Belgian champion Sven Nys returned to the top of the podium at the Superprestige opening round in Ruddervoorde, Belgium. He overcame a poor starting position which was the result of his sub-par performances earlier this season to bridge up to an aggressive start by world champion Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus) mid-way through the race.
Neither rider eased up and each tried to sneak away whenever he could. As the rain began to make the technical course more slippery Nys eventually soloed to the victory with more than half a minute to spare.
"I proved that my off-day in Treviso wasn't caused by a lack of form," Nys said. "I was sitting perfectly on my bike and then you know you can win. I took my time to move up towards Niels [Albert] and once up there I noticed he didn't have an acceleration left in his legs," Nys said.
Runner-up Albert played his cards early on but had to concede to Nys in the end. "Sven deserves the win. I wasn't recovered completely from Namur and gambled with a fast start today; I didn't have it in my legs though," Albert said.
Behind the two protagonists it was Stybar who held off Sven Vanthourenhout for third place with the latter riding a remarkable race, including a poor start and a slow comeback to the front. "Actually I wasn't planning to start today after yesterday's non-performance. I quickly noticed today was much better," Vanthourenhout said.
'Boring' race switches into revival from Nys
The race exploded right from the start as Albert fired away with nobody able to follow the world champion on the technical course. The Belgian slowly build up a lead of 12" over Zdenek Stybar and Klaas Vantornout and for moment it seemed like Albert would dominate a boring race.
The world champion never really got out of sight, and once Nys joined the chase halfway through the second lap the gap started to drop back.
Nys quickly left Stybar, Vantornout and Petr Dlask behind and went in search of Albert. It took the Belgian champion two laps but eventually he managed to bridge up to the young world champion, who seemed to be less fresh than the day before.
With four laps to go Nys gapped Albert and rode away metre by metre. The gap suddenly was 5 seconds, and then steadily further up to 15 when Nys hit the final lap.
Albert eased off and secured his second place. Stybar was able to get rid of Klaas Vantornout in the second half of the race, when the latter hit a pole with his pedal, but was then joined by his team-mate Sven Vanthourenhout in the final laps.
Eventually Stybar gapped the Belgian when going through the slippery corners as it started to rain and he was able to hold on to that narrow lead until the finish line.
Despite his crash, Vantornout secured fifth place ahead of Radomir Simunek and Bart Aernouts, who outsprinted Dieter Vanthourenhout and Enrico Franzoi. Kevin Pauwels rounded off the top-10 at 1:23 from winner Nys. US rider Jonathan Page rode an anonymous race and finished 18th.
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||0:59:23|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||0:00:40|
|3||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:59|
|4||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob||0:01:05|
|5||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob||0:01:12|
|6||Radomír Šimunek (Cze) BKCP - Power Plus|
|7||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank||0:01:16|
|8||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus|
|9||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas||0:01:23|
|10||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:32|
|11||Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank||0:01:48|
|12||Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team||0:02:00|
|13||Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||0:02:09|
|14||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL Trans NV||0:02:13|
|15||Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne||0:02:24|
|16||Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:35|
|17||Christian Heule (Swi) RendementhypoCycling Team||0:02:49|
|18||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:02:57|
|19||Mariusz Gil (Pol) LKS Pom Strzelce Krajenskie||0:03:08|
|20||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof||0:03:10|
|21||Wim Leemans (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus|
|22||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW||0:03:14|
|23||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne||0:03:16|
|24||Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida||0:03:25|
|25||Marco Bianco (Ita) L Arcobaleno Carraro Team||0:03:42|
|26||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW||0:03:50|
|27||Ben Berden (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team||0:03:51|
|28||Gianni Denolf (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus|
|29||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Het Snelle Wiel||0:04:08|
|30||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team||0:04:20|
|31||Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) Sint Oedenrode||0:04:23|
|32||Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans-Cras|
|33||Geert Wellens (Bel) AVB - Cycling Team||0:04:34|
|34||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/GSI||0:04:41|
|35||Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team||0:04:58|
|36||Bjorn Rondelez (Bel) Lingier Versluys Beachbikers Team||0:05:55|
|37||Daan De Jonge (Ned) Josan-Mercedes Team||0:06:45|
|38||Jerry Kallenfels (Ned) Easypay Cyclocross Team|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||15||pts|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||14|
|3||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team||13|
|4||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob||12|
|5||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob||11|
|6||Radomír Šimunek Ml (Cze) BKCP - Power Plus||10|
|7||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank||9|
|8||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||8|
|9||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas||7|
|10||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team||6|
|11||Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank||5|
|12||Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team||4|
|13||Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago||3|
|14||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL Trans NV||2|
|15||Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne||1|