Pauwels pips Stybar in sprint

Nys trails in for third

Two years after being beaten on the line in Hasselt, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) returned to the town in Flanders to beat current cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Cycling Team), this time in a four-man sprint with Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea).

It’s the third win in a row for Pauwels in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy and the Belgian now holds a massive 12-points lead over Stybar in the general classification after three rounds.

“It’s too bad I missed out on one more point in the intermediate sprint,” a dead-serious Pauwels said. Instead of screaming out his joy this 27-year-old focused on what could be improved. “Two years ago I learned that if you want to win you need to enter the last corner in the lead so that’s what I did. I was a bit too sure of the win because Stybar almost passed me on the line. Luckily I didn’t raise my hands too early,” Pauwels added.

"It's always sad to lose by one centimeter or a few more," Stybar said. "It's a strange course here and I was never able to go flat out. Maybe it's because I'm not so fresh as this is a tough part of the season. Of course I want to win tomorrow but it will be hard after such a hard race like the one we had today," Stybar said.

The sprint victory for Pauwels was to be predicted as the fast course in sunny Hasselt didn’t offer much room for a selection up front during the first skirmishes. It was always going to come down to a sprint although some incidents helped to create a smaller lead group.
There was a nasty crash on the double tree trunk obstacles involving Czech ace Radomir Simunek (BCKP-Powerplus) during the second lap. Simunek took down Polish champion Mariusz Gil (Baboco) and Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) with him and ahead of them six men went the distance.

They were Pauwels, Stybar, Nys, Meeusen, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus). Nys powered through the sand pit with only Stybar and Pauwels sticking on his wheel. Stybar quite easily won the intermediate sprint for three bonus points ahead of Pauwels and Nys.

After the intermediate sprint Pauwels kept the pace high and by the end of the third lap had a handful of seconds on Stybar, while Nys struggled a bit further back with Vantornout and Vanthourenhout.

When Stybar bridged up to Pauwels early on in the fourth lap the latter sat up and a little later there were again six leaders. At this point in the race Nys and Stybar showed weaknesses in the sand pits where they often lost ground on Pauwels and a remarkably strong Meeusen.

"When I was hitting the sand first there were no tracks. It's easier to ride trough it when following someone," Stybar said. "At the end of the race things improved a lot as the tracks were still there when we reached the sand pit."

With each acceleration from the top guns Vantornout and Vanthourenhout struggled more and more to stay in touch with them. During the fifth lap Vantornout took his foot off the gas to recover but one lap later he exploited a tactical battle in the front group to bridge back up once again.

Very impressive was the comeback from Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant – Offroad Team) who connected with the lead group during the seventh lap. Aernouts quickly sneaked ahead of a struggling Vantornout but when reaching the tree trunks all his efforts were ruined. “I didn’t lift up one of my wheels as much as needed and went straight into the second tree trunk. I worked extremely hard for nothing,” a discouraged Aernouts said. Aernouts took down Vantornout with him and this time they were out of the lead group for good.

With two more laps to go it was crunch time: Nys surprised his rivals by hammering through the sand pit. “It was a desperate attempt because I’d been at the verge of being dropped all race long. Maybe it was too early but in the last lap the others would be even more on their toes,” Nys said.

The acceleration from Nys put the others in trouble and especially Pauwels, who was surprised. “I quickly realized that escaping solo wasn’t possible today. I decided to put my money on the last lap. I always kept everything under control but when Nys attacked that was no longer the case,” Pauwels said.

First Meeusen blocked his path and by the time Pauwels passed his young compatriot there was a gap to be closed. Eventually he managed to bridge back up to Nys and Stybar. A little later Pauwels was forced to chase again when Stybar and Nys gapped the rest in the second long sand pit. By the time the race entered the last lap Pauwels and Meeusen rejoined the lead.

In the first half of the last lap no gaps were created. All four leaders smoothly rode through the first long sand pit but at the tree trunks things were different. Meeusen tried to move up during the jumps but one foot clicked out of the pedal. Somehow he managed to stay on his bike and he soon blasted to the lead position. The big guns were unimpressed and by the time the leaders hit the second long sand pit Stybar led the group ahead of Pauwels, Nys and Meeusen.

“It was crucial to lead at that point. Pauwels knew it and I knew it but he was the one winning that first sprint,” Stybar said. Pauwels kept his hands on top of the handlebars after that corner but he easily headed for the win. “Ahead of the corner I preferred to be in touch with my brakes and shifters. I didn’t find time to switch the position of my hands,” Pauwels said.

After three rounds the 81 points for Pauwels offers him a lead of 12 points on Stybar while Nys trails by 9 more points. “It’s a massive lead but was it different last year,” Nys wondered while Pauwels wasn’t doubting anymore. “It’s looking good for me as it’s quite a lead already.”

The fourth round of the GVA-Trophy is held in Essen, Belgium on December 17. Tomorrow the big guns clash again during the cyclo-cross classic in Gavere which features as fourth round in the Superprestige Series.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb Revor 0:59:39  
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team    
3 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:00:01  
4 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:10  
5 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:28  
6 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Revor 0:00:34  
7 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabo - Giant Offroad Team.    
8 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team 0:00:43  
9 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:55  
10 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:01:00  
11 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
12 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept    
13 Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:01:17  
14 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 0:01:18  
15 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabo - Giant Offroad Team.    
16 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink/ Pro 0:01:43  
17 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam 0:01:49  
18 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team    
19 Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange 0:01:58  
20 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb Revor    
21 Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team    
22 Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA 0:02:09  
23 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink/ Pro 0:02:20  
24 Jelle Brackman (Bel) 0:02:28  
25 Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies Cycling Team 0:02:34  
26 Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)    
27 Patrick Gaudy (Bel) The Barracuda Company 0:02:38  
28 Dave De Cleyn (Bel)    
29 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team 0:03:07  
30 Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem 0:03:25  
31 Jo Pirotte (Bel) 0:03:40  
32 Jimmy Tielens (Bel) Team DW Bikes 0:04:05  
33 Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team    
34 Isaac Suarez (Spa) 0:04:10  
35 Paul Oldham (GBr) 0:04:25  
36 Robert Gavenda (Svk) KDL Trans-Landbouwkrediet    
37 Dries Pauwels (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace - cycling team 0:06:28  
38 (-2 laps) Dmitriy Sorokin (Lat)    
39 (-3 laps) Sigvard Kukk (Lat)    
40 David Quist (USA)    
DNF Martin Zlamalik (Cze) KDL-Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus    
DNF Marco Bianco (Ita)    
Belgacom fastest lap
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:06:23  
2 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 0:06:24  
3 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 0:06:24  
Intermediate sprint
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team 3  pts
2 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 2  
3 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 1  
GvA Trophy standings after three rounds
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 81  pts
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team 69  
3 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 60  
4 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 51  
5 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team 46  
6 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 46  
7 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 33  
8 Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 31  
9 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco 30  
10 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 25  
11 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA 23  
12 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 23  
13 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 22  
14 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team 19  
15 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 19  
16 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept 18  
17 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 14  
18 Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus 13  
19 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland 13  
20 Robert Gavenda (Svk) Landbouwkrediet - KDL 7  
21 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team 6  
22 Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA 5  
23 Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA 5  
24 Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda 4  
25 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) 4  
26 Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team 2  
27 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles    
28 Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange 2  pts
29 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team 1  
30 Jim Aernouts (Bel) 1  


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