Almost as if he had never been out of the picture Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) trounced his rivals in the mudfest up and around the Koppenberg during the second round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy. Due to the huge amounts of deep mud, the course was extremely tough. The 34-year-old Belgian champion didn't mind and dropped all his rivals during the first lap. He went on to destroy the opposition, exhibiting great skills and power while finding a way up and over the Koppenberg.
For Nys it was his eighth victory on the famous Flemish helling. Runner-up Niels Albert (BCKP-Powerplus) finished more than a minute behind the cyclo-cross legend, who hadn't won an important race this season. World champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) finished fourth and remains leader in the GvA-Trophy.
“I'm not worn out yet,” Nys said, when asked about his performance and status after the demonstration he gave on Monday afternoon. “Many people were talking about my age and that it would no longer be possible for me to battle up against the new generation. I'll be living on a cloud for a couple of weeks now because I rate this one very high. It's almost as important as the world championships to me."
Two youth races and a women's race turned the peaceful meadows on the climb near Melden into a mud-clad war zone. American cyclo-cross star Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) fancied his chances and he led the peloton through the first soaked meadow and then on to the Koppenberg. The unknown Italian rider Marco Bianco attacked on the cobbles but by the time the riders cornered right into the meadow on top of the Koppenberg, Page was back in the lead ahead of Nys, Stybar and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor).
Niels Albert missed his start and rode back in twentieth place and Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) was even riding outside the top-30. Nys accelerated for the first time near the top of the climb and he got away with Stybar and Vantornout, while Page went into the barriers on one of the first downhill corners and disappeared from the front. A little later, Vantornout dropped back into a group with Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team), Gerben de Knegt (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) and a well-recovering Albert.
When riding through the last field before cornering into the home straight Nys dropped Stybar. In hindsight, that was the moment the race ended. Nys never looked back and rode consistently faster than his rivals. “After the first lap I realized that things were working out great. Halfway people were shouting to me that it was in the bag but of course I had to remain focused,” Nys said.
Going into the last lap the Belgian champion had a comfortable gap of more than a minute over Albert but then Nys punctured. “For a moment I panicked. I had to continue on that tyre for half a lap and I gave all I had left in my tank; I don't want to repeat that any more,” Nys said.
Second-placed Albert heard about Nys' problem but didn't feel that it affected Nys at all. “On the road it doesn't help you but on the climb it surely didn't bother him. We all ride with really low tyre pressures on this course; we all feel every cobble of the Koppenberg,” Albert told Cyclingnews. In the end Nys didn't lose a single second and clinched his eighth win in the Koppenbergcross, and his seventh in a row.
Pauwels claimed the last podium spot a minute and a half behind Nys and the quiet Belgian was more than happy with that. “Last year I would have finished well off the podium in those conditions. It means I've taken a big step forward. This was a good weekend for me,” Pauwels said.
Halfway through the race, Stybar crashed and for a moment he was riding in seventh place. “That's when I thought that my classification was in danger. At that moment I believed that I could get a much better result. During the second lap I made too many mistakes and I lost focus. Eventually I captured fourth place and I'm happy with that,” Stybar said.
The Czech leads the GvA-Trophy with 45 points, five points clear of the Belgians Pauwels and Vantornout. Stybar defends his position at the head of the classification on November 20 during the third round of the GvA-Trophy in Hasselt, Belgium.
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||1:00:00|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:07|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:28|
|4||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:08|
|5||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:02:24|
|6||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||0:02:46|
|7||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:40|
|8||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||0:04:02|
|9||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus||0:04:10|
|10||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:26|
|11||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:46|
|12||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:04:56|
|13||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team||0:05:08|
|14||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team||0:05:17|
|15||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:05:35|
|16||Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS||0:06:00|
|17||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:06:15|
|18||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:06:53|
|19||Romain Villa (Fra)||0:07:12|
|20||Marco Bianco (Ita)||0:07:19|
|21||Ian Field (GBr) Hargrove Cycles||0:07:26|
|22||Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:07:44|
|23||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:07:47|
|24||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||0:08:03|
|25||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:08:52|
|26||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:09:04|
|27||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)||-2laps|
|28||Patrick Gaudy (Bel)|
|29||Marek Cichosz (Pol)|
|30||Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team|
|31||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team|
|32||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor|
|33||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus|
|34||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus|
|35||Wilant van Gils (Ned) CX Nederland|
|36||Stijn Huys (Bel)|
|37||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace||-3laps|
|38||Kevin Cant (Bel)|
|39||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|40||Alberto Candelas Caballero (Spa)|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||3||pts|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||2|
|3||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||1|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:08:21|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:00:05|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:07|
|1||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||45||pts|
|2||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||40|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||40|
|4||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||30|
|5||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||30|
|6||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||28|
|7||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus||27|
|8||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||27|
|9||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||24|
|10||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||20|
|11||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team||15|
|12||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||14|
|13||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||14|
|14||Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ||13|
|15||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||12|
|16||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||11|
|17||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team||11|
|18||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||11|
|19||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||9|
|20||Ian Field (GBr) Hargrove Cycles||8|
|21||Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS||5|
|22||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||4|
|23||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||3|
|24||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||3|
|25||Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team||2|
|26||Romain Villa (Fra)||2|
|27||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)||1|
|28||Marco Bianco (Ita)||1|
|1||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||3||pts|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||3|
|3||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||2|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||2|
|5||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||2|