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Nys dominant on the Koppenberg

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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) rides alone at the head of the race.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) rides alone at the head of the race. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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The elite men charge up the cobbled Koppenberg on the opening lap.

The elite men charge up the cobbled Koppenberg on the opening lap. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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World champion Zdenek Stybar is in there somewhere.

World champion Zdenek Stybar is in there somewhere. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Belgian champion Sven Nys received plenty of encouragement en route to victory.

Belgian champion Sven Nys received plenty of encouragement en route to victory. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Huge crowds lined the zig-zagging descent at the Koppenbergcross.

Huge crowds lined the zig-zagging descent at the Koppenbergcross. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Arms aloft for winner Sven Nys as he earns his eighth career Koppenbergcross victory.

Arms aloft for winner Sven Nys as he earns his eighth career Koppenbergcross victory. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) turns off the cobbles into the mud.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) turns off the cobbles into the mud. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) celebrates his eighth victory in the Koppenbergcross.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) celebrates his eighth victory in the Koppenbergcross. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Belgian champion Sven Nys has plenty of experience in the mud.

Belgian champion Sven Nys has plenty of experience in the mud. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) rides alone in second place.

Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) rides alone in second place. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea) en route to a podium finish.

Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea) en route to a podium finish. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Wellens gets encouragement from the crowd.

Bart Wellens gets encouragement from the crowd. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea) finished in fourth place, more than two minutes down on Nys.

Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea) finished in fourth place, more than two minutes down on Nys. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Tom van den Bosch (AA Drink Cycling Team) looks pleased with his 12th place finish.

Tom van den Bosch (AA Drink Cycling Team) looks pleased with his 12th place finish. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Runner-up Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) on the podium.

Runner-up Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) on the podium. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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For the eighth time, Sven Nys is the king of the Koppenbergcross.

For the eighth time, Sven Nys is the king of the Koppenbergcross. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Men's podium (l-r): Niels Albert, 2nd; Sven Nys, 1st; Kevin Pauwels, 3rd.

Men's podium (l-r): Niels Albert, 2nd; Sven Nys, 1st; Kevin Pauwels, 3rd. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) rode away from the field in dominant fashion.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) rode away from the field in dominant fashion. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Wellens (Telenet - Fidea) after his 7th place finish.

Bart Wellens (Telenet - Fidea) after his 7th place finish. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Tom Meeusen (Telenet - Fidea) negotiates a treacherous descent.

Tom Meeusen (Telenet - Fidea) negotiates a treacherous descent. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Belgian champion Sven Nys gave the spectators plenty to cheer about.

Belgian champion Sven Nys gave the spectators plenty to cheer about. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) pursues Sven Nys.

Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) pursues Sven Nys. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea) leads Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb - Revor)

Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea) leads Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb - Revor) (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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World champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea) puts a foot down as he rounds a corner.

World champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea) puts a foot down as he rounds a corner. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Aernouts (Rabobank - Giant Off Road Team) climbs on the cobbles.

Bart Aernouts (Rabobank - Giant Off Road Team) climbs on the cobbles. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Petr Dlask (Telenet - Fidea) tackles the Koppenberg.

Petr Dlask (Telenet - Fidea) tackles the Koppenberg. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink Cycling Team)

Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink Cycling Team) (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Thijs Al (AA Drink Cycling Team) powers up the Koppenberg.

Thijs Al (AA Drink Cycling Team) powers up the Koppenberg. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Radomir Simunek Jr. (BKCP - Powerplus) would finish the day in 22nd place.

Radomir Simunek Jr. (BKCP - Powerplus) would finish the day in 22nd place. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) did the jersey proud.

Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) did the jersey proud. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Sven Nys added another cobbled trophy to his collection.

Sven Nys added another cobbled trophy to his collection. (Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)

Almost as if he had never been out of the picture Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) trounced his rivals in the mudfest up and around the Koppenberg during the second round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy. Due to the huge amounts of deep mud, the course was extremely tough. The 34-year-old Belgian champion didn't mind and dropped all his rivals during the first lap. He went on to destroy the opposition, exhibiting great skills and power while finding a way up and over the Koppenberg.

For Nys it was his eighth victory on the famous Flemish helling. Runner-up Niels Albert (BCKP-Powerplus) finished more than a minute behind the cyclo-cross legend, who hadn't won an important race this season. World champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) finished fourth and remains leader in the GvA-Trophy.

