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Nys wins cyclo-cross world title in Louisvillle

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Sven Nys (Belgium) celebrates his world championship in front of the Louisville crowd

Sven Nys (Belgium) celebrates his world championship in front of the Louisville crowd (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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Crowds thrived in the bonus of "world cross weather"

Crowds thrived in the bonus of "world cross weather" (Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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Louisville's latest slugger managed to hit a home run first time at bat!

Louisville's latest slugger managed to hit a home run first time at bat! (Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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The Belgium kings of 'Cross burst out of the start to lead the pack on this first ever world event in the US.

The Belgium kings of 'Cross burst out of the start to lead the pack on this first ever world event in the US. (Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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(Image credit: MarcoQuezada.com/NYVelocity)
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Francis Mourey (FRA) took a commanding lead early

Francis Mourey (FRA) took a commanding lead early (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Niels Albert (BEL) on a very steep climb

Niels Albert (BEL) on a very steep climb (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Lars van der Haar covered with Louisville mud

Lars van der Haar covered with Louisville mud (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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USA Champion Jonathan Page riding a steep climb

USA Champion Jonathan Page riding a steep climb (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Bart Aernouts (BEL) alone on a steep pitch

Bart Aernouts (BEL) alone on a steep pitch (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Tim Johnson (USA) approaching the Shimano steps

Tim Johnson (USA) approaching the Shimano steps (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ryan Trebon (USA) at the small set of steps

Ryan Trebon (USA) at the small set of steps (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klaas Vantornout (BEL) remounting his machine with one lap to go

Klaas Vantornout (BEL) remounting his machine with one lap to go (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jonathan Page (USA)

Jonathan Page (USA) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Francis Mourey (FRA) on the front row

Francis Mourey (FRA) on the front row (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Rob Peeters (BEL) taking the hole shot

Rob Peeters (BEL) taking the hole shot (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klaas Vantornout (BEL) with the lead on lap one

Klaas Vantornout (BEL) with the lead on lap one (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klaas Vantornout (BEL) leading lap one

Klaas Vantornout (BEL) leading lap one (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Americans on lap one were together (L-R): Jonathan Page, Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson

The Americans on lap one were together (L-R): Jonathan Page, Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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David Quist (NOR) seemed to have traction problems which forced him to run

David Quist (NOR) seemed to have traction problems which forced him to run (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Tim Johnson fans were out in force today

Tim Johnson fans were out in force today (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Conditions softend as the race progressed

Conditions softend as the race progressed (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kevin Pauwels (BEL) at the limeston steps

Kevin Pauwels (BEL) at the limeston steps (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremy Powers (USA) lost a lot of ground early in the race

Jeremy Powers (USA) lost a lot of ground early in the race (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jamey Driscoll (USA) electing to push his bike around a sharp turn

Jamey Driscoll (USA) electing to push his bike around a sharp turn (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (BEL) entering an off-camber section of course

Sven Nys (BEL) entering an off-camber section of course (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The crowd seemed nearly as big as Koksijde in places

The crowd seemed nearly as big as Koksijde in places (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Francis Mourey (FRA) began losing ground to the Belgians on lap two

Francis Mourey (FRA) began losing ground to the Belgians on lap two (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Riders at the limestone steps on lap three

Riders at the limestone steps on lap three (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Defending champion Niels Albert seemed to stuggle with the conditions

Defending champion Niels Albert seemed to stuggle with the conditions (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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USA Champion Jonathan Page quickly moved in to the top ten

USA Champion Jonathan Page quickly moved in to the top ten (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ryan Trebon (USA) racing in the top 15

Ryan Trebon (USA) racing in the top 15 (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremy Powers (USA) running the limestone steps on lap three

Jeremy Powers (USA) running the limestone steps on lap three (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zoltan Tisza (HUN) was well off the pace but rode technically well

Zoltan Tisza (HUN) was well off the pace but rode technically well (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Elite Men have little trouble with a long sand pit due to the frozen ground

