With an overpowering ride at the sixth round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series in Diegem, Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) concluded his era on a Colnago bike with the panache and style worthy his world champion's kit. Nys dominated the evening race near Brussels from the start and finished alone, 21 seconds ahead of runner-up Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea). Superprestige series leader Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) was unable to grab a fifth consecutive win in Diegem and place third under the lights, 45 seconds down on the world champion.
With the victory Nys reduced Albert's overall lead in the Superprestige standings to six points.
"I had a day which you want to have at the championships," Nys told Sporza. "During the last five or six years I never rode like this. I led from start to finish. The rest weren't too far [back] but I always rode my pace.
"I was the only rider with Grifos at the start whereas the rest rode with Rhinos. I was always steering well except for that one minor slip I made," Nys told TV-channel Vier.
Nys had enough of a winning margin in Diegem that he was able to dismount just prior to the finish line and lift his Colnago bike in the air and kiss it goodbye as he walked across the line. "It's a worthy way of thanking and saying goodbye to the people I worked with for fifteen years, thanking the team and manager Gérard Bulens who says farewell to the sport."
Right from the start Nys took the initiative with Meeusen attentive on his wheel. Behind them Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) ran rather then bunny-hopped the barriers, made a mistake and the duo were gone. During the second lap Albert started the chase of the leading duo with only Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) able to keep up. The two pairs kept each other in check at seven seconds while further back Vantornout broke his rear derailleur and was forced to abandon the race. With that bit of bad luck Vantornout tumbled from second to fifth overall in the Superprestige series standings.
The tenor of the race changed on the third lap as Nys dropped Meeusen while Albert dropped Peeters. Soon afterwards Albert was chasing Nys with Meeusen on his wheel. While the gap to Nys wasn't large, closing the deficit seemed impossible as Nys had a firm grip on affairs.
During the fourth lap, however, that changed briefly when Nys crashed while taking a slippery right hand corner. "It's become a bit of a tradition that I'm going down at least once each race," said Nys. "It was a difficult corner and that's the risk when riding these tubulars. I didn't go over the limit. I shifted back for a moment and then restarted."
While Albert and Meeusen were able to make contact with Nys, straight away Albert found himself in trouble again under Nys's impetus and early on in the fifth lap the BKCP-Powerplus rider was dropped for good. Meeusen, meanwhile, stood tall and remained with Nys.
"I was seeing all the stars in the sky but I didn't care because I was on the podium," Meeusen told Vier. "I apologized to Nys that I didn't co-operate more but it wasn't possible."
During the seventh, penultimate lap the inevitable happened as Meeusen was dropped by Nys after a couple of short climbs. Nys continued to attack the course and then cruised to his fifth victory in Diegem with the celebration starting long before the finishing straight.
After Nys walked across the finish line in first with his Colnago aloft a delighted Meeusen celebrated his second place result with a wheelie. Albert kept the leaders in sight for a long time but then settled for third during the final laps.
"Every series must come to an end," Albert said. "When I get beaten in a fair way like Sven did today I can live with that. He was very dominant. Thinking about the championships one can only hope that Sven is in top form too early. I still need to fight hard to win the Superprestige. Six points is not a lot but it's not too little either. It would take two bad days for me to give it away."
Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was best of the rest more than a minute behind Nys in fourth place ahead of his compatriot Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah). Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) narrowly beat Peeters in the sprint for sixth place.
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||1:02:41|
|2||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:21|
|3||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:00:45|
|4||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-QuickStep||0:01:04|
|5||Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:01:08|
|6||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||0:01:18|
|7||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|8||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||0:02:01|
|9||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:02:04|
|10||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:02:07|
|11||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:09|
|12||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||0:02:32|
|13||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:54|
|14||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:03:13|
|15||Micki Van Empel (Ned) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:03:18|
|16||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:03:24|
|17||Patrick Gaudy (Bel) The Barracuda Company||0:03:29|
|18||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team||0:03:31|
|19||Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Team Thielemans-De Hauwere||0:04:12|
|20||Davy Commeyne (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty Cycling Team||0:04:18|
|21||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:04:26|
|22||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:04:42|
|23||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Dukla Trencin Trek||0:04:54|
|24||Kenneth Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Haderslev||0:05:07|
|25||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:05:30|
|26||Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica||0:05:37|
|27||Christian Helmig (Lux) Team Differdange-Losch||-1lap|
|28||Niels Koyen (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team|
|29||Yannick Mayer (Ger) Team Baier Landshut||-2laps|
|30||Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team|
|31||Alexander Revell (NZl) PNP Cycling Club|
|32||Christoph Ambroziak (Ger) Gunsha Racing Team||-3laps|
|33||Christophe Cavazzana (Fra) Etoile Sportive De Seynod||-4laps|
|DNF||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|DNF||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team|
|DNF||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team|
|DNF||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team|
|DNF||Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist|
|DNF||Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) Team Natubalans-Apex|
|DNF||Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange-Losch|
|DNS||Angus Edmond (NZl) Stevens-Malteni|
|DNS||Jeremy Durrin (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|1||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||79||pts|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||73|
|3||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||63|
|4||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||61|
|5||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||58|
|6||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||58|
|7||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||43|
|8||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||38|
|9||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||33|
|10||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||27|
|11||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||27|
|12||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||27|
|13||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team||23|
|14||Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||21|
|15||Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||20|
|16||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-QuickStep||12|
|17||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||10|
|18||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||9|
|19||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||9|
|20||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||8|
|21||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||6|
|22||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||4|
|23||Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||4|
|24||Micki Van Empel (Ned) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||3|
|25||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles-Specialized||2|
|26||Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Specialized-Garmar||2|