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Simunek sprints to second Scheldecross victory

For the second time in his career Radomir Simunek Jr. (BKCP-Powerplus) has won the Scheldecross, part of the Fidea Cyclo-cross Classics, in Antwerp. With a great tactical move on the last lap of a frozen course the 27-year-old Czech rider passed Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) on a tight right-hand turn and held the lead through to the finishing straight.

Nys, who had just passed Simunek heading into the run-up to take over the race lead, dropped his chain in the corner and fell out of contention for the win.

In the sprint finale Simunek held off Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) for the victory. It's the first major win of the season for Simunek, who showed he's one of the fastest riders when snow and ice cover a cyclo-cross course.

Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Offroad), who rode solo in the race lead from the fourth through the eighth and penultimate lap, finished four seconds later in third.

"I'm really happy today," Simunek told VT4. "I made two big mistakes and those crashes cost me a lot of energy. Yet I was really motivated and seized my chances on this course.

"There was space and Sven hadn't click well into his pedals. It was shoulder-to-shoulder but of course the crowd made a lot of noise because it was their Sven Nys. Then again, I'm not a newbie and fight for my position. Hopefully the good days continue and it remains cold until the end of the season."

The first crash from Simunek on the third lap put Rabobank teammates Lars Boom and Bart Aernouts in front of the race. Boom didn't hesitate to help Aernouts. "I played team tactics. It almost worked and in the end he finished third," Boom said.

Despite a bad start Nys, the Belgian champion, steadily moved through the field until he reached the front of the chase effort in pursuit of Aernouts halfway into race.

Nys upped the pace in pursuit of the Belgian Rabobank rider and only Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor), Lars Boom and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) were able to keep pace. The latter dropped out of the chase group one lap later and soon Boom, too, was struggling to keep up with Nys.

Nys, along with Simunek, Sven Vanthourenhout and Lars Boom, caught Aernouts at the end of the penultimate lap. Heading out onto the ninth and final lap, Simunek surged and took over the lead. Halfway through the last lap Nys maneuvered into the lead on the run-up but after a quick descent Simunek passed Nys on a tight right hand corner.

"I divided my race ideally," Nys said. "I had a bad start and though overtaking was hard on this course I was able to move up. I had good sensations but too bad about that last lap. It was my own fault.

Nys discussed what caused his dropped chain at the most inopportune moment.

"I hopped on my bike [after the run-up] but the bike moved back up and hit my leg. Because of the wild manoeuvre I didn't have a lot of time to get back on my bike, also because Simunek was pushing on. Simunek led the race at the right moment," Nys said.

When heading towards the sprint Simunek had a small gap over Sven Vanthourenhout when entering the short finishing straight line. "I knew that Radomir went fast through the last corner," said Vanthourenhout. "As I was still in second position when tackling that corner I knew it would be difficult to win. I should be happy with my race but when you fight for the victory and finish second there's always a bit of disappointment."

Third placed Aernouts had mixed feeling as well. "I received a nice opportunity but I couldn't finish it. I lacked the power to extend my lead on the straight sections. I was constantly focused, also when I was caught back. It allowed me to recover and in the end I should be happy with third place."

Full Results
1Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:58:43
2Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
3Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:00:04
4Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:00:08
5Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:00:10
6Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:27
7Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:32
8Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:00:41
9Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:45
10Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
11Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:00:50
12Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:58
13Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike0:01:04
14Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:07
15Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:32
16Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team
17Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:01:54
18Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans0:02:01
19Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:02:09
20Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:53
21Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team0:03:08
22Marco Bianco (Ita)0:03:20
23Jimmy Tielens (Bel) Team Saeco Heist O/D Berg0:03:31
24Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:03:41
25Jody Crawforth (GBr) Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Scott/GSI0:03:51
26Magnus Darvell (Swe)0:03:55
27Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank0:03:59
28Kristof Cop (Bel) APB Cycling Team0:04:03
29Mike Thielemans (Bel) Team-Thielemans & Co0:04:06
30Bart Verschueren (Bel) Champion System LBS Team0:04:15
31Dany Lacroix (Bel) L' espoir Condruzien0:04:35
32Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace0:04:39
33Bjorn Rondelez (Bel) Lingier Versluys Team0:04:56
34Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW0:05:01
35Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder0:05:24
36Bart Hofman (Bel) Afdeling Oost-Vlaanderen WBV - VZW0:05:37
37Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) KDL Trans
38Dave De Cleyn (Bel) AVB Cycling Team0:05:40
39Jeremy Grimal (Fra)0:05:45
40Gianni Denolf (Bel) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:05:47
41Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:06:08
42Tom De Kort (Bel) APB Cycling Team-1lap
43Steven de Decker (Bel) Flemisch Cycling Projects
44Ritchie Denolf (Bel) Baboco Cycling Team
45Sven Van Eyndt (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team
46Moreno Hofland (Ned)-2laps
47Luke Gray (GBr)
48Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized
49Shaun Adamson (Can) Cycle-Smart-3laps
50Davy Yeater (USA) River City Bicycles-Cannondale-4laps
51Andrew Hargroves (GBr) Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/Scott/GSI
52Flavien Dassonville (Fra) Nogent Sur Oise-5laps
53Javier Candelas (Spa)

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