Stybar returns to form in Hamme-Zogge

It took a long time but world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Cycling Team) finally captured his first big win of the season after three minor ones. On the extremely fast course in Zogge the Czech blasted away from his Belgian rivals halfway the race and managed to bring the win home.

"I'm over the moon for this victory. It has always been close the last few weeks but there was always someone better. Nevertheless I felt that every weekend it was going better. I have no specific goals this season because I just want to enjoy cyclo-cross. During the last lap I was all smiles and had goose bumps. It's unbelievable to realize that thousands of people are applauding you," Stybar said.

An in-form Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) was unable to hand his team manager and race organizer Jurgen Mettepenningen the victory. Pauwels won the sprint for second place from Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet). Niels Albert remains the overall leader of the Superprestige series after three rounds after claiming fourth on the day.

During the first half of the race it became clear that creating gaps on the fast course in foggy weather wasn't easy. Stybar, Nys and Albert had a go in front but when arriving on the finishing straight they all looked back and asked somebody else to do the work on the asphalt. No volunteers were found so each time the pace dropped on the road, allowing riders to bridge back up and create a peloton of about twenty riders.

During the fifth lap Pauwels led the pack through the soggy Zogge meadows that were stacked with stairs and fly-overs. When arriving at the finishing straight, Pauwels' efforts created a small lead together with Nys, Meeusen and Stybar.

This time Nys kept the pace high but when arriving back into the meadows Stybar blasted away. The Czech hammered through the twisting course at high speed while the chase behind wasn't picked up by any of the mainly Belgian chasers. "It wasn't up to me to close the gap," was the reaction from both Nys, Pauwels and Albert after the race.

Stybar realized it was the winning move. "Sometimes you have to go and try. I knew that it [tactical cease-fire] was going on behind me. If you have 15 seconds on a course like this it's difficult to be caught back," Stybar said. By the end of the sixth lap Stybar led the race with 21 seconds on a group of 17 riders.

The big guns in the chase group remained quiet during the following lap and Stybar added ten more seconds to his lead. Nys increased the speed in the following lap and the veteran slipped away together with Belgian champion Albert. Still, the duo didn't get a single second closer, not even when Stybar switched bikes because of a loosening brake.

In the background Pauwels was too far back when Albert and Nys launched their counter-attack but during the eighth lap the Sunweb rider bounced back and bridged up. With three more laps to go Stybar led the race with 26 seconds on the Belgian trio Nys, Albert and Pauwels. "That's when I thought that I wouldn't make it. I'd been going at 100 percent for two laps in a row; I was dead-empty," Stybar said.

Nevertheless Stybar stood tall and the jubilating Czech brought the win home. In the chase group Pauwels led the debates and his pace was too fast for Albert. "I lost a fraction of a second when clicking in my pedals and couldn't close that gap right away. By that time it was over for me. Fourth was good enough as I knew I wouldn't be losing much ground on Nys in the overall classification," Albert said.

In the sprint for second place Pauwels had no trouble to keep off Nys at 9 seconds from winner Stybar. Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus) popped out as best of the rest by winning the sprint for fifth place from Bart Aernouts (Rabobank–Giant - Offroad Team) at 33 seconds.

Small groups kept rolling in at short distance from each other. British rider Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) rode a steady race at the back of the first big group. "That was incredibly fast," Field stated after rolling across the line in 22nd place. US rider Jonathan Page (Planetbike) continued his series of poor performances as he once again didn't finish the race in Zogge.

In the overall standings Albert leads with 42 points. He lost one point in favour of runner-up Nys who now sits three points behind the Belgian champion; Stybar is third at five points. The next round of the Superprestige series is held next week in Gavere.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team1:04:20
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:00:09
3Sven Nys (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 2 - Cell 2
4Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:31
5Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:33
6Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:00:41
8Mariusz Gil (Pol) BabocoRow 7 - Cell 2
9Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-FideaRow 8 - Cell 2
10Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:49
11Vincent Baestaens (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 10 - Cell 2
12Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:51
13Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nlRow 12 - Cell 2
14Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:00:59
15Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen WielerteamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:01:05
17Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nlRow 16 - Cell 2
18Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.AubeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) WV SchijndelRow 18 - Cell 2
20Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept0:01:37
22Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves CyclesRow 21 - Cell 2
23Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl0:01:45
24Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-RevorRow 23 - Cell 2
25Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb-RevorRow 24 - Cell 2
26Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl0:01:53
27Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL0:02:10
28Romain Lejeune (Fra) U.V.Aube0:02:15
29Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:02:25
30Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange BabiesRow 29 - Cell 2
31Toon Devenyns (Bel)Row 30 - Cell 2
32Bart Hofman (Bel)Row 31 - Cell 2
33Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Willems Veranda - Accent0:02:37
34Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem0:02:44
35Geert Wellens (Bel)0:02:56
36Florian Le Corre (Fra)0:03:55
37Kobus Hereijgers (Ned) WV SchijndelRow 36 - Cell 2
38 (-2 laps)Patrick BassezRow 37 - Cell 2
DNFGerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
DNFRob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-FideaRow 39 - Cell 2
DNFJonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue BicyclesRow 40 - Cell 2
DNFMarcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-IndelandRow 41 - Cell 2
DNFJoeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-FideaRow 42 - Cell 2
DNFSteven De Decker (Bel)Row 43 - Cell 2
DNFPatrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) TWC De KempenRow 44 - Cell 2
DNFDavid Quist (USA)Row 45 - Cell 2
DNFNicolas Bazin (Fra) Team Big Mat-Auber 93Row 46 - Cell 2
DNFKristof Zegers (Bel)Row 47 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Superprestige standings after three rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus42pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet39Row 1 - Cell 3
3Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team37Row 2 - Cell 3
4Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team32Row 3 - Cell 3
5Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea31Row 4 - Cell 3
6Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor30Row 5 - Cell 3
7Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea25Row 6 - Cell 3
8Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor23Row 7 - Cell 3
9Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus18Row 8 - Cell 3
10Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus17Row 9 - Cell 3
11Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet12Row 10 - Cell 3
12Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet10Row 11 - Cell 3
13Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco8Row 12 - Cell 3
14Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJRow 13 - Cell 2 Row 13 - Cell 3
15Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-FideaRow 14 - Cell 2 Row 14 - Cell 3
16Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl7pts
17Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor5Row 16 - Cell 3
18Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team4Row 17 - Cell 3
19Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-FideaRow 18 - Cell 2 Row 18 - Cell 3
20Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team2pts
21Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling TeamRow 20 - Cell 2 Row 20 - Cell 3
22Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam1Row 21 - Cell 3

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