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Nys wins Superprestige Zonhoven

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Huge crowds turned out in Zonhoven for the second round of the Superprestige series

Huge crowds turned out in Zonhoven for the second round of the Superprestige series
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea)

Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea)
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor)

Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor)
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) finished just shy of the podium in 4th place

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) finished just shy of the podium in 4th place
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Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the deep Zonhoven sand

Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the deep Zonhoven sand
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Elite men's podium (L-R): Niels Albert, Sven Nys and Bart Aernouts

Elite men's podium (L-R): Niels Albert, Sven Nys and Bart Aernouts
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Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team) had another strong showing with a 6th place finish

Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team) had another strong showing with a 6th place finish
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Sven Nys and Niels Albert waged a fierce battle for top honours in Zonhoven

Sven Nys and Niels Albert waged a fierce battle for top honours in Zonhoven
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French champion Aurelien Duval

French champion Aurelien Duval
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Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony)

Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony)
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Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) negotiates the big sand descent

Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) negotiates the big sand descent
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) picks himself up after a spectacular crash on the sand descent

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) picks himself up after a spectacular crash on the sand descent
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Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) was momentarily dazed after a heavy crash

Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) was momentarily dazed after a heavy crash
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Switzerland's Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team)

Switzerland's Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team)
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Lars van der Haar (Raboank-Giant Off-road Team) would finish 5th on the day

Lars van der Haar (Raboank-Giant Off-road Team) would finish 5th on the day
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Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) at the bottom of the sand descent

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) at the bottom of the sand descent
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Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea)

Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea)
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Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony)

Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony)
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) on the podium after his victory in Zonhoven

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) on the podium after his victory in Zonhoven
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Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) tackles a sand run-up

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) tackles a sand run-up
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Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) runs with his bike on the sandy Zonhoven parcours

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) runs with his bike on the sandy Zonhoven parcours
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) bombs a sand descent in Zonhoven

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) bombs a sand descent in Zonhoven
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Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) had a strong result with his 3rd place finish

Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) had a strong result with his 3rd place finish
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World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)

World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)
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Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) en route to a podium finish in Zonhoven

Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) en route to a podium finish in Zonhoven
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) wins round two of the Hansgrohe Superprestige

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) wins round two of the Hansgrohe Superprestige
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) wins round two of the Hansgrohe Superprestige

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) wins round two of the Hansgrohe Superprestige
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) came out on top in an epic battle with Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus)

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) came out on top in an epic battle with Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus)
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) came out on top in an epic battle with Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus)

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) came out on top in an epic battle with Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus)
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) wins round two of the Belgian series

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) wins round two of the Belgian series
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) came out on top

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) came out on top
(Image credit: Photopress.be)

Cyclo-cross lovers were offered a great spectacle during the second round of the Hansgrohe Superprestige series in Zonhoven, Belgium, when Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) and world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) battled for every inch in a hard-fought finale. Eventually Nys came out on top. The 36-year-old strengthened his lead in the Superprestige series after two rounds.

“It was fantastic to ride here,” Nys told TV-channel Vier. “Every year there’s more people and the sand quarry adds value to the 'cross. Then again, if you see how hard we fought for every second, every bit of space... That’s what people want to see. It’s the riders who make the race.”

The early moves in Zonhoven were opened by Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and Lars van der Haar (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team). Their efforts were neutralized once Albert moved to the front in the fourth of ten laps. The world champion got a small gap over Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) and Nys who, until that moment, didn’t mix in with the action up front.

In the chase of Albert it was Nys who worked hardest. Pauwels was on the limit and when diving into the sand quarry he hit a bump and went over the handlebars. In a battle of power and technical skills Nys came out ahead as he closed the gap of seven seconds on Albert by the end of the same fifth lap.

After two fast laps, two slower ones followed and van der Haar managed to bridge up with the two protagonists by the end of lap seven. The first chasers were Julien Taramarcaz (BMC), Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) and Pauwels at 18 seconds.

“We were matched to each other as we both had a gap which the other closed down. It was clear that the bell lap would bring the decision. It was a matter of being in the lead at the right moment which was just ahead of the uphill sand section. If I was leading and made a mistake then Albert would have to hop off as well,” Nys said.

What followed was the best bit of cyclo-cross in recent times. Albert managed to sneak through on the inside in the downhill section with deep sand ahead of the left-hand corner leading to the uphill sand section.

“He passed me where I didn’t expect it at all. I was forced off my bike. [...] I tried to put my bike ahead of him but I only got it next to him,” Nys said.

Albert somehow managed to continue riding up the small path on the right side of the course.

“I played all or nothing there. [...] It cracked and clamoured but eventually we both had to run up the hill. Then I was on my limit while Nys had something left in his tank to pass me. That was game over for me,” Albert said. “It’s not a shame to lose against Sven Nys. Too bad it happens quite a lot lately.”

Bart Aernouts was best of the rest, ahead of Pauwels, van der Haar and Taramarcaz.

After winning the first round in Ruddervoorde, Nys's lead in the Superprestige increased to two points over Albert. Pauwels is third at five points behind the Belgian champion.

Full Results
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony1:01:53
2Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus0:00:02
3Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team0:00:12
4Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:00:29
5Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:00:42
6Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:00:51
7Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:01:16
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:01:22
9Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:02:06
10Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus0:02:21
11Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus0:02:29
12Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:02:42
13Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team0:02:44
14Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept0:02:45
15Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team
16Arnaud Grand (Swi) Telenet - Fidea0:02:49
17Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:02:55
18Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:03:04
19Aurelien Duval (Fra) UV Aube0:03:09
20Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet - Fidea0:03:24
21Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles-Specialized0:03:29
22Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:04:20
23Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus0:04:50
24Jonathan Page (USA)0:05:34
25Dave De Cleyn (Bel)
26Micky van Empel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-KDL0:06:18
27Jimmy Tielens (Bel)-1lap
28Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco
29Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus-2laps
30Kevin Cant (Bel)
31Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) 36Cycling-3laps
32Mitchell Huenders (Ned)-4laps
DNFArnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet - Fidea
DNFVincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
DNFJim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
DNFChristoph Pfingsten (Ger) Cyclingteam De Rijke-Shanks
DNFLubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus

Superprestige standings after two rounds
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony30pts
2Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus28
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor25
4Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team20
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team20
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor19
7Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea16
8Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea14
9Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team13
10Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea11
11Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus10
12Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team9
13Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus6
14Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus5
15Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor4
16Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team4
17Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet-KDL2
18Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept2
19Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony1
20Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team1

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