World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) surged forward late in the sandy Zonhoven Superprestige race to grab the win on Sunday afternoon. The world champion outsprinted Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and moved into the lead of the overall Superprestige rankings after two rounds. Former leader Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) finished third a short time later.
Vantornout and Dutch champion Lars van der Haar (Rabo Development Team) led for most of the race on the spectacular course with the sand quarry but didn't have anything left in their tanks when Albert and Nys launched their offensive; Van der Haar went on to finish fourth.
Nys struggled to move up towards the early leaders due to a bad start, heavy traffic and a flat tyre.
"Two laps before the end, I started getting a grip on the race," said Nys to TV-Channel Vier. "Niels went flat out, and I made no mistakes behind him. In the sprint, I clicked out of the pedal, but I was strong enough to hold on for the win. It was a great race for the riders, and it's nice to come out winning. It's one to remember."
While Nys and Albert were caught in traffic early on, Vantornout applied the tactic of putting pressure on right from the start. The Belgian champion used his usual hole-shot start to set a fierce pace which only Van der Haar was able to mark.
"It was my plan to ride my own race in front. It's easier to choose your tracks on this course. There were a few tough sections with a lot of headwind though and riding an hour in front is very long," Vantornout said.
That's why Vantornout eventually ended his cooperation with Van der Haar. "Everybody made mistakes. If you rode flawlessly, it was possible to close a gap of 15 seconds in no time."
Halfway through the race, Albert and teammate Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) bridged up to Vantornout and Van der Haar with Nys trailing by a dozen seconds together with Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games). "I always struggled to move up due to mistakes from others, my own mistakes or a flat tyre," Nys said.
Four laps before the finish Nys bridged up to the leaders for the first time, but as the world champion described, he wasn't comfortable yet due to setbacks in the sand sections.
In the penultimate lap, Nys made his move forward through the field during the second part of the course. Just ahead of a tricky uphill sand section, a brutal Nys set Vantornout aside. "Those are nice duels. We all want to win. That's what the people like to see, and me too," Vantornout said. "It gave me a boost to fight even harder."
Nys hopped off the bike little later and used the sand section to recover. As a result, four riders entered the final lap, ready to battle it out for the victory.
Albert took the initiative and set a fierce pace in front. Van der Haar was the first victim and let his foot off the gas. Only Nys was able to hold Albert's wheel while Vantornout slowly faded away. Albert put Nys in trouble, but he was unable to gain more than a handful of metres on the world champion.
"Sven and I were the best, especially in the final laps. I tried but Sven made no mistakes in the final lap otherwise it was possible. On the other hand, I'm happy with my form after a few tough weeks," Albert said.
Nys profited from Albert's hard work and just before the final corner, he moved in first place which was necessary considering the short finishing straight. Although Nys clicked out of the pedal, he held on for the win. "Albert was spending a lot of energy in that section before the final corners. I managed to recover there," Nys said.
Next week the third round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series will be held in Hamme-Zogge. "I heard it'll be raining all week, so there will be a great course for us," Albert is looking forward to the Bollekescross.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:59:55|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team|
|3||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:15|
|4||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||0:00:29|
|5||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:00:57|
|6||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus|
|7||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|8||Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:01:51|
|9||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team|
|10||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:01:57|
|11||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team||0:02:03|
|12||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:02:12|
|13||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:38|
|14||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles||0:02:41|
|15||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:02:54|
|16||Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:03:22|
|17||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|18||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team|
|19||Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:04:05|
|20||Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team||0:04:17|
|21||Patrick Gaudy (Bel) The Barracuda Company|
|22||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:04:42|
|23||Dave De Cleyn (Bel)||0:04:59|
|24||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:05:24|
|25||Kevin Cant (Bel) Primator Cyclingteam||0:05:45|
|26||Micki Van Empel (Ned) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:05:59|
|27||Kevin Eeckhout (Bel)||0:06:06|
|28||Davy Commeyne (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty Cycling Team|
|29||Niels Koyen (Bel) Van Goethem-Prorace Cycling Team|
|30||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team|
|31||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team|
|32||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn) Colba-Superano Ham|
|33||Angus Edmond (NZl)|
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