New world champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) fought hard for his first victory in a mud-clad rainbow jersey on Sunday afternoon in Hoogstraten, Belgium during the penultimate round of the Superprestige series. Just like at the world championships last week, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) made Nys work hard for his money. This time he didn't crack before the sprint but there the Belgian champion once again had to bow his head for Nys. The 60th win for Nys in the Superprestige series puts him in touching distance of a 12th overall win in the series.
"Before the race I was in panic because my back ached," Nys told Vier right after the race. "Luckily there was a physiotherapist who could give me a quick treatment before the race. It helped and I had a lot more power. She saved my day.
"I ran into a very strong Klaas Vantornout. It wasn't possible to shake him off but I could count on my sprint. When I pulled through at the finish he cracked."
Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) was third at long distance from Nys and Vantornout while Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) finished below par in sixth place. The duo are now level in the general classification at 10 points from Nys. "It'll be an exciting race in Middelkerke," Pauwels predicted. The Superprestige final is held at the Belgian North Sea coast on February 16.
One day after the Bpost Bank Trofee round in Lille the cyclo-cross peloton was offered an extremely tough course at the Superprestige round in Hoogstraten. An overnight snow had been churned up into thick mud.
A fierce start from Martin Bina (CEZ Cyklo Team Tábor) showed which riders were keen on taking an icy mud bath. Vantornout increased the pace another notch in the second lap and only Bina, Nys and Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) were able to keep up. In the background Albert and Pauwels were struggling hard to even crack the top 10.
The pace was kept high by Vantornout but the four leader remained together during the third lap. Behind them Pauwels got his engine running and he moved over an impressive US-champion Jonathan Page (Fuji-ENGVT) into sixth place, riding at more than half a minute of the leaders. At that stage of the race Albert was still struggling as he rode in 12th place at more than a minute from the leaders.
Halfway into the race Bina and Walsleben cracked and had to let go of Vantornout and Nys. Though Vantornout took most of the initiative he wasn't able to shake off Nys. Behind the leading duo Pauwels went over Bina and joined Walsleben and Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) in the battle for third place. Page rode with Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) in sixth place. Further back Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) abandoned the race.
The leaders exchanged several accelerations but they were clearly a good match for each other. Pauwels proved to be the strongest in the chasing group and he headed for third place. A late surge from Vantornout before the finishing straight didn't offer him enough ground on Nys to avoid the sprint. Only Nys had some powder left in his legs and easily topped Vantornout for the win.
"I had two rivals today: Nys and the cold. In the end I cramped completely. It was a nice duel which the spectators enjoyed. Sven is very strong but I felt just as strong today. It's no coincidence that we fought each other last week at the world championships either. I'm surprised that I'm still riding this strong," Vantornout said.
Pauwels was third ahead of Peeters and Walsleben. Albert came back out of nowhere to grab sixth place and salvage his general classification. Page lost a bit of ground in the closing laps but still impressed by cracking the top 10 in Hoogstraten.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||1:02:21|
|2||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games||0:00:07|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games||0:00:55|
|4||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||0:01:26|
|5||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus||0:01:33|
|6||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||0:01:46|
|7||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team||0:01:55|
|8||Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus||0:02:02|
|9||Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept||0:02:13|
|10||Jonathan Page (USA)||0:02:17|
|11||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team||0:02:43|
|12||Simon Zahner (Swi) EKZ Racing Team||0:03:45|
|13||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||0:03:51|
|14||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games||0:04:01|
|15||Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:04:58|
|16||Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet - Fidea||0:05:28|
|17||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:05:38|
|18||Davy Commeyne (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty||0:05:52|
|19||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept||0:06:02|
|20||Patrick Gaudy (Bel)||0:06:14|
|21||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||0:06:33|
|22||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team||0:06:53|
|23||Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus||0:07:18|
|24||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||0:07:46|
|25||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:07:58|
|26||Yoann Corbihan (Fra)|
|27||Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies Cycling Team|
|28||Edwin De Wit (Bel)|
|29||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel)|
|30||Ian Taylor (GBr)|
|31||Andrew Peace (GBr)|
|32||Noel Clough (GBr)|
|33||Alexander Revell (NZl) Revolution Bicycles|
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