Nys is King of Belgian 'cross

Belgium, regarded as the strongest cyclo-cross country, held its national championships for the 64th time and the frozen sand course in Oostmalle was the perfect location for a dramatic spectacle. Many riders went down and the favorites weren't spared from going down too.

Eventually Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) made least mistakes and the 33 year-old grabbed his seventh tricolore jersey. Klaas Vantornout finished as runner-up ahead of surprising youngster Tom Meeusen. World champion Niels Albert was riding in the main chasing group when he - according to the rider - was pulled off the bike by a Nys fan. A disappointed Albert finished ninth.

When crossing the line Nys was beaming of joy, even though it was his seventh title. "It certainly wasn't the easiest one. I planned to ride the first half hour comfortably in the group but due to crashes I ended up chasing and taking risks. Suddenly I was on my belly and when back on my bike my chain wasn't working along.

"I kept my composure and focused on picking up with the next group. Once at front I took the lead and went steady on the straights and then went as fast as I could through the corners, hoping the others would make mistakes," Nys said.

"It was unbelievable. When I was younger I would have made more mistakes, but I have the experience of bouncing back from a poor position, especially over the past few weeks. If you can steer well and you feel you can win then this is fantastic, adrenaline throughout your body. It's like Paul Herijgers says, this is my playground," Nys said.

While Nys was having trouble staying on his bike early on, the outsiders were having a go at front. Nys' buddy Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) claimed the hole shot and led the field through the first corners with teammate Klaas Vantornout and Tom Meeusen right behind him.

Right after Meeusen passed Vantornout the latter crashed and held up the bunch. During the second lap Meeusen slid away in a corner, leaving Vanthourenhout leading the race. The 28 year-old had a gap on a group with teammates Rob Peeters and Meeusen, while Vantornout was protecting his team-mate's attempt by riding at ease at the back of the group.

Behind these four, world champion Niels Albert was leading a chase group that included Bart Aernouts, Dieter Vanthourenhout, Erwin Vervecken and Bart Wellens. The latter was thrown out of contention for the title when he suffered a mechanical. It was a second blow for the Telenet-Fidea team after Kevin Pauwels was distanced with a chain problem during the first lap.

The fifth of eight laps turned things around. Sven Vanthourenhout slipped and was caught back by Peeters and Meeusen, while Vantornout was gapped. Further back Nys left the main chasing group behind which he had joined one lap earlier. It was during this lap Albert claimed that a Nys-fan took him down.

"Nys was going flat out, then Vervecken and me in third position. We were coming back on the leaders and then a Nys supporter pulled me off the bike. It's scandalous. They can do what they want: shout at me, spit at me and throw beer at me but they have to keep their hands off. It's not possible to race like that.

"It was certainly a Nys fan. I looked back and they were celebrating the feat. I'm not saying that I would've won the race, but it's sad that I had to lose it this way. Sven has to talk with his fans now. If he's not doing anything then I'm taking my conclusions and I'll be hard to get during the next races," Albert said. Fans who witnessed the incident confirmed on Sporza radio that Albert was taken down intentionally by a clearly drunk person.

Meanwhile, on the penultimate lap, there were five riders left battling for the title, which is worth almost as much as the world championships title in Belgium.

Nys took the lead for the first time in the race with Peeters ending up being the only rider able to hold his wheel. Halfway through the lap Peeters slipped away when cornering into the sole short climb on the course in Oostmalle. Nys was gone and hit the last lap as sole leader with eight seconds on the chasers.

Sven Vanthourenhout led the chase, but then he smashed into the fences. Meeusen was forced to brake hard and was spun around, while Vantornout manoeuvred in between the two riders and stormed away.

Nys wasn't allowed to ease off as Vantornout was closing in on him, taking huge risks. Eventually Vantornout made some minor mistakes and Nys had time to celebrate his victory during the last meters.

A surprising third place behind Nys and Vantornout was claimed by young Tom Meeusen. The 21 year-old was obliged to start with the Elite Men because he has a professional contract with Telenet-Fidea, but at the world championships he'll be contesting in the Under 23 category.

Meeusen gained respect with strong finishes in the elite races in Antwerp and Middelkerke, but even so, his third place was even more than what he expected himself.

"I can be happy and if everything would've gone my way more was possible. But I'm happy that I'm on the podium anyway. Sven Nys just told me that it wouldn't be the last time and if he says that of course that's something that makes me really proud. Riding with the big boys is already special but I wanted to make the race too and because of the excitement I went down twice," Meeusen said.

