Meeusen on top in Lille

Stybar and Pauwels second and third

Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) made up for missing out on a bronze medal at the cyclo-cross world championships in Koksijde last weekend by winning the penultimate round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy on a snowy frozen course in Lille, Belgium.

Meeusen took the initiative halfway through the race but couldn’t get away. In the last lap, however, he manoeuvred himself to the front of an eight-man leading group that stormed to the finish line. Meeusen held off all the big guns in the sprint and grabbed a fantastic first win of the season.

“They call me the iceman because I tend to perform well on ice. If there’s one snowflake people are already saying it’s a race for me. As far as I’m concerned, this weather can last forever,” Meeusen said on Sporza.

Starting the final sprint from the front didn’t seem to be the perfect position and Meeusen admitted that he would actually have preferred to have been in second wheel at that point. “I had to choose between allowing Nys to move ahead of me or leading out the sprint. I went for the second option,” Meeusen said.

As a result, Nys was in the best position but the Belgian champion quickly faded back in the sprint and finished fourth. “In the hectic manoeuvres ahead of the final sprint my chain must have dropped to the small ring. I didn’t realise and tried to shift up but that didn’t work out. I was able to stay on Meeusen’s wheel for a bit but then it was too fast to do more,” Nys said.

Behind the delighted winner it was Czech champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quickstep) who finished as runner-up ahead of series leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor). The latter lost three points to Stybar in this race but with an advantage of 12 points and only one round left, the overall win seems to be in the bag for Pauwels. “I sat a bit too far back in the sprint to have a chance. I lost a lot of energy by coming back to the front after a crash from Simunek held me back. I’m confident ahead of Oostmalle [final round of GvA series],” Pauwels said.

BKCP-Powerplus riders Dieter Vanthourenhout and Radomir Simunek had a great start and opened a gap due to a mistake from Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor). They were briefly accompanied by Vincent Baestaens (Landbouwkrediet) but the latter quickly crashed away. In contrast to the world championships race of last weekend fresh world champion Niels Albert missed his start. At the intermediate sprint after two laps Simunek and Dieter Vanthourenhout picked up the bonus points with Stybar taking the remaining point for this third place.

A little later, the two leaders were caught back and after four laps Sven Vanthourenhout led the race with a dozen riders following on his snowy heels. The presence of Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Revor) in front of this group showed that everybody with skills on a fast course had his chance on Saturday afternoon.

Sven Vanthourenhout kept riding dominantly in front together with Simunek and Meeusen. While riding in third position Simunek hit the deck. With the rest of the group being hindered by Simunek there were two leaders in front, Meeusen and Sven Vanthourenhout.

The duo quickly had a small gap of five seconds on Stybar but an impressive lead of 13 seconds on the fast course on Nys, Pauwels, Albert, Francis Mourey (FDJ-Big Mat) and the rest of the group. A powerful Pauwels neutralized the move from Stybar and a little later the leader in the series hammered through. The two leaders noticed Pauwels and the rest of the chase group on his heels and they sat up. Only eight riders survived the series of accelerations, including one surprising name with Marcel Meisen (BKCP-Powerplus).

A new move was then set up by the Landbouwkrediet riders. Both Nys and Sven Vanthourenhout moved to the front and when Nys slowed, his team-mate was gone. With two laps to go, Vanthourenhout had six seconds on the seven chasers. Albert took the initiative in the chase group but with Nys on his wheel the gap was not quickly closed. Things turned around in a left-hand corner when Sven Vanthourenhout hit the deck when his front wheel slipped away, and Albert closed the gap.

When hitting the final lap Albert, Nys, Meeusen, Vanthourenhout, Stybar, Pauwels and Meisen were the riders battling for the win. Mourey, Simunek and Vantornout sat a bit too far back to have a realistic chance. Albert and Meeusen led the debates early on in the final lap with Nys, Stybar and Pauwels waiting for an opportunity to move up. Halfway the lap the leaders stormed to an important right-hand corner heading into the forest and it was Stybar who took the lead ahead of Meeusen, Nys, Pauwels and Albert.

