Nys beats Pauwels in tumultuous sprint in Koksijde

UCI turns down post-race protest

The third round of the World Cup in sandy Koksijde, Belgium, ended in a tumultuous sprint between Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor). Nys was first over the line but Pauwels' gestures showed that he didn't agree with the way the sprint unfolded. Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant - Offroad Team) was third ahead of world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) in fourth. Pauwels remains the leader in the UCI World Cup, but Nys trails him by only five points.

"I'm very happy with this victory. I had one of my better days of this season," Nys said. The 35-year-old needed a couple of laps to bridge up with the lead group that included Stybar, Pauwels, Aernouts, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ).

"My teammate did a great job by closing the gap on the road. I didn't have to make any additional effort," Nys said, heralding the efforts from Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet).

Once at the back of the lead group, Nys showed off his skills in a long, hilly, sandy section during the third lap. Nys choose a different line that seemed worse at first glance, but he simply blasted past everyone. The series of accelerations that followed created a four-man lead group with Nys, Pauwels, Stybar and Aernouts at the halfway point of the race.

For a few laps, this status quo remained, but with three laps to go, Nys punched away on the same sandy passage where he had impressed during the third lap. Pauwels smoothly bridged back up to Nys while Stybar held up Aernouts.

"More was possible for me. I probably shouldn't have been at the back of the group all the time," said Aernouts.

Several attacks from both Nys and Pauwels followed. During the penultimate lap, Nys powered away after Pauwels collided with a barrier. "I thought that was the decisive move for the victory, but I made a mistake. At the world championships, I can't make that mistake again," Nys said.

Roles were reversed about halfway through last lap, when Nys struggled in the long sand section and Pauwels seemed to be heading for the win. "I recovered from that, and we both headed for a sprint with sore legs," Nys said.

A debatable sprint concluded the race. Nys wanted to make sure he took the final corner first going into the asphalt. "It's a short road to the finish, but there was a strong headwind. I entered the corner at high speed and almost went into the barriers. Then I looked back and saw that no damage was done. At that moment Kevin was still behind me, and I opted to ride my sprint on the righthand side of the road. I don't think Kevin was ever next to me. I fought to get the victory, and Kevin had the choice to choose the other side," Nys said.

Pauwels claimed he was riding next to Nys. "I was halfway alongside his bike, maybe a little further back. When exiting the corner, I was immediately next to Nys with my wheel, so I had no other choice but move along to the right," Pauwels said.

Aernouts was a close third due to the poker game between Pauwels and Nys in the last lap. "I was able to see them, but I couldn't tell whether Pauwels was next to Nys or not and that's the key question here. We should've had one of those choppers from the airbase here to show what happened," Aernouts said.

Stybar lost a lot of ground in the final laps. The Czech was fourth at 45 seconds.

Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) missed out in the lead group after a disastrous passage in the sand during the third lap. He was never able to bridge back up but kept the leaders in sight, eventually finishing fifth. Vantornout, Mourey, Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Sven Vanthourenhout claimed positions six up to nine. Nicolas Bazin (Big Mat - Auber 93) surprised by cracking the top-10 on a demanding course.

British rider Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) will be content with his 22nd place while Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) quickly lost ground during the race and eventually faded to a 32nd place. "What to say, what to say? I need to train more specifically for Koksidje [sic] if I even want to have a chance at top 15 for the world champs. I'm disappointed. Yes. I learned a lot of things that I wouldn't have if I hadn't come over and raced Koksidje [sic]. I knew it wouldn't be easy," Powers tweeted. His compatriot Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) didn't finish the race.

The Nys-Pauwels debates among the 10,000 spectators heated up a chilly Koksijde where the sun was setting at the finish. No doubt the fans of both Pauwels and Nys will have much to talk about this evening.

