Stybar returns to form in Hamme-Zogge

Pauwels pips Nys for second

It took a long time but world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Cycling Team) finally captured his first big win of the season after three minor ones. On the extremely fast course in Zogge the Czech blasted away from his Belgian rivals halfway the race and managed to bring the win home.

"I'm over the moon for this victory. It has always been close the last few weeks but there was always someone better. Nevertheless I felt that every weekend it was going better. I have no specific goals this season because I just want to enjoy cyclo-cross. During the last lap I was all smiles and had goose bumps. It's unbelievable to realize that thousands of people are applauding you," Stybar said.

An in-form Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) was unable to hand his team manager and race organizer Jurgen Mettepenningen the victory. Pauwels won the sprint for second place from Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet). Niels Albert remains the overall leader of the Superprestige series after three rounds after claiming fourth on the day.

During the first half of the race it became clear that creating gaps on the fast course in foggy weather wasn't easy. Stybar, Nys and Albert had a go in front but when arriving on the finishing straight they all looked back and asked somebody else to do the work on the asphalt. No volunteers were found so each time the pace dropped on the road, allowing riders to bridge back up and create a peloton of about twenty riders.

During the fifth lap Pauwels led the pack through the soggy Zogge meadows that were stacked with stairs and fly-overs. When arriving at the finishing straight, Pauwels' efforts created a small lead together with Nys, Meeusen and Stybar.

This time Nys kept the pace high but when arriving back into the meadows Stybar blasted away. The Czech hammered through the twisting course at high speed while the chase behind wasn't picked up by any of the mainly Belgian chasers. "It wasn't up to me to close the gap," was the reaction from both Nys, Pauwels and Albert after the race.

Stybar realized it was the winning move. "Sometimes you have to go and try. I knew that it [tactical cease-fire] was going on behind me. If you have 15 seconds on a course like this it's difficult to be caught back," Stybar said. By the end of the sixth lap Stybar led the race with 21 seconds on a group of 17 riders.

The big guns in the chase group remained quiet during the following lap and Stybar added ten more seconds to his lead. Nys increased the speed in the following lap and the veteran slipped away together with Belgian champion Albert. Still, the duo didn't get a single second closer, not even when Stybar switched bikes because of a loosening brake.

In the background Pauwels was too far back when Albert and Nys launched their counter-attack but during the eighth lap the Sunweb rider bounced back and bridged up. With three more laps to go Stybar led the race with 26 seconds on the Belgian trio Nys, Albert and Pauwels. "That's when I thought that I wouldn't make it. I'd been going at 100 percent for two laps in a row; I was dead-empty," Stybar said.

Nevertheless Stybar stood tall and the jubilating Czech brought the win home. In the chase group Pauwels led the debates and his pace was too fast for Albert. "I lost a fraction of a second when clicking in my pedals and couldn't close that gap right away. By that time it was over for me. Fourth was good enough as I knew I wouldn't be losing much ground on Nys in the overall classification," Albert said.

In the sprint for second place Pauwels had no trouble to keep off Nys at 9 seconds from winner Stybar. Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus) popped out as best of the rest by winning the sprint for fifth place from Bart Aernouts (Rabobank–Giant - Offroad Team) at 33 seconds.

Small groups kept rolling in at short distance from each other. British rider Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) rode a steady race at the back of the first big group. "That was incredibly fast," Field stated after rolling across the line in 22nd place. US rider Jonathan Page (Planetbike) continued his series of poor performances as he once again didn't finish the race in Zogge.

In the overall standings Albert leads with 42 points. He lost one point in favour of runner-up Nys who now sits three points behind the Belgian champion; Stybar is third at five points. The next round of the Superprestige series is held next week in Gavere.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team1:04:20 
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:00:09 
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
4Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:31 
5Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:33 
6Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team  
7Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:00:41 
8Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco  
9Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea  
10Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:49 
11Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
12Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:51 
13Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA  
14Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:00:59 
15Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam  
16Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:01:05 
17Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA  
18Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.Aube  
19Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) WV Schijndel  
20Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team  
21Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept0:01:37 
22Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles  
23Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl0:01:45 
24Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor  
25Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb-Revor  
26Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl0:01:53 
27Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL0:02:10 
28Romain Lejeune (Fra) U.V.Aube0:02:15 
29Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:02:25 
30Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies  
31Toon Devenyns (Bel)  
32Bart Hofman (Bel)  
33Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Willems Veranda - Accent0:02:37 
34Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem0:02:44 
35Geert Wellens (Bel)0:02:56 
36Florian Le Corre (Fra)0:03:55 
37Kobus Hereijgers (Ned) WV Schijndel  
38 (-2 laps)Patrick Bassez  
DNFGerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team  
DNFRob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea  
DNFJonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles  
DNFMarcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland  
DNFJoeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea  
DNFSteven De Decker (Bel)  
DNFPatrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) TWC De Kempen  
DNFDavid Quist (USA)  
DNFNicolas Bazin (Fra) Team Big Mat-Auber 93  
DNFKristof Zegers (Bel)  
Superprestige standings after three rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus42 pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet39 
3Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team37 
4Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team32 
5Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea31 
6Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor30 
7Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea25 
8Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor23 
9Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus18 
10Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus17 
11Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet12 
12Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet10 
13Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco8 
14Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ  
15Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea  
16Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl7 pts
17Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor5 
18Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team4 
19Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea  
20Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team2 pts
21Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team  
22Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam1 

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