Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) dominated the seventh Superprestige round in Hoogstraten, Belgium, capturing the win ahead of Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea). With one more round left, he's already certain of his tenth overall victory in the Superprestige Series.
"It's not often that I say that what I do is special, but this time I can say that this won't be equalled in the near future," Nys said.
Mild temperatures and rain showers resulted in a soaked, muddy course on which many riders struggled to choose the best ruts on the fast descents. During the first lap Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) was the first to crash but many others followed his example.
Meanwhile, Nys limited his mistakes. During the first lap a lead group of seven was formed but after Nys' first acceleration only Pauwels was able to stay with the Superprestige legend. During the following laps it was clear he had the upper hand on Pauwels as the latter was constantly dropped on the climbs. "I was already struggling during the first lap to keep up with Nys," he admitted afterwards.
Halfway through the race Albert took over Pauwels' position in front but the Belgian champion also struggled to keep up with Nys on the climbs.
During the sixth lap, Albert made two mistakes and this time Nys was gone for good. "I had a lot of strength in my legs and felt good. On the asphalt I saved some energy to be fresh on the technical sections and avoid mistakes. In case Niels Albert returned I saved some energy but in the end it wasn't necessary," Nys said.
A key moment occurred when Albert hopped off the bike on a climb while Nys rode on and quickly gapped the Belgian champion. "Before that I got into a bad track and ended up sideways on the course. I didn't have enough speed to make it over the climb. It was a difficult course and choosing the right tracks was difficult today," Albert said.
The Belgian champion added that his second place was the best possible result for him in Hoogstraten. "Sven is the deserved winner today. It wasn't possible to beat him. He was very strong but I made two mistakes in half a lap and had to change bikes, that didn't help," Albert said.
Behind the two protagonists Pauwels held on to his third place. It wasn't what Saturday's winner expected. "I was surprised nobody returned from behind. I still felt the efforts from yesterday and the tough course with many ruts made it hard for my back. I didn't crash though and sometimes I made a detour to avoid deep ruts. I finished third but that wouldn't be the case if Stybar wouldn't have crashed," Pauwels said.
World champion Zdenek Stybar crashed several times on the tricky course and in hindsight the Czech can be happy that he didn't get injured. Up until his crash in the third lap Stybar was in the mix in front, but from there his crashes made a comeback impossible. "I crashed twice and after the second crash I didn't get back into the rhythm. I also started feeling pain in my back," Stybar told Sporza.
The world champion eventually finished sixth, just behind Vantornout and Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor). Arriving at the back of this group was young Kenneth Van Compernolle (Style & Concept). The 22-year-old captured his best result in a C1-race this season with a seventh place in Hoogstraten.
Almost half a minute later Gerben de Knegt (Rabo-Giant Offroad) won a battle with Jonathan Page for ninth place. Despite falling short in that battle Page was pleased with the outcome. "In the penultimate lap he [De Knegt] went skewy. Unintentionally I followed him and got stuck with my front wheel and crashed. That was my only mistake today," Page said.
The US rider has a lot on his mind recently with the birth of his third child Pearl Wendel this week and the sponsor planning for next season. "I'm very tired but not unhappy with the situation. Today I went as hard as I could and used others as much as possible but I was on my limit," Page said.
Next week the last Superprestige round is held for the first time at the North Sea coast in Middelkerke, Belgium. The overall winner is already known as it is impossible for anyone to gain enough points to unseat Nys, but the battle for second place is wide open with Pauwels, Albert and Stybar being only separated by only four points.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||1:00:29|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:00:34|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:06|
|4||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:17|
|5||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:29|
|6||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:38|
|7||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:42|
|8||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:05|
|9||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||0:02:26|
|10||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:02:34|
|11||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:56|
|12||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:03:39|
|13||Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS||0:03:46|
|14||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:48|
|15||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:03:52|
|16||Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team||0:04:40|
|17||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor||0:04:59|
|18||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team|
|19||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus|
|20 (-1 lap)||Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ|
|21||Kevin Cant (Bel)|
|22 (-2 laps)||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team|
|23||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)|
|24||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team|
|25 (-3 laps)||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus|
|26 (-4 laps)||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||97||pts|
|2||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||78|
|3||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||75|
|4||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||74|
|5||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||64|
|6||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||49|
|7||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||47|
|8||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||44|
|9||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||41|
|10||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||35|
|11||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||34|
|12||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||22|
|13||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||22|
|14||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus||20|
|15||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team||18|
|16||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||18|
|17||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||17|
|18||Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom||17|
|19||Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||14|
|20||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||11|
|21||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||9|
|22||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team||8|
|23||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||5|
|24||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||4|
|25||Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor||4|
|26||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||3|
|27||Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS||3|
|28||Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||2|
|29||John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||2|
|30||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||2|
|31||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||1|