Pauwels claims GVA Hasselt

Fast race decided on last half lap

After a tactical race on a surprisingly dry and fast course, Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) grabbed his first win of the season during the third round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy. The Belgian held off teammate Zdenek Stybar and Belgian champion Sven Nys after a blistering fast last lap in Hasselt.

Pauwels' fastest lap time offered him an additional 1000 euro, while World champion Stybar remains in the lead of the GvA-Trophy.

“It's great,” winner Pauwels said. “During the race I didn't know if I was better since Nys and Stybar were also riding fast. The legs were good and the course suited me much better than those from the previous weeks.

"At the pits I had more speed than the others and passed them. I knew I had to be in the lead at the sand section because the leader there would probably win the race,” Pauwels said.

The winner added that he was focused only on the day’s action rather than on the overall series, despite being the only rider within striking distance of Stybar. “I'm not busy with the overall standings. I can have a bad race too. I'll do the best I can and then we'll see what comes,” Pauwels said.

Meanwhile, Bart Wellens continued to improve, coming in fourth ahead of Rabo-Giant's Bart Aernouts, while former world champion Niels Albert rolled in behind for sixth.

While Flanders was stricken by floods last week, circumstances were rather different this week during the sixth edition of the ‘cross in Hasselt. A week ago the twisting course at the Japanese city park in Hasselt looked more like a Japanese lake. After three days of pumping 60000 litres an hour away from the course, the cyclo-cross peloton was able to tackle the almost dry and thus fast route.

Sunweb-Revor manager Jürgen Mettepenningen quickly saw three of his riders in the picture. Klaas Vantornout misjudged the first corner but somehow stayed on his bike, and in spite of hitting the barriers, he continued in the second half of the peloton. A few metres further on, however, the Belgian went down nevertheless. Vantornout was unable to continue and lost out on his second position overall in the GvA Trophy standings.

At the next corner Martin Zlamalik (Sunweb-Revor) spectacularly went over the handlebars at high speed. The Czech took teammate Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) and Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant Offroad) down with him. Meanwhile up front, Stybar put the hammer down and the Czech got away with Albert, Nys and Pauwels. Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus), Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus) were among those who bridged up during the following laps but they were left dangling at the back of the leading group.

By the end of the second lap, a hard-fought sprint for the bonus points had started. After the sand sector Nys created a gap on his rivals but Stybar returned just before the last corner. Nys and Stybar dug deep for the three points and eventually it was Stybar who overtook Nys on the line: three points for Stybar, two for Nys and one for Pauwels.

Despite an acceleration from Wellens, the unfortunate Aernouts recovered well from his crash and after clocking a long-lasting fastest lap time of 5:59 during the third lap, he bridged up to the leaders the next time around.

During the following laps, Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea), Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) bridged up to the eleven-man leader's group. The difference between riding at the front or the back of the group was huge, however, as the multiple corners offered the riders at the back little time to recover.

With three laps to go the six strongest riders were left in front: Aernouts, Albert, Nys, Pauwels, Stybar and Wellens were left in contention for the win. Nys opened up the gas during the penultimate lap with only Pauwels and Stybar following the Belgian champion swiftly.

The three remaining leaders hit the last lap with Pauwels taking the lead halfway through the circuit. Behind him, Nys and Stybar were fighting hard and when cornering into the all-important sand pit, Stybar moved into second place.

Pauwels successfully ploughed through the sand and after the last obstacle he had a gap on Stybar. On the asphalt section, Pauwels didn't slow down and went on to snatch his first win of the season.

Stybar persisted and although he fell short of the victory, his second place was enough to secure his lead in the GvA Trophy. Nys settled for third place ahead of Wellens and Aernouts; Albert finished sixth at almost twenty seconds behind Pauwels.

Meeusen won a direct duel with his rivals for World Cup selection by finishing seventh. Simunek came home just ahead of Belgians Rob Peeters and Dieter Vanthourenhout, while American representative Jonathan Page (Planetbike) didn't have a good start and he finished in a distant nineteenth place.

Full results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team1:01:19 
2Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:03 
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:05 
4Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:07 
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team  
6Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:20 
7Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:25 
8Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:29 
9Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team  
10Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus  
11Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:00:41 
12Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:00:45 
13Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:47 
14Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:49 
15Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:00:51 
16Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team0:01:35 
17Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:01:47 
18Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team  
19Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike  
20Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS0:01:51 
21Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team0:02:32 
22Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team  
23Jan Verstraete  
24Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)  
25Tom Vannoppen (Bel)  
26Marco Bianco (Ita)  
27Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team  
28Stijn Huys (Bel)0:03:46 
29Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:03:51 
30Kevin Cant (Bel)0:04:03 
31Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace0:04:13 
32Patrick Gaudy (Bel)0:04:20 
33Jo Pirotte0:04:55 
34Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv  
35Daan Bongers  
36Rob Vangenechten  
37Jorge Cantalicio  
38Caballero Candelas  
39Niels Vaes  
Intermediate sprint
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team3 pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet2 
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team1 
Fastest lap
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:05:54 
2Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:05:55 
3Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:05:58 
GVA Trophy Classification after 3 rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team70 pts
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team66 
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet49 
4Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team47 
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team46 
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor40 
7Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus39 
8Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team36 
9Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus35 
10Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team32 
11Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus25 
12Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team25 
13Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team20 
14Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus18 
15Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team17 
16Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team15 
17Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ13 
18Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team13 
19Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus13 
20Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor12 
21Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team9 
22Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles8 
23Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS6 
24Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team6 
25Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team4 
26Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor3 
27Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team2 
28Romain Villa (Fra)2 
29Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike2 
30Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)1 
31Marco Bianco (Ita)1 
Sprint classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team6 pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet5 
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team3 
4Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus2 
5Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor2 

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