At the twist-and-turns, which included a run-down and two run-ups, Meeusen ran on the outside of the group and he battled himself ahead of Nys and Stybar into the lead. “Nys has won 780 races and I’ve not won that much so it was a bit more important to me,” Meeusen said. “That was on the limit but not over it,” Nys agreed.

When hitting the finishing straight Meeusen led out the sprint and he won ahead of Stybar, Pauwels and Nys. The latter made gestures in the direction of his pedal at the finish line which could mean that he was unable to defend his chances. Behind them Albert finished ahead of Simunek who threw his bike ahead of that of his teammate Meisen. Sven Vanthourenhout was last of the group.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 1:02:07  
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team    
3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor    
4 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
5 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:01  
6 Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:02  
7 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland    
8 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:00:03  
9 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:00:09  
10 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ 0:00:10  
11 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 0:00:22  
12 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:23  
13 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 0:00:24  
14 Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl    
15 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept 0:00:49  
16 Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) WV Schijndel 0:00:50  
17 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl    
18 Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 0:00:52  
19 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team 0:00:53  
20 Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem 0:01:22  
21 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team 0:01:32  
22 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 0:01:59  
23 Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl 0:02:10  
24 Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda 0:02:11  
25 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) TWC De Kempen    
26 Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies 0:02:12  
27 Ryan Trebon (USA) LTS-Felt 0:02:22  
28 Steven De Decker (Bel) 0:02:24  
29 Bart Verschueren (Bel) KDL-Landbouwkrediet 0:02:32  
30 Bart Hofman (Bel) 0:02:34  
31 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco 0:02:35  
32 Gianni Denolf (Bel) Baboco 0:02:45  
33 Jens Gys (Bel) 0:03:01  
34 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles 0:03:21  
35 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team 0:03:24  
36 Ben Berden (Bel) Ops Ale-Stoemper 0:03:25  
37 Kristof Cop (Bel) 0:03:35  
38 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) 0:03:36  
39 (-2 laps) Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl    
40 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) DCM-GB Vorselaar    
41 (-3 laps) Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh    
42 (-4 laps) Sten Raeymakers (Bel)    
43 Marco Bianco (Ita) L'Arcobaleno Carraro Team    
44 (-5 laps) Lewis Rattray (Aus)    
45 (-6 laps) Lorenz Couckuyt (Bel)    
Intermediate Sprint
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 3  pts
2 Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus 2  
3 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team 1  
Fastest Lap
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor    
2 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
3 Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus    
GvA Trofee standings after 7 rounds
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 154  pts
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team 142  
3 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 124  
4 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 114  
5 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 98  
6 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 85  
7 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team 72  
8 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 71  
9 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 70  
10 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 67  
11 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept 58  
12 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 56  
13 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl 53  
14 Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 39  
15 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco 38  
16 Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus 37  
17 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 35  
18 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team 33  
19 Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL 28  
20 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland 27  
21 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles 24  
22 Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl 19  
23 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team 15  
24 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 14  
25 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam    
26 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus 12  pts
27 Aurelien Duval (Fra) UVAube    
28 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor    
29 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ 11  pts
30 Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda 8  
31 Robert Gavenda (Svk) Landbouwkrediet - KDL 7  
32 Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl    
33 Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem    
34 Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) WV Schijndel 5  pts
35 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) 4  
36 Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team 3  
37 Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
38 Sascha Weber (Ger)    
39 Egoitz Murgoitio (Spa) 2  pts
40 Marco Bianco (Ita) L'Arcobaleno Carraro Team    
41 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) 1  
Sprint classification
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team 11  pts
2 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 8  
3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor 6  
4 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus    
5 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea    
6 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 3  pts
7 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor    
8 Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus    
9 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 2  pts
10 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea 1  
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