind (Ned) ORC Janvan Arckel|
|DNF||Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|DNF||Marco Ponta (Ita)|
|1||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||121||pts|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||116|
|3||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||108|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||76|
|5||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank||73|
|6||Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank||69|
|7||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||64|
|8||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob||61|
|9||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||51|
|10||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas||48|
|11||Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Baboco-Revor||41|
|12||Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||37|
|13||Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drinks Cycling Team||29|
|14||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob||26|
|15||Mariusz Gil (Pol) LKS Pom Strzelce Krajenskie||26|
|16||Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team||21|
|17||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||20|
|18||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team||17|
|19||Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team||15|
|20||Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux||15|
|21||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||14|
|22||Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team||12|
|23||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||11|
|24||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||10|
|25||Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida||9|
|26||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL Trans NV||7|
|27||Marco Bianco (Ita) L Arcobaleno Carraro Team||7|
|28||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/GSI||4|
|29||Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||4|
|30||Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom||4|
|31||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team||3|
|32||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Power Plus||2|
|33||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Rendementhypo Cycling Team||2|
|34||Bram Schmitz (Ned) Van Vliet - EBH Advocaten - Elshof||2|