Nys wins Superprestige Zonhoven

Belgian champion too strong for Albert in finale

Cyclo-cross lovers were offered a great spectacle during the second round of the Hansgrohe Superprestige series in Zonhoven, Belgium, when Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) and world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) battled for every inch in a hard-fought finale. Eventually Nys came out on top. The 36-year-old strengthened his lead in the Superprestige series after two rounds.

“It was fantastic to ride here,” Nys told TV-channel Vier. “Every year there’s more people and the sand quarry adds value to the 'cross. Then again, if you see how hard we fought for every second, every bit of space... That’s what people want to see. It’s the riders who make the race.”

The early moves in Zonhoven were opened by Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and Lars van der Haar (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team). Their efforts were neutralized once Albert moved to the front in the fourth of ten laps. The world champion got a small gap over Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) and Nys who, until that moment, didn’t mix in with the action up front.

In the chase of Albert it was Nys who worked hardest. Pauwels was on the limit and when diving into the sand quarry he hit a bump and went over the handlebars. In a battle of power and technical skills Nys came out ahead as he closed the gap of seven seconds on Albert by the end of the same fifth lap.

After two fast laps, two slower ones followed and van der Haar managed to bridge up with the two protagonists by the end of lap seven. The first chasers were Julien Taramarcaz (BMC), Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) and Pauwels at 18 seconds.

On lap 8 Nys showed off his skills by nearly riding out of the sand quarry. It created a gap but this time Albert managed to close the deficit halfway through the following lap.

“We were matched to each other as we both had a gap which the other closed down. It was clear that the bell lap would bring the decision. It was a matter of being in the lead at the right moment which was just ahead of the uphill sand section. If I was leading and made a mistake then Albert would have to hop off as well,” Nys said.

What followed was the best bit of cyclo-cross in recent times. Albert managed to sneak through on the inside in the downhill section with deep sand ahead of the left-hand corner leading to the uphill sand section.

“He passed me where I didn’t expect it at all. I was forced off my bike. [...] I tried to put my bike ahead of him but I only got it next to him,” Nys said.

Albert somehow managed to continue riding up the small path on the right side of the course.

“I played all or nothing there. [...] It cracked and clamoured but eventually we both had to run up the hill. Then I was on my limit while Nys had something left in his tank to pass me. That was game over for me,” Albert said. “It’s not a shame to lose against Sven Nys. Too bad it happens quite a lot lately.”

Bart Aernouts was best of the rest, ahead of Pauwels, van der Haar and Taramarcaz.

After winning the first round in Ruddervoorde, Nys's lead in the Superprestige increased to two points over Albert. Pauwels is third at five points behind the Belgian champion.

Full Results
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony1:01:53 
2Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus0:00:02 
3Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team0:00:12 
4Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:00:29 
5Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:00:42 
6Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:00:51 
7Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:01:16 
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:01:22 
9Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:02:06 
10Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus0:02:21 
11Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus0:02:29 
12Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:02:42 
13Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team0:02:44 
14Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept0:02:45 
15Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team  
16Arnaud Grand (Swi) Telenet - Fidea0:02:49 
17Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:02:55 
18Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:03:04 
19Aurelien Duval (Fra) UV Aube0:03:09 
20Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet - Fidea0:03:24 
21Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles-Specialized0:03:29 
22Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:04:20 
23Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus0:04:50 
24Jonathan Page (USA)0:05:34 
25Dave De Cleyn (Bel)  
26Micky van Empel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-KDL0:06:18 
27Jimmy Tielens (Bel)   -1lap
28Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco  
29Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus   -2laps
30Kevin Cant (Bel)  
31Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) 36Cycling   -3laps
32Mitchell Huenders (Ned)   -4laps
DNFArnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet - Fidea  
DNFVincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony  
DNFJim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor  
DNFChristoph Pfingsten (Ger) Cyclingteam De Rijke-Shanks  
DNFLubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus  
Superprestige standings after two rounds
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony30pts
2Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus28 
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor25 
4Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team20 
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team20 
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor19 
7Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea16 
8Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea14 
9Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team13 
10Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea11 
11Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus10 
12Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team9 
13Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus6 
14Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus5 
15Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor4 
16Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team4 
17Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet-KDL2 
18Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept2 
19Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony1 
20Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team1 
Back to top