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Stybar breaks through at GP Hasselt

Zdenek Stybar finally grabbed a major win in Belgium after flanking the podium in many of the seasons' previous races. The Czech champion not only gave the team its first win of the season, teammate Kevin Pauwels made it a Telenet-Fidea one-two as he came a close second in the four-man sprint in the GP Hasselt.

World champion Niels Albert finished third after dominating all race long but failing to drop his rivals, while Sunweb-Projob's Klaas Vantornout finished an unlucky fourth place out of four. Rabobank's Bart Aernouts, part of the five-man lead group, put in a blistering attack on the last lap, but was reeled back by Albert and finished seven seconds behind the sprint in fifth.

Stybar moved himself up into third in the overall classification of the GvA-Trophy behind Albert by claiming three bonus points at the intermediate sprint after two laps; the young Czech is now trailing Albert by only four points.

Belgian champion Sven Nys salvaged his second place in the overall standings by finishing sixth on the day after being forced to stop and re-mount his tire onto the rim early in the race. Nys trails Albert by three points.

Stybar has been nipping at the heels of a win all season, and the 23 year-old Czech was delighted after claiming his first victory. "Amai, super! I'm really happy that I finally got that first win, not only for myself but also for the people around me and my sponsor of course," Stybar said in Flemish, pleasing the local audience.

The GP Hasselt has a fast twisting course, with temperatures reaching up to 16°C today. Niels Albert tried all he could to drop Stybar but the course proved not selective enough to drop the cream of the cyclo-cross guild.

"Everybody could win," Stybar agreed. When reaching the finishing straight, Stybar took the lead before the last corner, after which there were only 200 metres left to cover. "The road isn't too long so I opted to take the lead early on and go for it. I was happy that the line was coming closer because he [Pauwels] was closing in on me," Stybar said.

Celebrations in the Telenet-Fidea camp are well-deserved, but will have to wait until after Sunday's Superprestige race, Stybar said. "No, there's a race tomorrow and the season's still long."

Pauwels has also had a break-out season, riding frequently at the front of races before fading at the end. He had one of his strongest performances to date in Hasselt, and disappointed to lose the sprint, but was happy that the team won the race. "This sort of courses suits me well and I'm happy with second.

"I had to be in front before the last corner but Stybar didn't give that position away. I think I was faster but the finishing straight was too short for me," Pauwels said.

The 25 year-old Belgian rode aggressively to stay in the front group, but had to dig deep to do it. "When Niels [Albert] hammered in front I was suffering. He was clearly the strongest but the strongest doesn't always win," Pauwels said.

With Telenet-Fidea making it a one-two Dutch team manager Hans Van Kasteren was a happy man. "We already gathered about forty podium spots this season and our sponsors are happy with our presence in the front but this is of course fantastic," said Van Kasteren.

World champion Albert led for much of the race, but couldn't shake the Telenet-Fidea duo. When he noticed that his efforts weren't breaking down the Telenet-Fidea boys he eased off and rode more tactically. In the end it didn't bring him the victory as he got boxed in at the final corners.

"Only third? It's still not bad and tomorrow there's another race. It's hard to create gaps on this course as it's fast but with multiple corners. I tried, gambled but didn't win," Albert said.

In the overall classification Albert few points on Sven Nys, but it could've been much more since the latter was riding in 16th position at one moment in the race. "It's annoying with the intermediate sprints [where Nys took two points and Albert only one]. I think I took three points today which is a good thing because he has to get them back somewhere," Albert concluded.

Nys will be looking into why he rolled his tire - an rookie mistake that could have cost him a chance at a seventh career overall GVA title. "My tubular went off the rim when I had to put a lot of pressure on the front; that shouldn't happen. Afterwards I couldn't move up anymore but the gap always remained about 40".

"I wasn't feeling super and I think if I hadn't been unlucky I could have played a role in front," Nys said. During the second lap Nys was away in front with Albert, Stybar, Pauwels and also Bart Aernouts and Klaas Vantornout. After the mechanical, a sixth place was the best result possible.

"Winning the GvA-Trophy is still possible but again I'm losing a lot of points. Once I lost half a minute with that tyre - I lost the belief I could win the race, and it was hard to get back into the rhythm. More than finishing first behind the chasers wasn't possible," Nys concluded.

As a side note the race witnessed the return from Sven Vanthourenhout who took a two weeks break after finding out he was overtrained. The Belgian finished twelfth in Hasselt.

Full Results
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:58:31
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team
3Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
4Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank Continental Team0:00:07
6Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago0:00:38
7Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank Continental Team
8Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus
9Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
10Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
11Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) AA Drinks Cycling Team
12Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob0:01:06
13Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drinks Cycling Team
14Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team0:01:27
15Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team
16Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:01:33
17Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Vacansoleil Cyclingteam
18Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team0:02:08
19Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team
20Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:12
21Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:02:43
22Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Rendementhypo Cycling Team0:02:47
23Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team0:03:19
24Marco Bianco (Ita) L Arcobaleno Carraro Team0:03:24
25Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drinks Cycling Team0:03:30
26Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team
27Jody Crawforth (GBr) Arctic - Premier RT0:04:30
28Rik Van IJzendoorn (Ned)0:05:12
29Bart Verschueren (Bel) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:05:22
30Lukas Kloucek (Cze) Sunweb ProJob
31Ken Smets (Bel) Kon. W.C. Steeds Vooraan - Kontich0:06:59
32Ariunbold Noaranbat (Mon) Mongolian National Cyclocross Team
33Bolbaatar Bold-Erdene (Mon) Mongolian National Cyclocross Team
34Gaminde Fernandez (Spa)

Intermediate sprint
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team3pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago2
3Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus1

Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee standings after 3 rounds
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus70pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago67
3Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team66
4Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob56
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team54
6Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank46
7Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank39
8Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus33
9Radomír Šimunek Jr (Cze) BKCP - Power Plus29
10Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team25
11Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas22
12Mariusz Gil (Pol) LKS Pom Strzelce Krajenskie
13Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob17pts
14Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW16
15Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux15
16Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago13
17Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team12
18Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike11
19Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne11
20Christian Heule (Swi) RendementhypoCycling Team10
21Ben Berden (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team8
22Marco Bianco (Ita) L Arcobaleno Carraro Team7
23Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team
24Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/GSI4
25Jan Verstraeten (Bel)
26Quentin Bertholet (Bel)
27Thijs van Amerongen (Bel)
28Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team3pts
29Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Team BKCP-Power Plus1

Intermediate sprint classification
1Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team6pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago5
3Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus4
4Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob3

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