Nys beats Pauwels in tumultuous sprint in Koksijde

The third round of the World Cup in sandy Koksijde, Belgium, ended in a tumultuous sprint between Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor). Nys was first over the line but Pauwels' gestures showed that he didn't agree with the way the sprint unfolded. Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant - Offroad Team) was third ahead of world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) in fourth. Pauwels remains the leader in the UCI World Cup, but Nys trails him by only five points.

"I'm very happy with this victory. I had one of my better days of this season," Nys said. The 35-year-old needed a couple of laps to bridge up with the lead group that included Stybar, Pauwels, Aernouts, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ).

"My teammate did a great job by closing the gap on the road. I didn't have to make any additional effort," Nys said, heralding the efforts from Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet).

Once at the back of the lead group, Nys showed off his skills in a long, hilly, sandy section during the third lap. Nys choose a different line that seemed worse at first glance, but he simply blasted past everyone. The series of accelerations that followed created a four-man lead group with Nys, Pauwels, Stybar and Aernouts at the halfway point of the race.

For a few laps, this status quo remained, but with three laps to go, Nys punched away on the same sandy passage where he had impressed during the third lap. Pauwels smoothly bridged back up to Nys while Stybar held up Aernouts.

"More was possible for me. I probably shouldn't have been at the back of the group all the time," said Aernouts.

Several attacks from both Nys and Pauwels followed. During the penultimate lap, Nys powered away after Pauwels collided with a barrier. "I thought that was the decisive move for the victory, but I made a mistake. At the world championships, I can't make that mistake again," Nys said.

Roles were reversed about halfway through last lap, when Nys struggled in the long sand section and Pauwels seemed to be heading for the win. "I recovered from that, and we both headed for a sprint with sore legs," Nys said.

A debatable sprint concluded the race. Nys wanted to make sure he took the final corner first going into the asphalt. "It's a short road to the finish, but there was a strong headwind. I entered the corner at high speed and almost went into the barriers. Then I looked back and saw that no damage was done. At that moment Kevin was still behind me, and I opted to ride my sprint on the righthand side of the road. I don't think Kevin was ever next to me. I fought to get the victory, and Kevin had the choice to choose the other side," Nys said.

Pauwels claimed he was riding next to Nys. "I was halfway alongside his bike, maybe a little further back. When exiting the corner, I was immediately next to Nys with my wheel, so I had no other choice but move along to the right," Pauwels said.

Aernouts was a close third due to the poker game between Pauwels and Nys in the last lap. "I was able to see them, but I couldn't tell whether Pauwels was next to Nys or not and that's the key question here. We should've had one of those choppers from the airbase here to show what happened," Aernouts said.

Stybar lost a lot of ground in the final laps. The Czech was fourth at 45 seconds.

Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) missed out in the lead group after a disastrous passage in the sand during the third lap. He was never able to bridge back up but kept the leaders in sight, eventually finishing fifth. Vantornout, Mourey, Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Sven Vanthourenhout claimed positions six up to nine. Nicolas Bazin (Big Mat - Auber 93) surprised by cracking the top-10 on a demanding course.

British rider Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) will be content with his 22nd place while Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) quickly lost ground during the race and eventually faded to a 32nd place. "What to say, what to say? I need to train more specifically for Koksidje [sic] if I even want to have a chance at top 15 for the world champs. I'm disappointed. Yes. I learned a lot of things that I wouldn't have if I hadn't come over and raced Koksidje [sic]. I knew it wouldn't be easy," Powers tweeted. His compatriot Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) didn't finish the race.

The Nys-Pauwels debates among the 10,000 spectators heated up a chilly Koksijde where the sun was setting at the finish. No doubt the fans of both Pauwels and Nys will have much to talk about this evening.

Tomorrow is another race and undoubtedly the duo will clash again in Gieten, The Netherlands during the fifth leg of the Superprestige Series.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet1:03:18
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Revor0:00:01
3Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team0:00:06
4Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:45
5Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:00:51
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Revor0:00:57
7Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ0:01:08
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:01:32
9Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:02:00
10Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 930:02:34
11Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.Nl Cycling Team0:02:46
12Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco Cycling Team0:03:10
13Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti0:03:12
14Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team0:03:21
15Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus0:03:36
16Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)0:03:45
17Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:03:52
18Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team0:04:03
19Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ0:04:10
20Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels0:04:15
21Marco Bianco (Ita)0:04:32
22Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles0:04:39
23Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:04:54
24Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.nl Cycling Team0:04:55
25Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Cyclingteam De Rijke0:05:02
26Aurelien Duval (Fra)Row 25 - Cell 2
27Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)0:05:35
28Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:05:40
29Cristian Cominelli (Ita) TX Active Bianchi0:05:47
30Christian Heule (Swi) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.Com0:05:57
31Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB - Racing0:06:06
32Jeremy Powers (USA) Team Rapha Focus0:06:07
33Marcel Meisen (Ger)0:06:18
34Guillaume Perrot (Fra)0:06:20
35Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:06:26
36Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team0:06:30
37Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb - RevorRow 36 - Cell 2
38Magnus Darvell (Swe)0:06:35
39Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - Fidea0:06:53
40Martin Zlamalik (Cze) KDL Trans0:07:08
-1lapEddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
-1lapDavid Kasek (Cze)Row 41 - Cell 2
-1lapJohannes Sickmueller (Ger) Feenstra Stevens Bike TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
-1lapJérome Chevallier (Fra)Row 43 - Cell 2
-1lapMarek Cichosz (Pol) Legia - FeltRow 44 - Cell 2
-1lapMilan Barenyi (Svk)Row 45 - Cell 2
-1lapIsaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)Row 46 - Cell 2
-2lapsRobert Gavenda (Svk) KDL TransRow 47 - Cell 2
-3lapsRené Lang (Swi)Row 48 - Cell 2
-3lapsMartin Haring (Svk)Row 49 - Cell 2
-3lapsCraig Richey (Can)Row 50 - Cell 2
-3lapsGusty Bausch (Lux)Row 51 - Cell 2
-3lapsJavier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)Row 52 - Cell 2
-3lapsFabian Brzezinski (Ger)Row 53 - Cell 2
-5lapsJoachim Parbo (Den)Row 54 - Cell 2
-5lapsAgustin Navarro Vidal (Spa)Row 55 - Cell 2
-5lapsRobert Glajza (Svk)Row 56 - Cell 2
-5lapsDmitrijs Sorokins (Lat)Row 57 - Cell 2
-5lapsSigvard Kukk (Est)Row 58 - Cell 2
DNFSascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange - Magic Sportfood.deRow 59 - Cell 2
DNFJonathan Page (USA) Planet BikeRow 60 - Cell 2
DNFRadomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - PowerplusRow 61 - Cell 2
DNFJohn Gadret (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 62 - Cell 2
DNSFabio Ursi (Ita) Team CBE Tecnoimpiante A.S.D.Row 63 - Cell 2
DNSMarco Ponta (Ita)Row 64 - Cell 2
DNSMirko Tabacchi (Ita)Row 65 - Cell 2
DNSTommy Nielsen (Den)Row 66 - Cell 2

