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) TeamResult
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb Revor0:59:39 
2Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team  
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:01 
4Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:00:10 
5Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:28 
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Revor0:00:34 
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabo - Giant Offroad Team.  
8Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:00:43 
9Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:00:55 
10Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:01:00 
11Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
12Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept  
13Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:01:17 
14Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:01:18 
15Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabo - Giant Offroad Team.  
16Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink/ Pro0:01:43 
17Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam0:01:49 
18Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team  
19Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange0:01:58 
20Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb Revor  
21Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team  
22Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl0:02:09 
23Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink/ Pro0:02:20 
24Jelle Brackman (Bel)0:02:28 
25Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:02:34 
26Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)  
27Patrick Gaudy (Bel) The Barracuda Company0:02:38 
28Dave De Cleyn (Bel)  
29Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:03:07 
30Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem0:03:25 
31Jo Pirotte (Bel)0:03:40 
32Jimmy Tielens (Bel) Team DW Bikes0:04:05 
33Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team  
34Isaac Suarez (Spa)0:04:10 
35Paul Oldham (GBr)0:04:25 
36Robert Gavenda (Svk) KDL Trans-Landbouwkrediet  
37Dries Pauwels (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace - cycling team0:06:28 
38 (-2 laps)Dmitriy Sorokin (Lat)  
39 (-3 laps)Sigvard Kukk (Lat)  
40David Quist (USA)  
DNFMartin Zlamalik (Cze) KDL-Landbouwkrediet  
DNFRadomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus  
DNFMarco Bianco (Ita)  
Belgacom fastest lap
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team0:06:23 
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:06:24 
3Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:06:24 
Intermediate sprint
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team3 pts
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor2 
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet1 
GvA Trophy standings after three rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor81 pts
2Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team69 
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet60 
4Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea51 
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team46 
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor46 
7Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus33 
8Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea31 
9Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco30 
10Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus25 
11Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl23 
12Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet23 
13Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea22 
14Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team19 
15Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet19 
16Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept18 
17Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea14 
18Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus13 
19Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland13 
20Robert Gavenda (Svk) Landbouwkrediet - KDL7 
21Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team6 
22Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl5 
23Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl5 
24Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda4 
25Mitchell Huenders (Ned)4 
26Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team2 
27Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles  
28Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange2 pts
29Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team1 
30Jim Aernouts (Bel)1 


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