Finishing just ahead of him was Klaas Vantornout who had been out of competition several times during the last two weeks. "I wasn't the top favorite because I didn't race much during the last two weeks. It hurt my pride and because of that I was very motivated to prove some people wrong.

"I was having a good race and helped Sven Vanthourenhout to get away. I was comfortable on Nys' wheel until I made a mistake. During the last lap I took full risks and came very close but then some mistakes ended the battle. Second is good but I'd rather won," Vantornout said.

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Results men's elite
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet1:00:11
2Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor Cycling Team0:00:03
3Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:00:04
4Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:00:12
5Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Bkcp - Powerplus0:00:35
6Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabo Continental Team0:00:38
7Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor Cycling Team0:01:00
8Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Baboco Revor Cycling Team0:01:17
9Niels Albert (Bel) Bkcp - Powerplus0:01:39
10Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:01:43
11Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team0:02:09
12Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Kdl Trans Team0:02:12
13Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor Cycling Team0:02:21
14Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:04:36
15Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Aa Drink Cycling Team0:05:39
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Results men's elite without contract
1Geert Wellens (Bel) Scott Usa Cycling Team1:02:05
2Tom Vannoppen (Bel) Ridley Moosenwirt Team0:00:11
3Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans-Cras0:00:13
4Jimmy Tielens (Bel) Team Saeco Focus 2012 Vzw0:00:43
5Wim Leemans (Bel) Bkcp - Powerplus0:01:17
6Bart Verschueren (Bel) Cyclingchamps0:01:40
7Jan Van Dael (Bel) Sunweb-Revor Cycling Team0:01:51
8Stijn Penne (Bel) Sdc - Rogelli Cycling TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:02:06
10Kendric Van Grembergen (Bel) Sdc - Rogelli Cycling Team0:02:07
11Gianni Denolf (Bel) Bkcp - Powerplus0:02:08
12Jan Soetens (Bel) Colba-Mercury-Dourphonie0:02:32
13Kay Van Den Brande (Bel) Scott Usa Cycling Team0:02:38
14Kris Lapere (Bel) Mez Team Belgium Snellegem0:03:04
15Tom De Kort (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:03:30
16Steve Gruwier (Bel) Asfra Racing Team0:03:53
17Brecht Lippens (Bel) C.T. Keukens Buysse Knesselare0:04:12
18Sam Govaert (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:04:15
19Ken Smets (Bel) Kon. W.C. Steeds Vooraan - Kontich0:04:22
20Sten Raeymakers (Bel) Cyclocrossteam Freddy Sport Dilbeek0:07:15
21Jochem Danckaers (Bel)Row 20 - Cell 2
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Results men's under-23
1Jim Aernouts (Bel) Bkcp - Powerplus0:46:39
2Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam Vzw0:00:22
3Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Bkcp - Powerplus0:00:26
4Kevin Cant (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:00:30
5Sean De Bie (Bel) Pws Eijssen Cycling TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Angelo De Clercq (Bel) Sunweb-Revor Cycling Team0:00:43
7Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:00:45
8Stef Boden (Bel) Aa Cycling Team0:00:46
9Sven Beelen (Bel) Sunweb-Revor Cycling Team0:00:48
10Joeri Adams (Bel) Rabo Continental Team0:01:04
11Kristof Cop (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:01:20
12Dany Lacroix (Bel) Velo Club De L´Espoir Condruzien0:01:23
13Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Sunweb-Revor Cycling Team0:01:33
14Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) W.A.C. Team Hoboken (Kon.) V.Z.W.0:01:42
15Jonathan Bervoets (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:01:49
16Dries Pauwels (Bel) Empella Czech Team0:02:02
