During the fourth round of the Superprestige Series in Gavere, Belgium, the in-form Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) once again showed his class to pick up his second win of the weekend.
He finished solo with half a minute on Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) who won the sprint for second place from world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Cycling) and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant - Offroad Team).
Former Superprestige Series leader Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) was out with a wrist injury and he didn’t take the start in Gavere.
Stybar and Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) are the new leaders with 50 points which is five more than third-placed Pauwels.
“The way I rode away was really special. Before the race I thought about attacking at that point. When Nys attacked I felt I had something left in my tank while Nys was probably riding at the limit. Today I always had something left in my tank even though sometimes I sat far back in the group. I’ve won a lot already but for me it may continue. I don’t think I’ll lose form. More pressure? That’ll be alright,” Pauwels said.
At no point in the race did the riders have to hop off their bikes, making the race an extremely fast one. After three laps there were still 21 riders in the lead group as none of the top guns fired their ammunition just yet. Nys was the first to fire, two laps later there was a shot from Pauwels and in the seventh lap another one from Stybar.
The accelerations from the ‘big three’ on the long climb towards the Grenier castle often reduced the numbers but right after those attacks the speed dropped back. Seven laps into the race there were still nine riders in the front group of the race: Pauwels, Nys, Stybar and also Meeusen, Aernouts, Joeri Adams (Telenet-Fidea), Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea), Radomir Simunek (BCKP-Powerplus) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor).
The latter was pleased with the dominance of his teammate but disappointed by the fast courses. “Kevin is much stronger than the rest even though on these courses everybody is good. It’s really sad that there’s no mud,” Vantornout said.
Nys fired his second shot on the Grenier climb with three laps to go but it was Pauwels who easily followed and ceased his moment. The 27-year-old countered Nys and blasted away. In no time Pauwels had 16 seconds and in the two following laps he only extended his lead.
“Every moment in the race Kevin was able to drop us. Behind him we were not slowing down and still he rode away from us, that says enough,” Nys said. Behind Nys the world champion realized that he was sitting on the wrong wheel. “It wasn’t possible to pass Nys and right away Kevin had a big gap. It was a really strange race,” Stybar said.
One lap later - at the end of the penultimate lap - Wellens made a great solo move to capture second place but he was reeled back in the final meters. His teammate Meeusen won the sprint for second place from Stybar and Aernouts.
“It’s not so fair to claim second place because the others took much more initiative today but I’m very pleased with this,” Meeusen said. A little later Nys beat Vantornout and Wellens.
Simunek won the sprint for eighth place from Adams while the last top-10 spot were for Niels Wubben (Rabobank-Giant – Offroad Team), who beat Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) and teammate Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank-Giant – Offroad Team) in the sprint.
British rider Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) was 18th, at nearly two minutes. Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) seems on the way back up with his 21st place. British champion Paul Oldham (Hope) was 30th.
In the general classification of the Superprestige Series former leader Albert drops back to fifth place with his 42 points. Pauwels recovers from his poor performance during the first round in Ruddervoorde and he’s now third with 45 points, five less than new leaders Nys and Stybar.
|1||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||1:02:05|
|2||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:00:32|
|3||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team|
|4||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team|
|5||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:00:36|
|6||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:00:38|
|7||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:00:40|
|8||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:00:51|
|9||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea|
|10||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:01:11|
|11||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea|
|12||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team|
|13||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||0:01:17|
|14||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:18|
|15||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team||0:01:29|
|16||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:01:40|
|17||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco||0:01:43|
|18||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles||0:01:50|
|19||Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:56|
|20||Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||0:02:08|
|21||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles||0:02:30|
|22||Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ||0:03:02|
|23||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept||0:03:03|
|24||Isaac Suarez (Spa)|
|25||Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga (Spa)|
|26||Bart Hofman (Bel)||0:03:10|
|27||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:03:24|
|28||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Landbouwkrediet - KDL|
|29||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) TWC De Kempen||0:03:25|
|30||Paul Oldham (GBr)||0:03:49|
|31||Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL||0:05:31|
|32||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl|
|33||Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl|
|34||Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh|
|35||Dmitriy Sorokin (Lat)|
|36||Sigvard Kukk (Est)|
|1||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team||50||pts|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||50|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||45|
|4||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||44|
|5||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||42|
|6||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||40|
|7||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||39|
|8||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||33|
|9||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||26|
|10||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||19|
|11||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||12|
|12||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||12|
|13||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||10|
|14||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||10|
|15||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||9|
|16||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco||8|
|17||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||8|
|18||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||8|
|19||Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ||7|
|20||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||5|
|21||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team||2|
|22||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam||1|