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) TeamResult
1Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea1:02:07 
2Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team  
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor  
4Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
5Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:01 
6Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:02 
7Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland  
8Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:03 
9Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:09 
10Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ0:00:10 
11Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:00:22 
12Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:23 
13Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:00:24 
14Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl  
15Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept0:00:49 
16Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) WV Schijndel0:00:50 
17Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl  
18Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:00:52 
19Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:00:53 
20Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem0:01:22 
21Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:01:32 
22Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:01:59 
23Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl0:02:10 
24Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda0:02:11 
25Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) TWC De Kempen  
26Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies0:02:12 
27Ryan Trebon (USA) LTS-Felt0:02:22 
28Steven De Decker (Bel)0:02:24 
29Bart Verschueren (Bel) KDL-Landbouwkrediet0:02:32 
30Bart Hofman (Bel)0:02:34 
31Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco0:02:35 
32Gianni Denolf (Bel) Baboco0:02:45 
33Jens Gys (Bel)0:03:01 
34Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles0:03:21 
35Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team0:03:24 
36Ben Berden (Bel) Ops Ale-Stoemper0:03:25 
37Kristof Cop (Bel)0:03:35 
38Dave De Cleyn (Bel)0:03:36 
39 (-2 laps)Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl  
40Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) DCM-GB Vorselaar  
41 (-3 laps)Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh  
42 (-4 laps)Sten Raeymakers (Bel)  
43Marco Bianco (Ita) L'Arcobaleno Carraro Team  
44 (-5 laps)Lewis Rattray (Aus)  
45 (-6 laps)Lorenz Couckuyt (Bel)  
Intermediate Sprint
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus3 pts
2Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus2 
3Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team1 
Fastest Lap
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor  
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
3Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus  
GvA Trofee standings after 7 rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor154 pts
2Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team142 
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet124 
4Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus114 
5Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea98 
6Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea85 
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team72 
8Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet71 
9Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor70 
10Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea67 
11Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept58 
12Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus56 
13Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl53 
14Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea39 
15Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco38 
16Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus37 
17Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet35 
18Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team33 
19Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL28 
20Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland27 
21Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles24 
22Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl19 
23Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team15 
24Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank14 
25Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam  
26Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus12 pts
27Aurelien Duval (Fra) UVAube  
28Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor  
29Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ11 pts
30Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda8 
31Robert Gavenda (Svk) Landbouwkrediet - KDL7 
32Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontiennl  
33Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem  
34Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) WV Schijndel5 pts
35Dave De Cleyn (Bel)4 
36Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team3 
37Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
38Sascha Weber (Ger)  
39Egoitz Murgoitio (Spa)2 pts
40Marco Bianco (Ita) L'Arcobaleno Carraro Team  
41Julien Taramarcaz (Swi)1 
Sprint classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team11 pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet8 
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor6 
4Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus  
5Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea  
6Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus3 pts
7Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor  
8Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus  
9Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank2 pts
10Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea1 
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