The Elite Men have little trouble with a long sand pit due to the frozen ground (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Martin Bina (CZE) leading a group through the sand

Martin Bina (CZE) leading a group through the sand (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Bart Aernouts (BEL) followed by Niels Albert

Bart Aernouts (BEL) followed by Niels Albert (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) wins the second world championship of his career

Sven Nys (Belgium) wins the second world championship of his career (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) wins in Louisville

Sven Nys (Belgium) wins in Louisville (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) wins his second world title

Sven Nys (Belgium) wins his second world title (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Runner-up Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) on the podium

Runner-up Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Elite men's podium (L-R): Klaas Vantornout (Belgium), Sven Nys (Belgium) and Lars van der Haar (Holland)

Elite men's podium (L-R): Klaas Vantornout (Belgium), Sven Nys (Belgium) and Lars van der Haar (Holland) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Elite men's podium (L-R): Klaas Vantornout (Belgium), Sven Nys (Belgium) and Lars van der Haar (Holland)

Elite men's podium (L-R): Klaas Vantornout (Belgium), Sven Nys (Belgium) and Lars van der Haar (Holland) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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World champ Sven Nys (Belgium)

World champ Sven Nys (Belgium) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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World champ Sven Nys (Belgium)

World champ Sven Nys (Belgium) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys leads Belgian teammate Klaas Vantornout

Sven Nys leads Belgian teammate Klaas Vantornout (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The elite men's peloton in Louisville

The elite men's peloton in Louisville (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys leads Belgian teammate Klaas Vantornout

Sven Nys leads Belgian teammate Klaas Vantornout (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) wins Worlds

Sven Nys (Belgium) wins Worlds (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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When in Louisville, one wields a Louisville Slugger

When in Louisville, one wields a Louisville Slugger (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tim Johnson (USA) having no problem on the off-camber section

Tim Johnson (USA) having no problem on the off-camber section (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jonathan Page (USA) trying to recover from a broken chain and flat tire

Jonathan Page (USA) trying to recover from a broken chain and flat tire (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The crowd on the ridge was massive as riders took to the off-camber section of course

The crowd on the ridge was massive as riders took to the off-camber section of course (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Riders attacking the limestone steps

Riders attacking the limestone steps (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jonathan Page (USA) racing well on lap three

Jonathan Page (USA) racing well on lap three (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Lady Liberty was on hand to cheer the Americans

Lady Liberty was on hand to cheer the Americans (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Francis Mourey (FRA) just before the Belgians caught him

Francis Mourey (FRA) just before the Belgians caught him (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (BEL) wins the World Championship in Louisville

Sven Nys (BEL) wins the World Championship in Louisville (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Belgian chasers with one lap to go

The Belgian chasers with one lap to go (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremy Powers (USA) with one lap to go

Jeremy Powers (USA) with one lap to go (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Bart Aernouts (BEL) with one lap to go

Bart Aernouts (BEL) with one lap to go (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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A very happy Sven Nys (Belgium)

A very happy Sven Nys (Belgium) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) spent half the race working his way to the front

Sven Nys (Belgium) spent half the race working his way to the front (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sven Nys (Belgium)

Sven Nys (Belgium) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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It was Belgian Blue on the front at the start

It was Belgian Blue on the front at the start (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) wins the 'cross world championship

Sven Nys (Belgium) wins the 'cross world championship (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

Sven Nys erased the bitter taste of last year's world championship letdown in Koksijde with a masterful, calculated effort to win the 2013 elite men's cyclo-cross world championship in Louisville, Kentucky. The race's endgame featured a head-to-head duel between Nys and compatriot Klaas Vantornout, but a pair of miscues on the final lap by Vantornout on the limestone step run-up, mid-way through the circuit, provided Nys with the opportunity to turn on the afterburners and ride away to the second elite men's 'cross title of his storied career.

The 36-year-old Belgian had just enough of a gap to savour the Louisville crowd's raucous adulation on the finishing stretch, while two seconds later Vantornout banged his fist on the handlebars in frustration as he'd never before been so tantalisingly close to earning a rainbow jersey of his own.