“I'm not worn out yet,” Nys said, when asked about his performance and status after the demonstration he gave on Monday afternoon. “Many people were talking about my age and that it would no longer be possible for me to battle up against the new generation. I'll be living on a cloud for a couple of weeks now because I rate this one very high. It's almost as important as the world championships to me."

Two youth races and a women's race turned the peaceful meadows on the climb near Melden into a mud-clad war zone. American  cyclo-cross star Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) fancied his chances and he led the peloton through the first soaked meadow and then on to the Koppenberg. The unknown Italian rider Marco Bianco attacked on the cobbles but by the time the riders cornered right into the meadow on top of the Koppenberg, Page was back in the lead ahead of Nys, Stybar and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor).

Niels Albert missed his start and rode back in twentieth place and Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) was even riding outside the top-30. Nys accelerated for the first time near the top of the climb and he got away with Stybar and Vantornout, while Page went into the barriers on one of the first downhill corners and disappeared from the front. A little later, Vantornout dropped back into a group with Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team), Gerben de Knegt (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) and a well-recovering Albert.

When riding through the last field before cornering into the home straight Nys dropped Stybar. In hindsight, that was the moment the race ended. Nys never looked back and rode consistently faster than his rivals. “After the first lap I realized that things were working out great. Halfway people were shouting to me that it was in the bag but of course I had to remain focused,” Nys said.

Going into the last lap the Belgian champion had a comfortable gap of more than a minute over Albert but then Nys punctured. “For a moment I panicked. I had to continue on that tyre for half a lap and I gave all I had left in my tank; I don't want to repeat that any more,” Nys said.

Second-placed Albert heard about Nys' problem but didn't feel that it affected Nys at all. “On the road it doesn't help you but on the climb it surely didn't bother him. We all ride with really low tyre pressures on this course; we all feel every cobble of the Koppenberg,” Albert told Cyclingnews. In the end Nys didn't lose a single second and clinched his eighth win in the Koppenbergcross, and his seventh in a row.

Pauwels claimed the last podium spot a minute and a half behind Nys and the quiet Belgian was more than happy with that. “Last year I would have finished well off the podium in those conditions. It means I've taken a big step forward. This was a good weekend for me,” Pauwels said.

Halfway through the race, Stybar crashed and for a moment he was riding in seventh place. “That's when I thought that my classification was in danger. At that moment I believed that I could get a much better result. During the second lap I made too many mistakes and I lost focus. Eventually I captured fourth place and I'm happy with that,” Stybar said.

The Czech leads the GvA-Trophy with 45 points, five points clear of the Belgians Pauwels and Vantornout. Stybar defends his position at the head of the classification on November 20 during the third round of the GvA-Trophy in Hasselt, Belgium.

Full Results
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet1:00:00
2Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:07
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:28
4Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:02:08
5Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:02:24
6Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:02:46
7Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:03:40
8Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:04:02
9Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus0:04:10
10Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:04:26
11Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:04:46
12Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team0:04:56
13Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team0:05:08
14Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:05:17
15Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:05:35
16Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS0:06:00
17Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:06:15
18Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:06:53
19Romain Villa (Fra)0:07:12
20Marco Bianco (Ita)0:07:19
21Ian Field (GBr) Hargrove Cycles0:07:26
22Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:07:44
23Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:07:47
24Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans0:08:03
25Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike0:08:52
26Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:09:04
27Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)-2laps
28Patrick Gaudy (Bel)
29Marek Cichosz (Pol)
30Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team
31Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team
32Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor
33Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus
34Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
35Wilant van Gils (Ned) CX Nederland
36Stijn Huys (Bel)
37Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace-3laps
38Kevin Cant (Bel)
39Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
40Alberto Candelas Caballero (Spa)

Sprint
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet3pts
2Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus2
3Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor1

Fastest lap
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:08:21
2Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:05
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:07

Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee classification after 2 rounds
1Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team45pts
2Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor40
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team40
4Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team30
5Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team30
6Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet28
7Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus27
8Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team27
9Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus24
10Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team20
11Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team15
12Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus14
13Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team14
14Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ13
15Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor12
16Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus11
17Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team11
18Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team11
19Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team9
20Ian Field (GBr) Hargrove Cycles8
21Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS5
22Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team4
23Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor3
24Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team3
25Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team2
26Romain Villa (Fra)2
27Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)1
28Marco Bianco (Ita)1

Sprint classification
1Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team3pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet3
3Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor2
4Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team2
5Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus2

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