The 36 year-old Belgian national champion took flight on the fourth of eleven laps on the blistering fast course and never looked back. Lap after lap Nys worked his way through the huge crowds, always adding some precious seconds to his lead and giving him a relatively easy victory.
It was Nys' third win out of three in the Superprestige series and so he extended his lead over world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), who finished second in Zogge.
“This win was for my son. It’s his birthday tomorrow so this is a perfect gift. Especially because it’s a nice race,” Nys said.
“I didn’t honestly expect to go the distance that early in the race but once I was alone in front, I managed to ride a pace that I could do for without blowing up the engine. If they'd came back to me, I would still have something left.”
Nys explained that he didn’t notice when exactly he distanced the rest of the lead group during the fourth lap. Young rider Lars van der Haar (Rabo-Giant Offroad Team) struggled on a short steep bump and blocked the rest of the group, allowing Nys to take flight.
“I rode too close behind Nys. It’s a mistake like many other mistakes I’m still making but that’s part of being a young rider,” Van der Haar admitted.
Fellow big favourite Niels Albert had already taken out of contention when he messed up his start and rode outside the top-25 places for most of the first lap.
“I didn’t click into my pedal,” Albert sighed at the post-race press talk. “Somehow I tend to miss my start once in every ten races. I didn’t panic but when they crashed ahead of me, I lost contact with the guys in front."
The front group included Nys, Bart Aernouts (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) and race organizer Jurgen Mettepenningen's favourite: Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor).
During the third lap, Nys tried to get away but Pauwels quickly got back on his wheel. “Early on I felt like I was the second strongest rider in the race,” Pauwels said. A little later Van der Haar moved past Pauwels and looked good, until he struggled on the climb and allowed Nys to get a gap.
Albert was still moving up in the pack and during the fifth lap he surged forward towards the chase group. When Albert bridged up with Pauwels, Van der Haar and Aernouts, the gap on Nys was between ten and fifteen seconds. Albert tried to move up and lead the chase but then he suddenly lost contact with the chasers. It wasn't his day.
“My front derailleur was broken and my chain dropped off a couple of times. Before that I thought it was possible to close the gap on Nys. After that mechanical, the gap was too big,” Albert said.
From that point, Nys maintained his lead of half a minute over the chase group including Albert, Van der Haar and Pauwels. He covered the fast circuit at an average speed of 29 km/h. Pauwels had a mechanical too and when trying to get back to the other chasers he hit a pole. Albert and Van der Haar were gone to secure the placings, leaving Pauwels to try to get back to Aernouts.
While Nys comfortably grabbed the win, behind him Albert and Van der Haar fought for second place. At first they co-operated to keep Aernouts and Pauwels at distance. But on the last lap Albert was able to distance the young Dutchman, securing second place. Aernouts and Pauwels sprinted for fourth place and surprisingly it was Aernouts who proved to be the fastest. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) won the sprint in the big chase group at a minute from Nys.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony||1:01:36|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||0:00:18|
|3||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:00:19|
|4||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team||0:00:35|
|5||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|6||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:02|
|7||Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus|
|8||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus|
|9||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea|
|10||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||0:01:09|
|11||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team|
|12||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||0:01:11|
|13||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco||0:01:15|
|14||Aurilien Duval (Fra) UV Aube|
|15||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:01:22|
|16||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept||0:01:28|
|17||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:45|
|18||Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:01:49|
|19||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:01:50|
|20||Kevin Eeckhout (Bel)||0:01:51|
|21||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus||0:02:31|
|22||Micky van Empel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-KDL||0:02:33|
|23||Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Métropole|
|24||Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus||0:02:42|
|25||Stef Boden (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|26||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles-Specialized||0:02:46|
|27||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team|
|28||Jonathan Page (USA)||0:02:47|
|29||Mitchell Huenders (Ned)||0:03:44|
|30 (-1 lap)||Robby Cobbaert (Bel)|
|31||Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Hargroves Cycles-Specialized|
|32 (-3 laps)||Dave De Cleyn (Bel)|
|33||Pedro Baelen (Bel)|
|34 (-5 laps)||Alexander Revell (NZl) Revolution Bicycles|
|DNF||Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet - Fidea|
|DNF||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony|
|DNF||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - Fidea|
|DNF||Arnaud Grand (Swi) Telenet - Fidea|
|DNF||Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet - Fidea|
|DNF||Toon Devenyns (Bel)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony||45||pts|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||42|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||36|
|4||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||33|
|5||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team||32|
|6||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||29|
|7||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||21|
|8||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||20|
|9||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team||18|
|10||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||16|
|11||Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus||14|
|12||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||11|
|13||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team||9|
|14||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus||8|
|15||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus||6|
|16||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||5|
|17||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||4|
|18||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco||3|
|19||Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet-KDL|
|20||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept|
|21||Aurilien Duval (Fra) UV Aube||2||pts|
|22||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony|
|23||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||1|