Lars van der Haar gave the Netherlands yet another reason to celebrate today as the 21-year-old Dutchman delivered a bronze medal in his debut world championships at the elite level, just 25 seconds off the pace of Nys.

For Nys, the victory was a manifestation of his vast experience at cyclo-cross's highest level. "I race a lot with Klaas, and I know him," said Nys. "And you need to use your experience. You need to be in the front in the last lap and try to have a gap before the obstacles, because there I was the strongest.

"When I have a gap before the obstacles, it was positive to win the race. I took a little more power before the obstacles, I had a small gap and then full power until the end. I also made a few mistakes in the last three corners, but of course when you are in the front it's possible to make mistakes.

"If he came back on the wheel then I knew that normally I am the strongest in the sprint. So then I was relaxed. But it is victory of experience, not only power."

Nys, typically the picture of calm, confessed that inside on the start line he was facing a case of the pre-race jitters. "Definitely this day before the race I felt I was getting nervous again," said Nys. "I felt 'goddamn, why am I doing this?' It's so stressful, it costs a lot of energy, but at the end you win and you have this jersey, you say, ‘this is why I'm doing it'.

"It was a hard season. I was sick before national championships and was second after Klaas. Then I felt, OK, when my shape is going up a bit again, it's maybe possible to win the world championships. When the weather circumstances are good and when everything is arranged like we want, it was very positive. The national federation, the teams - it was a hard job to do everything perfect, and I felt this today.

While the general consensus in the build-up to this year's Worlds in Louisville was that the parcours at Eva Bandman Park would be a fast, relatively unselective circuit, Mother Nature pitched in with a dose of wintry weather to set the stage for a truly deserving winner.

"I've got a lot of podium places in the world championships, but for me it doesn't work at the end of the season. One of the reasons is most of the races have been very fast over the past 10 years, and it is difficult for me to win those races. Over here there were a lot of technical skills required, and the atmosphere helped a lot. I felt it the whole week."

Vantornout earned the second world championship silver medal of his career, but it was a bittersweet day filled with mixed emotions for the 30-year-old Belgian. "I was very close today, it's a double feeling," said Vantornout. "I'm lucky that I have my Belgian champion's jersey and the season was already very, very good from the beginning to the end.

"But today it was also a good race. I felt strong, even as strong as Sven Nys, but just on the moment he was riding on the front and I made two little mistakes and my race was over." After bobbling at the base of the limestone step run-up on the final lap, which enabled Nys to pass him, Vantornout sealed his fate when his right pedal clipped a course barrier at the top of the run-up, momentarily stopping him in his tracks and giving Nys just enough daylight to ride away to victory.

Van der Haar's bronze medal ride provided yet more confirmation that the young Dutchman made the correct decision in foregoing his final year in the U23 ranks, although his day didn't start quite as expected.

"I had big problems in the first two laps getting the pace, it was just too hard for me and I didn't have the right feeling," said van der Haar. "I thought 'I have to believe in myself for the whole race' and I found a new pace and could come back to [Niels] Albert. I just felt really good - I had the power and the technical parts were going really well. I didn't really make that many mistakes, that's why I could come back.

"At the end when I went for third I saw that Albert was mentally getting a bit down. I thought 'I should go now and maybe get a gap'. I went for it just before the technical section, got a gap and had to hold it for two laps almost, but I could never get back for the win. I was really happy to get third in my first pro year."

Patience is key

Martin Bina (Czech Republic), winner of the final World Cup round and always keyed up for truly wintry conditions, set the early fast pace and led after the opening lap, but then Francis Mourey (France) took over at the front and pushed out a lead approaching 20 seconds.

But Belgians loomed, and the Frenchman soon found himself first in the company of Pauwels then quickly followed by Nys and Vantornout at the head of affairs. In pursuit of the leading quartet was a solo Niels Albert in fifth, himself pursued by a solitary Lars van der Haar in sixth. After five of nine laps had been completed Albert trailed by 11 seconds while van der Haar was just five seconds in arrears of the 2012 world champion.

