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Wellens wins in Oostmalle

Bart Wellens ended his season with a bang by grabbing his first big victory since November 2008. The former world champion won the last round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy in Oostmalle on Sunday after an eight-lap solo effort.

The 31-year-old Telenet-Fidea rider was joined on the podium by teammates Zdenek Stybar and Kevin Pauwels who finished second and third respectively. Belgian champion Sven Nys finished sixth which was more than enough to secure his seventh overall victory in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy.

The past year has been full of troubles for Wellens, a former world champion. The Belgian got back in form just in time to claim a selection for the world championships where he couldn't pull off a good result. His form kept improving, though, and after a victory at the small event in Eeklo he now won the last official cyclo-cross race of the season in Oostmalle.

After only two laps - right after the intermediate sprint - Wellens seized his moment and blasted away from the leader's group.

"This is a magnificent victory," Wellens told Sporza. "Early on I had to dig really deep to keep up with Nys but I knew that they were fighting for the points at the intermediate sprint. After the sprint the speed dropped and then it was my moment. I hoped that the speed would drop further behind me and it happened."

His old arch-rival Nys confirmed that it was a well-timed attack. "The only thing that mattered today was the overall classification in the GvA Trophy, so I was very happy to see Wellens pull away," said Nys. "He didn't play a role in the battle for the overall classification and Stybar couldn't ride because Wellens is his teammate. From that moment on I was at ease. I just made sure that I was always riding in the top-three of our group."

Before that there had been a lot of action on the sandy course in Oostmalle, where the Belgian championships were held. The ice from the championships was gone and the sand played a much more important role. Niels Albert, starting the day second overall on the GvA Trophy, missed his start completely and was at the back of the bunch. The Belgian never fully recovered from that dramatic start and eventually finished tenth. This meant that Stybar, who was tied with Albert in second place, pushed Albert back to third overall.

"I missed my pedal at the start and was the last rider to leave the grid," said Albert. "I came back quite well but I ended up riding at the back of the group, constantly losing contact, then my saddle broke off. I will not be losing any sleep because of this. Tonight we'll have good food and next year there will hopefully be a new Niels Albert."

Meanwhile, four riders were leading the race during the second lap: Nys, Stybar, Kevin Pauwels and Wellens. The latter led out the sprint for Stybar, who won ahead of Nys and Pauwels. Thanks to this win Stybar became the overall winner of the intermediate sprint competition.

Nys and Stybar eased off and then Wellens attacked. Teammates Pauwels and Stybar protected the attack and Nys didn't bother chasing either. Wellens quickly gathered half a minute on a chase group of 12 riders, also including Albert. A few minor accelerations from Bart Aernouts and Sven Vanthourenhout didn't close the gap and halfway the race Wellens had an advantage of 43 seconds.

With three laps to go Albert was confronted with saddle problems and he was forced to switch bikes, dropping out of the top-10. Meanwhile, Wellens increased his lead to one minute and it became clear that without any bad luck he would win in Oostmalle.

With Wellens safely in the lead Stybar accelerated during the penultimate lap and only Nys, Klaas Vantornout, Sven Vanthourenhout and Aernouts were able to follow the world champion. Just before the riders crossed the finish line to begin the final lap Vantornout blasted away. The Belgian clearly thought the race was over and thought he'd wrapped up second place. Vantornout suddenly realized his mistake, continued his efforts but halfway the last lap he was caught back by an unleashed Stybar.

Even more chaos occurred when the two hooked into each other in the sand, which resulted in Vantornout hitting a pole with his head. Sven Vanthourenhout and Nys powered past the two riders, and also Dieter Vanthourenhout and Pauwels returned to the front.

Meanwhile Wellens had plenty of time to celebrate his victory, pleasing his still numerous and fanatic fans. "The race went on for a long time, a very long time. It seemed like there was no end to it but that made the win feel even more satisfactory," said Wellens of the ten laps on the sandy course. "This was a season that I want to forget quickly but to end it like that is nice."

About a minute later the sprint for second place was set up. Nys didn't bother to contest the sprint and took his time to celebrate his overall win. "The last lap I had time to enjoy it. I didn't want to repeat Pijnacker where I chased down Richard Groenendaal but blew my engine, which allowed several others to overtake me. I saw Richard along the course and didn't want that to happen again," said Nys about why he didn't try to chase Wellens or make a last lap effort for second place.

Stybar hit the pavement first ahead of teammate Pauwels and won the sprint. The world champion was happy with today's action. "I won the intermediate sprint, finished second and my teammate won his first big race of the season, so I think that I can be happy," Stybar said.