17Ritchie Denolf (Bel) Cyclingchamps0:02:04
18Gerry Druyts (Bel) Rock Werchter-Chocolade Jacques C.T.0:02:13
19Rinze De Proost (Bel) Off Road Club Bmx 2000 Dessel Vzw0:02:41
20Zeb Willems (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:03:12
21Niels Koyen (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:03:17
22Kristof Zegers (Bel) Cyclingchamps0:03:22
23Jan Van Zeebroeck (Bel) Sdc - Rogelli Cycling Team0:03:32
24Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:04:03
25Sonny Volders (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:04:15
26Jens Gys (Bel) Bianchi Nieuwe Hoop Tielen Vzw0:04:16
27Michaël Peeters (Bel) Kon. Edegem Bicycle Club V.Z.W.0:04:20
28Niels Beelen (Bel) Scott Usa Cycling Team0:05:08
29Jonas De Boey (Bel) Sdc - Rogelli Cycling Team0:05:15
30Vincent Van Hooste (Bel) Asfra Racing Team0:05:18
31Sieën Veestraeten (Bel) Sport En Steun - Leopoldsburg0:05:33
32Zeb Veestraeten (Bel) Sport En Steun - Leopoldsburg0:05:38
33Kevin Neirynck (Bel) Kon. Vc ´T Meetjesland - Knesselare0:05:40
34Wim Thijs (Bel) Kon. Edegem Bicycle Club V.Z.W.Row 33 - Cell 2
35Gregory Franckaert (Bel) Asfra Racing Team0:05:42
36Raf Risbourg (Bel) W.A.C. Team Hoboken (Kon.) V.Z.W.0:06:14
37Kenny Maes (Bel) De Toekomstvrienden Baal0:06:29
38Klaas Vankersschaever (Bel)0:06:30
39Stijn Mortelmans (Bel) Palmans-CrasRow 38 - Cell 2
40Niels Dirikx (Bel) Heylen Meubelcentrale Zlwc St.Truiden0:07:21
41Thomas Verbeek (Bel) De Kastelse Durvers V.Z.W.0:07:48
42Rutger Lahaye (Bel) Hageland Cycling TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Wim Allary (Bel) Kon. Vc ´T Meetjesland - KnesselareRow 42 - Cell 2
44Kristof Scheirs (Bel) Isorex Cycling TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Kenneth Goossens (Bel) Jonge Rakkers VollezeleRow 44 - Cell 2
46Joachim Janssens (Bel) Cyclocrossteam Freddy Sport DilbeekRow 45 - Cell 2
47Jonas Plasschaert (Bel) Cycling Team Pajot VzwRow 46 - Cell 2
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Results women's elite
1Sanne Cant (Bel) Team Ciclismo Mundial0:35:28
2Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam Vzw0:00:49
3Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Emversport International Cycling Team Vzw0:00:55
4Loes Sels (Bel) Afdeling Antwerpen - Wbv0:01:20
5Ludivine Henrion (Bel) Redsun Cycling Team0:01:29
6Nancy Bober (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VzwRow 5 - Cell 2
7Nicolle De Bie-Leyten (Bel) Avb - Cycling Team0:01:33
8Katrien Vermeiren (Bel) Emversport International Cycling Team Vzw0:02:00
9Anne Arnouts (Bel) Redsun Cycling Team0:02:04
10Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) V.Z.W. Royal Antwerp Bicycle Club0:02:26
11Ilse Vandekinderen (Bel) Bikesport - Probike Racing Team0:04:33
12Katrien Van Looy (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Thompson Ladies Team0:04:37
13Katrien Thijs (Bel) Kon. Edegem Bicycle Club V.Z.W.0:04:38
14Kristien Nelen (Bel) Goeman Scott Cycling0:05:07
15Kim Van Renterghem (Bel) Cycling Team M. Pinte0:07:29
16Laure Werner (Bel) Redsun Cycling Team0:08:14
17Marijke De Pauw (Bel) Wk Noord West BrabantRow 16 - Cell 2
18Sharon Defoor (Bel) Sdc - Rogelli Cycling Team0:08:50
19Katrien Aerts (Bel) Benelux Team0:09:52
20Sarah Vloemans (Bel) Wielerclub De Sprinters MalderenRow 19 - Cell 2
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Results women's youth
1Nathalie Nijns (Bel) Benelux Team0:29:06
2Steffy Van Den Haute (Bel) Afdeling Oost-Vlaanderen Wbv - Vzw0:00:04
3Elise Marchal (Bel) Super Bikers Ecole Vtt0:00:50
4Valerie Boonen (Bel) De Kastelse Durvers V.Z.W.0:00:51
5Larisa Jaspart (Bel) Lotto-Predictor-Vc Ardennes0:01:42
6Jessy Druyts (Bel) Dcm-Gb Vorselaar Cycling Team Vzw0:01:49
7Caren Commissaris (Bel) W.A.C. Team Hoboken (Kon.) V.Z.W.0:02:49
8Celine Van Severen (Bel) Tieltse Rennersclub0:03:49
9Shana Maes (Bel) Dcm-Gb Vorselaar Cycling Team Vzw0:04:36
10Maaike Lanssens (Bel) Wc De Molenspurters Meulebeke0:05:06
11Caitlyn La Haye (Bel) Hageland Cycling Team0:05:38
12Femke Lanssens (Bel) Wc De Molenspurters MeulebekeRow 11 - Cell 2


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