After the penultimate round of the cyclo-cross GvA Trophy the decision about the overall win is far from decided as three riders are theoretically still in the run for glory. Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) trails Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) by only two points, while Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) will play a role of importance too as he is twelve points behind Nys.
At the last round in Oostmalle, the winner can take 25 points while a second is good for 22 points, then 19, 17, 16 etc. At the intermediate sprint after two laps there are respectively three, two and one point at stake. Pauwels was winner of the penultimate round in Lille on Saturday afternoon which was a blow for leader Nys, who finished third in the spectacular sprint.
“I can still win it but I'll have to do everything I can,” Pauwels said. Last year Pauwels helped team-mate Zdenek Stybar to the overall win in the World Cup and then he received a PlayStation from the Czech. “Maybe he can do something back for me this year. I'm not going to ask him for help. I expect that he knows what to do,” Pauwels said.
World champion Stybar didn't need time to think about helping his teammate, even though they will be in different teams next season. “Of course I'll help if I can. Two points is nothing. We'll talk about it. It would be great for Kevin. Maybe he can give me a PlayStation too,” Stybar said.
“The overall ranking is not important for me. I can still finish second but winning is not really possible. Because of that I can start the last round with no pressure. I don't have to calculate and can simply focus on winning the race,” Stybar said.
According to Nys, there would be no role for Stybar in the final round of the GvA Trophy. “It will come down to a man-to-man battle. I think I have a very good chance to come out of the battle as winner but we'll see.
“I have good memories of Oostmalle because I have always ridden relaxed over there because the overall win was already mine, or because I no longer had a chance on the win. This year will be different but I'm taking on the challenge on a tactical course. It will be exciting,” Nys said.
During the tactical race in Lille, Pauwels showed a lot of initiative but he felt that he wasn't the strongest man in the race. “Sven was probably slightly better but luckily it came down to a sprint,” Pauwels said.
One would expect that Pauwels would be confident for the sprint as he already showed his sprinting abilities more than once this season with a win against Niels Albert in the World Cup at Pont-Château but also a bunch sprint victory in the Fleche du Sud.
Somehow the timid Belgian didn't believe in his chances before starting the sprint. “I actually feared that I would finish off the podium once again,” Pauwels said.
Clearly Nys is the more confident rider of the two but Pauwels showed in Lille that he doesn't need a lot of confidence to come out of the battle as the winner.