Elite men
1Bart Wellens (Bel)1:01:44
2Zdenek Štybar (Cze)0:00:59
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel)
4Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)0:01:03
5Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)0:01:05
6Sven Nys (Bel)0:01:07
7Tom Meeusen (Bel)0:01:08
8Gerben de Knegt (Ned)0:01:09
9Bart Aernouts (Bel)
10Niels Albert (Bel)0:01:34
11Erwin Vervecken (Bel)0:01:42
12Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned)
13Thijs Al (Bel)0:01:48
14Radomir Simunek (Cze)0:02:01
15Christian Heule (Swi)
16Marco Bianco (Ita)
17Wilant van Gils (Ned)0:02:24
18Thijs van Amerongen (Ned)0:02:29
19Philipp Walsleben (Ger)0:02:34
20Petr Dlask (Cze)
21Jonathan Page (USA)
22Ben Berden (Bel)0:03:05
23Rob Peeters (Bel)0:03:20
24Jan Verstraeten (Bel)0:03:38
25Bart Verschueren (Bel)0:03:47
26Jan Soetens (Bel)0:04:00
27Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)0:04:16
28Tim Van Nuffel (Bel)0:04:40
29Stijn Huys (Bel)0:05:08
30Sten Raeymaekers (Bel)0:05:20
31Joachim Parbo (Den)0:05:25
32Gianni Denolf (Bel)0:05:30
33Martin Zlámalík (Cze)0:05:32
34Stijn Penne (Bel)0:05:46
35Quentin Bertholet (Bel)0:06:42
36Mike Garrigan (Irl)
37Sam Govaert (Bel)
38Ken Smets (Bel)

Elite men - Intermediate sprint
1Zdenek Štybar (Cze)3pts
2Sven Nys (Bel)2
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel)1

Elite men - Final Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee classification
1Sven Nys (Bel)188pts
2Zdenek Stybar (Cze)182
3Niels Albert (Bel)168
4Kevin Pauwels (Bel)125
5Gerben de Knegt (Ned)115
6Gerben de Knegt (Ned)111
7Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)101
8Klaas Vantornout (Bel)81
9Radomir Simunek (Cze)68
10Erwin Vervecken (Bel)65
11Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)59
12Enrico Franzoi (Ita)57
13Bart Wellens (Bel)53
14Rob Peeters (Bel)53
15Christian Heule (Swi)38
16Thijs Al (Ned)37
17Thijs van Amerongen (Ned)37
18Tom Van den Bosch (Bel)34
19Mariusz Gil (Pol)32
20Françis Mourey (Fra)31
21Wilant van Gils (Ned)25
22Ben Berden (Bel)20
23Philipp Walsleben (Ger)19
24Tom Meeusen (Bel)14
25Jan Soetens (Bel)14
26Marco Bianco (Ita)12
27Jonathan Page (USA)11
28Petr Dlask (Cze)11
29Jan Verstraeten (Bel)10
30Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned)10
31Ian Field (GBr)4
32Quentin Bertholet (Bel)4
33Steve Chainel (Fra)4
34Martin Zlamalik (Cze)3
35Tim Van Nuffel (Bel)2
36Bram Schmitz (Ned)2

Elite men - Intermediate sprint classification
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze)18pts
2Sven Nys (Bel)14
3Niels Albert (Bel)8
4Gerben de Knegt (Ned)3
5Klaas Vantornout (Bel)3
6Kevin Pauwels (Bel)2

Elite women
1Marianne Vos (Ned)0:42:00
2Daphny van den Brand (Ned)
3Sanne Cant (Bel)0:01:27
4Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger)0:01:32
5Sanne van Paassen (Ned)0:01:35
6Helen Wyman (GBr)0:01:40
7Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)
8Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned)
9Pavla Havlikova (Cze)
10Nicolle De Bie-Leijten (Bel)
11Nikki Harris (GBr)
12Arenda Grimberg (Ned)
13Loes Sels (Bel)
14Ellen Van Loy (Bel)
15Nancy Bober (Bel)
16Lana Verberne (Ned)
17Veerle Ingels (Bel)
18Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)
19Katrien Vermeiren (Bel)
20Ludivine Henrion (Bel)
21Katrien Thijs (Bel)
22Christine Vardaros (USA)
23Katrien Aerts (Bel)
24Nathalie Nijns (Bel)
25Steffy Van den Haute (Bel)
26Dorien Raeymaekers (Bel)
27Angela van der Velde (Ned)
28Madara Furmane (Lat)
29Liga Smite (Lat)
30Marijke De Pauw (Bel)
31Caitlin La Haye (Bel)
32Maaike Lanssens (Bel)

