Nys takes his seventh Koppenbergcross title

Nys gets the better of Albert, Belgian duo now share series lead

Belgian champion Sven Nys won an exciting tactical battle up and around the legendary Koppenberg with a devastating acceleration during the last climb up the greasy slopes of the famed cobbled climb. The 33-year-old grabbed his seventh victory in the Koppenberg Cyclo-cross, which has become a classic of the cyclo-cross season.

World champion Niels Albert finished in second place, four seconds behind Nys after an inconsistent race. The 23-year-old Belgian got stuck in the course marking tape during the first lap. Nys benefited maximally from this situation by grabbing the three bonus points during the intermediate sprint after two laps.

"This is the heydey of cyclo-cross. This is a classic race everybody talks about and remembers. Never before it was as exciting as this one, and it was tactically the hardest of all," the winner Nys said.

The riders' nerves were tested before the start when it started to pour down on the - until then - dry course in Melden, Belgium. One rider immediately encountered trouble during the first climb up the Koppenberg; it was Albert, who got a poor start and then got stuck in the course marking tape halfway up the climb. When the riders turn away from the cobbled road and hit the meadow on the right; all but a few riders had passed the World Champion.

In front Nys, Stybar, Klaas Vantornout and Francis Mourey didn't wait as they distanced themselves from the rest of the field. While the weather conditions improved, the World Champion seemed to do the same, and halfway through the second lap, Albert had returned toward the front and was in seventh position. That was too far to threaten Nys, Stybar and Vantornout for the intermediate sprint.

But it was also too early for the leaders to continue their efforts and the pace dropped, allowing more riders, including Albert, to make their way up to the first group.

Once Albert was back at the front, an unexpected scenario occurred. First it was Stybar who attacked, and he was later joined by Vantornout, Albert, and then also Nys, Kevin Pauwels, Bart Aernouts and French champion Francis Mourey. Albert didn't allow the others to take a breather, and he attacked right away, during the fourth lap, and fired off an unbelievably fast lap.

Stybar narrowly managed to hold on to the World Champion until they encountered a headwind on the home straight which was where Albert stopped pulling.

Five riders bridged up to them, resulting in a seven-man lead group halfway the race. Nys moved to the front, leading the group at a steady pace, and during the next lap, he launched an attack.

What nobody expected happened: Albert cracked and had to let go as Nys, Aernouts, Stybar and Pauwels rode away. However, the World Champion received another chance to win when the speed of the leaders dropped again on the home straight, and Albert even attacked on the final section of the climb during the penultimate lap, but his efforts were without success this time.

Eventually the group of seven riders hit the final lap, with nobody proving to be clearly stronger than the others. Mourey led the group on the first uphill section over the cobbles, but during the second part Nys fired forward.

First the Belgian champion had Vantornout on his wheel, but then he crossed the summit with a good advantage over both Vantornout and Albert. Albert rode a fast descent, came back to within four seconds of the lead, but not a second closer, which meant that Nys grabbed his seventh victory at the Koppenberg.

"Winning solo after such a late decision in the race is the most beautifal way to win a race," Nys said.

Nys and Albert now share the lead in the overall standing of the GvA-Trophy, with both riders holding 50 points.

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sven Nys (Bel)1:02:08 
2Niels Albert (Bel)0:00:04 
3Klaas Vantornout (Bel)0:00:07 
4Kevin Pauwels (Bel)  
5Zdenek Stybar (Cze)0:00:14 
6Françis Mourey (Fra)0:00:24 
7Bart Aernouts (Bel)0:01:04 
8Enrico Franzoi (Ita)0:01:15 
9Gerben de Knegt (Ned)  
10Erwin Vervecken (Bel)0:01:25 
11Mariusz Gil (Pol)0:01:27 
12Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)0:01:31 
13Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)0:01:34 
14Marco Bianco (Ita)0:01:38 
15Tom Van den Bosch (Bel)0:01:50 
16Radomir Simunek (Cze)0:01:53 
17Jan Verstraeten (Bel)0:01:55 
18Jonathan Page (USA)0:01:57 
19Rob Peeters (Bel)0:02:00 
20Philip Walsleben (Ger)0:02:04 
21Wilant van Gils (Ned)0:02:07 
22Jan Soetens (Bel)0:02:13 
23Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned)0:02:22 
24Quentin Bertholet (Bel)0:03:01 
25Ian Field (GBr)0:03:24 
26Wim Leemans (Bel)  
27Christian Heule (Swi)0:04:00 
28Thijs van Amerongen (Ned)0:04:28 
29Christophe Pfingsten (Ger)0:05:26 
30Lukas Kloucek (Cze)0:05:31 
-1lapAlexandre Wypelier (Fra)  
-1lapLudovic Pfirsch (Fra)  
Elite men Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee Veldrijden classification after two rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sven Nys (Bel)50 pts
2Niels Albert (Bel)50 
3Klaas Vantornout (Bel)39 
4Zdenek Stybar (Cze)38 
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel)32 
6Bart Aernouts (Bel)30 
7Erwin Vervecken en Gerben de Knegt (Ned)25 
9Enrico Franzoi (Ita)22 
10Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)21 
11Mariusz Gil (Pol)17 
12Radomir Simunek (Cze)16 
13Françis Mourey (Fra)15 
14Jonathan Page (USA)11 
15Christian Heule (Swi)10 
16Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)8 
17Marco Bianco (Ita)7 
18Jan Soetens en Tom Van den Bosch (Bel)6 
20Wilant van Gils (Ned)5 
21Ian Field (GBr)4 
21Jan Verstraeten (Bel)4 
23Thijs Al (Ned)3 
24Quentin Bertholet en Rob Peeters (Bel)2 
26Ben Berden en Philipp Walsleben (Bel)1 

 

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