Tomorrow is another race and undoubtedly the duo will clash again in Gieten, The Netherlands during the fifth leg of the Superprestige Series.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet1:03:18 
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Revor0:00:01 
3Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team0:00:06 
4Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:45 
5Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:00:51 
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Revor0:00:57 
7Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ0:01:08 
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:01:32 
9Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:02:00 
10Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 930:02:34 
11Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.Nl Cycling Team0:02:46 
12Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco Cycling Team0:03:10 
13Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti0:03:12 
14Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team0:03:21 
15Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus0:03:36 
16Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)0:03:45 
17Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:03:52 
18Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team0:04:03 
19Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ0:04:10 
20Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels0:04:15 
21Marco Bianco (Ita)0:04:32 
22Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles0:04:39 
23Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:04:54 
24Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.nl Cycling Team0:04:55 
25Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Cyclingteam De Rijke0:05:02 
26Aurelien Duval (Fra)  
27Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)0:05:35 
28Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:05:40 
29Cristian Cominelli (Ita) TX Active Bianchi0:05:47 
30Christian Heule (Swi) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.Com0:05:57 
31Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB - Racing0:06:06 
32Jeremy Powers (USA) Team Rapha Focus0:06:07 
33Marcel Meisen (Ger)0:06:18 
34Guillaume Perrot (Fra)0:06:20 
35Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:06:26 
36Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:06:30 
37Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb - Revor  
38Magnus Darvell (Swe)0:06:35 
39Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:06:53 
40Martin Zlamalik (Cze) KDL Trans0:07:08 
-1lapEddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team  
-1lapDavid Kasek (Cze)  
-1lapJohannes Sickmueller (Ger) Feenstra Stevens Bike Team  
-1lapJérome Chevallier (Fra)  
-1lapMarek Cichosz (Pol) Legia - Felt  
-1lapMilan Barenyi (Svk)  
-1lapIsaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)  
-2lapsRobert Gavenda (Svk) KDL Trans  
-3lapsRené Lang (Swi)  
-3lapsMartin Haring (Svk)  
-3lapsCraig Richey (Can)  
-3lapsGusty Bausch (Lux)  
-3lapsJavier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)  
-3lapsFabian Brzezinski (Ger)  
-5lapsJoachim Parbo (Den)  
-5lapsAgustin Navarro Vidal (Spa)  
-5lapsRobert Glajza (Svk)  
-5lapsDmitrijs Sorokins (Lat)  
-5lapsSigvard Kukk (Est)  
DNFSascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange - Magic Sportfood.de  
DNFJonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike  
DNFRadomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus  
DNFJohn Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNSFabio Ursi (Ita) Team CBE Tecnoimpiante A.S.D.  
DNSMarco Ponta (Ita)  
DNSMirko Tabacchi (Ita)  
DNSTommy Nielsen (Den)  

World Cup Standings after three rounds

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Revor220 pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet215 
3Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team195 
4Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Revor170 
5Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ168 
6Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team161 
7Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea155 
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea129 
9Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ118 
10Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti110 
11Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team106 
12Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.Nl Cycling Team102 
13Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 9399 
14Jeremy Powers (USA) Team Rapha Focus97 
15Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB - Racing96 
16Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Cyclingteam De Rijke95 
17Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team93 
18Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole91 
19Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus86 
20Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus85 
21Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco Cycling Team77 
22Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus73 
23Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team72 
24Cristian Cominelli (Ita) TX Active Bianchi70 
25Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles69 
26Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)65 
27Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.Com65 
28Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.Nl Cycling Team65 
29Marco Bianco (Ita)63 
30Marcel Meisen (Ger)63 
31Christian Heule (Swi) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.Com53 
32Martin Zlamalik (Cze) KDL Trans53 
33Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)51 
34Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet44 
35David Kasek (Cze)44 
36Petr Dlask (Cze) Rubena - Birell - Specialized Cycling Team39 
37Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike38 
38Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team35 
39Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team33 
40Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange - Magic-Sportfood.de33 
41Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels31 
42Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb - Revor28 
43Johannes Sickmueller (Ger) Feenstra Stevens Bike Team27 
44Jérome Chevallier (Fra)26 
45Aurelien Duval (Fra)25 
46Robert Gavenda (Svk) KDL Trans25 
47James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.com22 
48Karel Hnik (Cze) Telenet - Fidea20 
49Magnus Darvell (Swe)20 
50Marco Ponta (Ita)19 
51Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team19 
52Fabio Ursi (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.18 
53Guillaume Perrot (Fra)17 
54Ondrej Bambula (Cze)17 
55Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet16 
56Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team15 
57Milan Barenyi (Svk)14 
58Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - Fidea12 
59René Lang (Swi)12 
60Melvin Rulliere (Fra)11 
61Nico Brüngger (Swi)11 
62Martin Haring (Svk)10 
63Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)10 
64Marek Cichosz (Pol) Legia - Felt6 
65Ole Quast (Ger)5 
66Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)4 
67Vaclav Metlicka (Svk)3 
68Kenneth Hansen (Den)1 


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