World Cup Standings after three rounds

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Revor220pts
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet215Row 1 - Cell 3
3Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team195Row 2 - Cell 3
4Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Revor170Row 3 - Cell 3
5Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ168Row 4 - Cell 3
6Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team161Row 5 - Cell 3
7Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea155Row 6 - Cell 3
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea129Row 7 - Cell 3
9Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ118Row 8 - Cell 3
10Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti110Row 9 - Cell 3
11Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team106Row 10 - Cell 3
12Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.Nl Cycling Team102Row 11 - Cell 3
13Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 9399Row 12 - Cell 3
14Jeremy Powers (USA) Team Rapha Focus97Row 13 - Cell 3
15Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott - Swisspower MTB - Racing96Row 14 - Cell 3
16Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Cyclingteam De Rijke95Row 15 - Cell 3
17Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team93Row 16 - Cell 3
18Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole91Row 17 - Cell 3
19Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus86Row 18 - Cell 3
20Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus85Row 19 - Cell 3
21Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco Cycling Team77Row 20 - Cell 3
22Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus73Row 21 - Cell 3
23Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team72Row 22 - Cell 3
24Cristian Cominelli (Ita) TX Active Bianchi70Row 23 - Cell 3
25Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles69Row 24 - Cell 3
26Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)65Row 25 - Cell 3
27Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.Com65Row 26 - Cell 3
28Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.Nl Cycling Team65Row 27 - Cell 3
29Marco Bianco (Ita)63Row 28 - Cell 3
30Marcel Meisen (Ger)63Row 29 - Cell 3
31Christian Heule (Swi) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.Com53Row 30 - Cell 3
32Martin Zlamalik (Cze) KDL Trans53Row 31 - Cell 3
33Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)51Row 32 - Cell 3
34Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet44Row 33 - Cell 3
35David Kasek (Cze)44Row 34 - Cell 3
36Petr Dlask (Cze) Rubena - Birell - Specialized Cycling Team39Row 35 - Cell 3
37Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike38Row 36 - Cell 3
38Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team35Row 37 - Cell 3
39Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team33Row 38 - Cell 3
40Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange - Magic-Sportfood.de33Row 39 - Cell 3
41Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels31Row 40 - Cell 3
42Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb - Revor28Row 41 - Cell 3
43Johannes Sickmueller (Ger) Feenstra Stevens Bike Team27Row 42 - Cell 3
44Jérome Chevallier (Fra)26Row 43 - Cell 3
45Aurelien Duval (Fra)25Row 44 - Cell 3
46Robert Gavenda (Svk) KDL Trans25Row 45 - Cell 3
47James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.com22Row 46 - Cell 3
48Karel Hnik (Cze) Telenet - Fidea20Row 47 - Cell 3
49Magnus Darvell (Swe)20Row 48 - Cell 3
50Marco Ponta (Ita)19Row 49 - Cell 3
51Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team19Row 50 - Cell 3
52Fabio Ursi (Ita) Team Cbe Tecnoimpianti A.S.D.18Row 51 - Cell 3
53Guillaume Perrot (Fra)17Row 52 - Cell 3
54Ondrej Bambula (Cze)17Row 53 - Cell 3
55Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet16Row 54 - Cell 3
56Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team15Row 55 - Cell 3
57Milan Barenyi (Svk)14Row 56 - Cell 3
58Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - Fidea12Row 57 - Cell 3
59René Lang (Swi)12Row 58 - Cell 3
60Melvin Rulliere (Fra)11Row 59 - Cell 3
61Nico Brüngger (Swi)11Row 60 - Cell 3
62Martin Haring (Svk)10Row 61 - Cell 3
63Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)10Row 62 - Cell 3
64Marek Cichosz (Pol) Legia - Felt6Row 63 - Cell 3
65Ole Quast (Ger)5Row 64 - Cell 3
66Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)4Row 65 - Cell 3
67Vaclav Metlicka (Svk)3Row 66 - Cell 3
68Kenneth Hansen (Den)1Row 67 - Cell 3


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