Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) won the Jaarmarktcross in Niel, Belgium on a a soaked, muddy course that suited him to perfection. Despite a pit incident, the Belgian 'cross champion finished solo 26 seconds ahead of Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus). Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) finished in third place, 1:33 down on Nys, for his first podium appearance of the season.
"This is a classic and even though it's not part of a classification there's no way you don't want to win here," Nys said. "I'm in a time of the season in which everything seems to work out well and it's a good moment in the season to be good."
Due to the incident in the pits - Nys's mechanics were not present to give him a clean bike, forcing Nys to wait - the Belgian champion lost 15 seconds to his nearest chaser, Niels Albert, but that didn't change the outcome of the race. "I had about 20 seconds time to recover while Niels was working hard. I told myself 'you were the best, just continue being the best'."
Strong winds and heavy rain showers turned the course in Niel into a soaked mudfest. With world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) absent, Sven Nys was the top favorite in Niel after his victory on the Koppenberg and his win in epic conditions in Ronse.
During the first lap Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) led the field along the Rupel river but when Nys accelerated at the end of the opening lap Wellens wasn't able to keep up. "My legs were feeling too good," Wellens said. "It's been a long time since I led a race and I was a bit too enthusiastic. When Nys accelerated I realized I had overdone it and I actually needed two laps to recover from that." Nys was the solo leader during the second lap, then was joined first by Niels Albert and one lap later Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) to form a leading trio.
Halfway through the race Nys accelerated again and this time the gaps behind him were massive. Albert trailed Nys by almost twenty seconds, Pauwels was at half a minute and Wellens fell to nearly a minute behind the leader.
With two laps to go, however, when Nys seemed comfortably on his way towards his fifth victory of the season, an unusual spectacle happened for the Belgian champion in the pits. Nys entered the first pit and found that none of his mechanics were there. By the time a mechanic appeared with a clean bike Albert was back on Nys's wheel. The pit incident ultimately didn't alter the outcome of the race as Nys quickly left Albert behind again and crossed the finish line almost half a minute ahead of his young compatriot.
Wellens turned around affairs during the closing laps and overtook his teammate Pauwels for third place, at a respectable 1:33 behind Nys. Notable performances in Niel also came from Thijs Van Amerongen (AA Drink Cycling Team) and Kenneth Van Compernolle (Sunweb-Revor), who captured surprising top 10 results.
American rider and Cyclingnews blogger Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) was battling in eleventh position until the wind got the better of some course tape which ended up in his derailleur. The incident happened near a pit and Page eventually finished 14th in Niel. "It's all right. My back pain is behind me and I was in the mix for a decent result. I'm satisfied and looking forward to the upcoming races," Page told Cyclingnews.
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||1:02:15|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:00:26|
|3||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:33|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:13|
|5||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:40|
|6||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:46|
|7||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:03:06|
|8||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:03:19|
|9||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team||0:03:37|
|10||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:03:48|
|11||Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:04:14|
|12||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus||0:04:22|
|13||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:04:32|
|14||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:04:44|
|15||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:05:07|
|16||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:05:25|
|17||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||0:05:38|
|18||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:05:48|
|19||Joeri Adams (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team|
|20||Jim Aernouts (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus|
|21||Twan van den Brand (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil|
|22||Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus|
|23||Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole|
|24||Dave De Cleyn (Bel) AVB Cycling Team||-1lap|
|25||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|26||Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team||-2laps|
|27||Geert Wellens (Bel) Champion System LBS Team|
|28||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace|
|29||Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil|
|30||Stijn Mortelmans (Bel) Palmans-Cras|
|31||Rudy Kowalski (Fra)|
|32||Carlos Hernandez Garcia (Spa)|
|33||Flavien Dassonville (Fra) Nogent Sur Oise|
|34||Alexis Caresmel (Bel)|
|35||Jorge Rodriguez Garcia (Fra)||-4laps|
|36||Diego Martínez (Spa)|
|37||Daan Bongers (Ned)|
|38||Jorge Cantalicio (Spa)|
|39||Javier Hernández (Spa)||-5laps|
|40||Manuel Martín (Spa)|
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