Elite women - Final Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee classification
1Daphny van den Brand (Ned)94pts
2Sanne Cant (Bel)88
3Helen Wyman (GBr)88
4Pavla Havlikova (Cze)87
5Sanne van Paassen (Ned)76
6Marianne Vos (Ned)72
7Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)63
8Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned)53
9Linda van Rijen (Ned)44
10Sophie de Boer (Ned)40
11Arenda Grimberg (Ned)34
12Nancy Bober (Bel)32
13Saskia Elemans (Ned)31
14Veerle Ingels (Bel)30
15Nicole De Bie-Leijten (Bel)25
16Nikki Harris (GBr)23
17Gabriella Day (GBr)20
18Ellen Van Loy (Bel)20
19Ludivine Henrion (Bel)17
20Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger)17
21Christine Vardaros (USA)15
22Lana Verberne (Ned)15
23Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)12
24Sabrina Stultiens (Ned)11
25Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Fra)10
26Jana Kyptova (Cze)8
27Loes Sels (Bel)8
28Cynthia Huygens (Fra)7
29Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra)7
30Katrien Vermeiren (Bel)7
31Ilona Meter (Ned)6
32Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra)6
33Rocio Gamonal (Spa)5
34Steffy Van den Haute (Bel)5
35Katrien Aerts (Bel)5
36Patsy Larno (Bel)4
37Nathalie Nijns (Bel)4
38Katrien Thijs (Bel)3
39Sabrina Schweizer (Ger)2
40Dorien Raeymaekers (Bel)1

U23 men
1Jim Aernouts (Bel)0:50:50
2Lars van der Haar (Ned)
3Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel)
4Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra)0:00:26
5Robert Gavenda (Svk)0:00:42
6Mitchell Huenders (Ned)0:00:47
7Micki van Empel (Ned)0:00:52
8Kacper Szczepaniak (Pol)
9Jan Denuwelaere (Bel)0:00:56
10Kevin Eeckhout (Bel)0:01:00
11Jelle Brackman (Bel)0:01:09
12Lubomir Petrus (Cze)0:01:16
13Stef Boden (Bel)0:01:22
14Pawel Szczepaniak (Pol)0:01:30
15Kevin Cant (Bel)0:01:34
16Corné van Kessel (Ned)
17Dries Pauwels (Bel)0:02:02
18Marcel Meisen (Ger)0:02:18
19Kristof Cop (Bel)0:02:27
20Vincent Baestaens (Bel)0:02:42
21Tijmen Eising (Ned)0:02:48
22Niels Koyen (Bel)0:02:55
23Sven Beelen (Bel)0:03:16
24Vinnie Braet (Bel)0:03:32
25Sonny Volders (Bel)0:03:53
26Ritchie Denolf (Bel)0:04:07
27Stijn Mortelmans (Bel)0:04:39
28Sieën Veestraeten (Bel)0:04:49
29Edwin Arts (Ned)0:04:58
30Ruben Veestraeten (Bel)0:05:01
31Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel)0:05:18
32Wim Thijs (Bel)0:05:42
33Valentijn Van de Velde (Bel)0:05:46
34Robin Poelvoorde (Bel)
35Raf Risbourg (Bel)0:06:39
36Hans Antonissen (Bel)0:07:07
37Bart Barkhuis (Ned)0:07:20
38Thomas Verbeek (Bel)-1lap
39Kevin Neirynck (Bel)
40Vincent Van Hooste (Bel)
41Rutger Lahaye. (Bel)

U23 men - Final Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee classification
1Tom Meeusen (Bel)156pts
2Jim Aernouts (Bel)136
3Jan Denuwelaere (Bel)133
4Robert Gavenda (Svk)119
5Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel)116
6Stef Boden (Bel)101
7Lubomir Petrus (Cze)85
8Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra)83
9Kacper Szczepaniak (Pol)76
10Pawel Szczepaniak (Pol)67
11Micki van Empel (Ned)65
12Vincent Baestaens (Bel)60
13Mitchell Huenders (Ned)58
14Kevin Cant (Bel)54
15Tijmen Eising (Ned)52
16Wietse Bosmans (Bel)46
17Joeri Adams (Bel)38
18Kevin Eeckhout (Bel)32
19Corné van Kessel (Ned)31
20Jiri Polnicky (Cze)28
21Lars van der Haar (Ned)28
22Twan van den Brand (Ned)26
23Marcel Meisen (Ger)26
24Karel Hnik (Tsj)19
25Sascha Weber (Ger)18
26Vinnie Braet (Bel)14
27Dave De Cleyn (Bel)13
28Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel)11
29Kristof Cop (Bel)11
30Marek Konwa (Pol)10
31Jelle Brackman (Bel)10
32Sven Beelen (Bel)7
33Dries Pauwels (Bel)6
34Geert van der Horst (Ned)5
35Boy van Poppel (Ned)4
36Zeb Willems (Bel)3
37Michael Winterberg (Swi)2
38Maurits Lammertink (Ned)1
39Sonny Volders (Bel)1
40Kobus Hereygers (Ned)1

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