Sven Nys won the Jaarmarktcross in Niel, Belgium in a tight battle with world champion Niels Albert. While the race is no longer part of the GvA Trophy series, it was still hotly contested between Nys, Albert and Zdenek Stybar who was in contention until a last lap crash forced him to settle for third.
"It could have gone either way today, but it went my way," Nys said to Sporza after the race. "It was a intense battle between the three riders who are competing at a high level.
"On the climb up the Rupel dike I was the best and I could get a gap. Eventually it was also the spot where I had to let go of Niels Albert ... In the sprint it was always going to be tight. This time I won, and another time it will be Niels. But I'm glad that I could win again in Niel," Nys said.
World champion Niels Albert fell out of grace with the fans after an incident three laps from the end, when he blocked the road for Nys on a steep climb.
"I lost my balance and I was unaware that Nys was passing me. The crowd turned against me and I reacted with a gesture, which I shouldn't have done; but I would never block someone intentionally," Albert said to Sporza.
"It has been going on for a while this season, starting in Ruddervoorde. Now I understand how Lars Boom must have felt after the world championships in Hoogerheide. I understand his switch to the road where they can't shout. If people keep booing like this then maybe I have to do the same," Albert said.
Top-class international starting field
Although the Jaarmarktcross is no longer included in any classification but the UCI-ranking, a top-class starting field gathered near the church of Niel. The organization insisted and in the end World champion Niels Albert took the start as well, together with the four Mongolian riders from Johan Museeuw's team. The most important absentee today was Klaas Vantornout who is recovering from his torn shoulder tendon.
Nys took an unusually fast start and he was joined by Radomir Simunek, Niels Albert and also Zdenek Stybar. Halfway through the race Simunek was dropped out of the group and also his team-mate Albert lost contact with the others as he struggled to make it to the top of a steep climb. One lap later Albert rejoined the front and the next time the leaders hit the steep climb a manoeuvre from Albert caused some consternation.
Albert blocks the path of Nys
The world champion led the group up the climb on the right, lost speed and drifted to the left where Nys was hammering up the climb. Nys got boxed in and hit a pole, which wasn't appreciated by the many Nys fans in Niel.
Albert - who was now riding solo in front - rode accompanied by loud booing along the course next to the Rupel river. Albert indicated with a hand gesture to the crowd - somewhat provoking - that he couldn't hear them and to increase the volume.
As Nys and Stybar struggled to come back on Albert, he was pushing it to the limit. The next time Albert hit the climb, during the penultimate lap, he hopped off the bike rather quickly and so Nys and Stybar were able to rejoin the front.
Last lap decider
The three leaders hit the ultimate lap and early on Stybar dropped out of the group after sliding away in the same corner where Katie Compton lost her chances for the victory during the women's race.
Nys tried a late surprise attack by going through a puddle on the inside of a corner but eventually Albert and Nys reached the finishing straight together. Albert led out the sprint, but a fierce Nys quickly came past Albert, then struggled to develop the gap but persisted and grabbed a well-deserved victory.
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||1:00:05|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus|
|3||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:39|
|4||Radomír Šimunek Jr (Cze) BKCP - Power Plus||0:00:48|
|5||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank|
|6||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas|
|7||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:32|
|8||Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank|
|9||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Team BKCP-Power Plus|
|10||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL Trans NV|
|11||Jim Aernouts (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus|
|12||Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago|
|13||John Gadret (Fra)|
|14||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne|
|15||Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Vendée U Pays de la Loire||0:01:45|
|16||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW||0:01:53|
|17||Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team|
|18||Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux||0:02:05|
|19||Mariusz Gil (Pol) LKS Pom Strzelce Krajenskie||0:02:33|
|20||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Team Kuota - Indeland||0:02:51|
|21||Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida|
|22||Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob|
|23||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW|
|24||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team|
|25||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team||0:03:03|
|26||Wietse Bosmans (Bel)||0:03:07|
|27||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Projob||0:03:11|
|28||Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team||0:03:21|
|29||Kevin Cant (Bel) AVB - Cycling Team||0:03:25|
|30||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Het Snelle Wiel||0:03:43|
|31||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW||0:04:09|
|32||Jirí Polnický (Cze) Empella Czech Team||0:04:17|
|33||Dave De Cleyn (Bel) AVB - Cycling Team||0:04:23|
|34||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga (Spa)||0:04:31|
|35||Lukáš Kloucek (Cze) Sunweb - Projob Cycling Team||0:04:47|
|36||Flavien Dassonville (Fra)||0:05:15|
|37||Sven Beelen (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team||0:05:52|
|38 -1 lap||Nico Berckmans (Bel) Dcm-Gb Vorselaar Cycling Team VZW|
|39||Kobus Herygers (Bel)|
|40 -2 laps||Stijn Mortelmans (Bel)|
|41||Rudy Kowalski (Fra)|
|42 -5 laps||Alexandre Wypelier (Fra)|
|43||Ariunboldf Noaranbat (Mon)|
|44||Naran Khangarid (Mon)|
|45 -6 laps||Bold-Erdene Bolbaatar (Mol)|