While Mourey was having a stellar day in the sloppy conditions, Nys knew it was just a matter of time before the Frenchman would come unhinged, which took place on the following lap. "I was waiting until the second part of the race where I am normally the strongest," said Nys. "You saw that all season. For me it was trying to stay calm, don't make any mistakes and wait until Mourey was making some mistakes. We know Mourey, he's a strong rider, but he makes a lot of mistakes and you need to know it."

Near the end of lap six, just as Albert joined the front group, a technical section in the woods would prove pivotal to the race's outcome. Pauwels dropped his chain and lost any hope of a podium finish while Mourey, too, would come unglued and lost contact with the pointy end of the race. Nys and Vantornout crossed the finish line together in the lead, while Albert moved up to third at 11 seconds followed four seconds later by a motivated van der Haar. Adding insult to injury for Pauwels, the Belgian had to stop again to fix his dodgy drivetrain on the finishing straight about 75m from the finish.

As Nys and Vantornout continued to wage their two-man war at the front, van der Haar made contact with Albert in the battle for bronze and on the penultimate lap the young Dutchman smelled blood and dispatched of the Belgian. Entering the final lap, van der Haar trailed the Nys/Vantornout duo by 17 seconds while a four-man chase group had formed behind the Dutchman, containing Albert, Bart Wellens (Belgium), Philipp Walsleben (Germany) and Julien Taramarcaz (Switzerland).

It was cat and mouse between Nys and Vantornout on the final lap until Vantornout was beset by a quick succession of errors on the limestone step sector. Nys pounced and a handful of minutes later the rainbow jersey was again his. Van der Haar remained poised beyond his years to round out the podium, while Bart Wellens overcame a dismal start to notch a fourth place result, 41 seconds down on Nys.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sven Nys (Belgium)1:05:35
2Klaas Vantornout (Belgium)0:00:02
3Lars Van Der Haar (Netherlands)0:00:25
4Bart Wellens (Belgium)0:00:41
5Philipp Walsleben (Germany)0:00:44
6Julien Taramarcaz (Switzerland)
7Radomir Simunek (Czech Republic)0:01:15
8Niels Albert (Belgium)0:01:19
9Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands)0:01:31
10Martin Bina (Czech Republic)0:01:41
11Francis Mourey (France)0:01:54
12Kevin Pauwels (Belgium)0:02:04
13Simon Zahner (Switzerland)0:02:36
14Enrico Franzoi (Italy)0:02:38
15Bart Aernouts (Belgium)0:02:48
16Marcel Meisen (Germany)0:02:54
17Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland)0:03:04
18Rob Peeters (Belgium)0:03:16
19Timothy Johnson (United States Of America)0:03:20
20Arnaud Grand (Switzerland)0:03:32
21Marcel Wildhaber (Switzerland)0:03:38
22Jonathan Page (United States Of America)0:03:42
23Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spain)0:03:58
24Geoff Kabush (Canada)0:04:06
25Jeremy Powers (United States Of America)0:04:16
26Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy)0:04:27
27James Driscoll (United States Of America)0:04:37
28Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spain)0:05:15
29Ian Field (Great Britain)0:05:38
30Guillaume Perrot (France)0:05:44
31Yu Takenouchi (Japan)0:05:47
32Romain Lejeune (France)0:06:00
-2lapsChristian Helmig (Luxembourg)
-2lapsCraig Richey (Canada)
-2lapsDaniel Summerhill (United States Of America)
-2lapsVaclav Metlicka (Slovakia)
-4lapsMike Garrigan (Canada)
-4lapsAlexander Revell (New Zealand)
-5lapsHikaru Kosaka (Japan)
-5lapsLewis Rattray (Australia)
-5lapsZoltan Tisza (Hungary)
-5lapsMaksym Shepitko (Ukraine)
-6lapsDavid Quist (Norway)
DNFRyan Trebon (United States Of America)
DNFTwan Van Den Brand (Netherlands)

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