Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) ran and rode through often ankle-deep mud to win the third round of the Superprestige series in Hamme-Zogge, Belgium and put aside world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) as leader in the series.
Race organizer Jurgen Mettepenningen hoped one of his Sunweb-Revor riders would win the race and though Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) came close, it was Nys who was ultimately proved fasted on and off the bike in the flooded fields of Zogge.
“I'm very satisfied because there was way too much running involved,” Nys said. “Three years ago the national championships were held in similar conditions on this course and then I lost the race before the start. This time I told myself: “You've won the last couple of races and you've got the best form of the pack, so go for it.”
Thanks to the win Nys also moved past world champion Zdenek Štybar (Telenet-Fidea) and Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant Offroad) to take top spot in the Superprestige series standing, a series he already won nine times.
“We're one step closer to a possible tenth overall win. I'm closing a gap on Stybar which was already significantly. Guys like Stybar and Albert tend not to finish off the podium quite often, so when they do it's ideal to grab the win. It's better to be ahead of them than to chase them,” Nys said.
A mud bath
Heavy rain during the last few days had turned the course into a quagmire, creating terrible conditions to compete in but a spectacular race to watch.
Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) created the first real split with four and a half laps to go but then Nys charged across to them, leaving Stybar stuck in the mud behind.
All three riders tried to attack during the final laps. Vantornout looked strong on the last lap and he accelerated while running through the mud but Nys chased him down and went past him
“I actually thought that it was the winning move. When I looked back I was surprised to see Nys running right behind me; his form is fantastic,” Vantornout said while reflecting on the last lap racing action.
While Nys showed persistence and hung on, Albert cracked and settled for third place. Nys then stormed past Vantornout inside the final kilometre to take another big win. For a moment Nys struggled in the sand and Vantornout got back to within ten metres but it was not enough.
“I made a small mistake that handed Nys a 20-metre lead but then I saw him flounder in the sand. It's a tough section and I still had one last acceleration left in my legs and believed in my chances if the race had finished in a sprint,” Vantornout said.
He didn't get that chance, as Nys held on to his small lead and headed to his first win of the season in the Superprestige series and prove he is back to his best.
World champion Stybar had been struggling with a back injury and toiled in the tough conditions. His team-mates Bart Wellens and Rob Peeters distanced him in the final laps to finish fourth and fifth, with Stybar sixth and losing his lead in the Superprestige series.
“I don't blame him (Peeters) for that. He's got to fight for his World Cup selection. Before the race I would've signed on the line for sixth place. I had a lot of pain when I was running, so every moment off the bike was one too many. I suffered a lot. Now it's time to recover,” Stybar said.
Page starts fast but empties the tank
American rider and Cyclingnews blogger Jonathan Page (Planetbike) arrived in Zogge after a great fourth place in Saturday's race in Dottignies under his belt. He set off with a bang during the first lap but from then on he steadily lost ground and eventually finished in 19th position. “After twenty minutes I had nothing left in my tank. Fitness-wise I'm ok but it's clear that three tough races in one week are a bit too much for me right now,” Page said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:59:58|
|2||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:00:04|
|3||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:00:40|
|4||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:10|
|5||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:26|
|6||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:37|
|7||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:48|
|8||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||0:01:57|
|9||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team||0:02:03|
|10||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||0:02:07|
|11||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:02:48|
|12||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:03:29|
|13||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:36|
|14||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:03:39|
|15||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:03:50|
|16||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:11|
|17||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:04:40|
|18||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||0:05:15|
|19||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:05:24|
|20||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor||0:06:22|
|21||Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:06:45|
|22||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||0:06:51|
|23||Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team||0:07:55|
|24||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:08:16|
|-1lap||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|-1lap||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus|
|-2laps||Bart Hofman (Bel)|
|-3laps||Craig Richey (Can) Cyclocrossracing.Com p/b Blue|
|-3laps||Carlos Hernandez (Spa)|
|-3laps||Jorge Cantalicio (Spa)|
|-3laps||Bart Verschueren (Bel)|
|-4laps||Roger Rodriguez (Spa)|
|-5laps||Manuel Martin (Spa)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||41||pts|
|2||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||40|
|3||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||33|
|3||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||33|
|5||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||32|
|6||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||31|
|7||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||21|
|8||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||20|
|9||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||15|
|10||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||15|
|11||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||13|
|12||Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom||12|
|12||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||12|
|14||Enrico Franzoi (Ita)||11|
|15||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team||7|
|16||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||6|
|17||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||5|
|18||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||4|
|19||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||3|
|19||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||3|
|21||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||1|