Pauwels pounces in Igorre
Nys second with Stybar a distant fifth
In-form Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) extended his lead during the fourth round of the World Cup with a convincing win in Igorre, Spain. As the race is held in the Basque Country winner Pauwels proudly showed off his first txapela, the typical Basque beret, on the podium.
In the third duel in three races, compatriot Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) lost for the first time, a ill-timed flat tire ruining his race. Nys easily stood tall for second place. Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) won the battle for third place from Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team). The latter crashed in the final corner. In the World Cup standings Pauwels now has a lead of 15 points over Nys.
“I’m pleased with this win. The course is harder than the one in Tabor so this is a nice win. Things are looking good for me now in the World Cup. I’ve got a good chance to win it,” Pauwels told Sporza.
In typical fashion Nys and Pauwels once again clashed with each other. After to a fast start from Belgian rider Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) there would be eleven laps to cover on the not so muddy course, including the somewhat shorter opening lap.
Despite some minor accelerations from Enrico Franzoi and Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus) a long line of riders featured the front of the race. Men like Pauwels were riding out of the top 10 due to a bike switch. “I was riding on tires with a Rhino-profile. Most others rode on Gryffo’s and that was what was needed here,” Pauwels told Sporza.
After two laps the pace dropped back and Nys convincingly took over command. “I didn’t see Kevin in front so I made the selection up front before allowing him to come back,” Nys said.
Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and Francis Mourey (FDJ) tried to follow but they were soon dropped. While trailing Nys by 13 seconds Pauwels and world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Cycling) launched a counter-attack.
“I didn’t see Nys attack. I felt good but there was little room to move up,” Pauwels said. It took Pauwels no time to get back to Nys in the fourth lap while Stybar was gapped and never managed to close the final meters down. The duo of Nys and Pauwels remained together for two more laps while Stybar lost more and more ground on them.
Then, with the sun peeking through the clouds with five laps to go, Nys punctured. While sitting on Pauwels’ wheel he managed to hide his bad luck until the duo hit the pavement. Pauwels didn’t know what happened as he looked back and noticed Nys wasn’t on his wheel.
“I didn’t know he flatted. I need to see the TV-footage for that,” Pauwels said.
It turned out to be the key moment in the race. The pit zone wasn’t too far away but the resulting bike switch offered Pauwels a gap of about seven seconds. What followed was a great duel. Pauwels went full gas to hold off Nys. First Nys came back to four seconds but soon later he was back at seven seconds.
“I was able to ride faster for a brief moment but soon after that you have to pay the price. I couldn’t close the gap down. If you keeping pushing for too long then you might come to a complete standstill and then my second place was in danger,” Nys said.
“For a moment I thought about allowing him to return but luckily I pushed through,” Pauwels said. Halfway into the seventh lap it was game-over as the Belgian veteran cracked. Lap-after-lap Pauwels picked up a few seconds and in the end Nys bowed his head. “Pauwels is a well-deserved winner. It was to his merit that he could hold me off,” Nys said.
Pauwels powered up the start-finish line with a big smile. He cleaned the mud-spat jersey and threw both his hands in the air. Nys rolled across the finish line at 45 seconds from Pauwels. Thanks to his win and the 80 World Cup points Pauwels now has a 15 points margin over Nys. “That’s quite a big gap but it still can go either way,” Pauwels said.
In the background Stybar was caught and left behind by the duo of Meeusen and Aernouts. “I think he blew up his engine while trying to keep up with those two in front. They’re a level stronger than the rest,” Meeusen said. One minute behind Pauwels the two Belgians headed for a sprint with Meeusen leading it out.
In the final corner Aernouts made a mistake and he went down. No second World Cup podium in a row for Aernouts but the first one for Meeusen. “I’m super happy because during the second lap I rode half a lap on a flat tire. The first two were way stronger than us so I think it’s fair to say that I was the best of the rest,” Meeusen told Sporza.
Luckily for Aernouts he had time to get back on his bike and collect the World Cup points for his fourth place ahead of Stybar. Mourey won the sprint in the main chase group ahead of Simunek, Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus), Franzoi, Steve Chainel (FDJ) and Vantornout. With his eleventh place the latter tumbles from fourth to seventh place in the World Cup.
Much further back Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde had the honor of being the first home rider in Igorre. Murgoitio was 18th at 2:37 from Pauwels. Nearly one minute later MTB star José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team) finished 22nd.
The next World Cup round is held in Namur, the Walloon part of Belgium, and the course over there features the steep slopes of the citadel. “It’s a course that suits me. Just like the one after that in Zolder. Things are looking good for me. I’ve got a good chance to win.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||1:02:31|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:00:45|
|3||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:00:59|
|4||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||0:01:06|
|5||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team||0:01:26|
|6||Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ||0:01:31|
|7||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:33|
|8||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:34|
|9||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti||0:01:35|
|10||Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:36|
|12||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:01:40|
|13||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||0:01:43|
|14||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||0:01:47|
|15||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland||0:01:59|
|17||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco||0:02:01|
|18||Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea||0:02:37|
|19||Cristian Cominelli (Ita) TX Active Bianchi||0:03:05|
|20||Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||0:03:09|
|21||Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Team Big Mat-Auber 93||0:03:15|
|22||José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa)||0:03:18|
|23||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) TWC De Kempen||0:03:36|
|24||Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) WV Schijndel||0:04:07|
|25||Magnus Darvell (Swe)||0:04:23|
|26||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)||0:04:44|
|27||Elia Silvestri (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti||0:04:57|
|28||Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa)||0:05:11|
|29||Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole||0:05:17|
|30||Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)||0:05:49|
|31||Kenneth Hansen (Den) Haderslev Starup||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa)||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Jose Antonio Diez Arriola (Spa)||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Jeremy Durrin (USA) J.A.M. Fund - NCC||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Joachim Parbo (Den) Challenge Tires||Row 36 - Cell 2|
World Cup standings after 4 races
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result||Header Cell - Column 3|
|1||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||300||pts|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||285||Row 1 - Cell 3|
|3||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team||250||Row 2 - Cell 3|
|4||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||221||Row 3 - Cell 3|
|5||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||220||Row 4 - Cell 3|
|6||Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ||218||Row 5 - Cell 3|
|7||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||210||Row 6 - Cell 3|
|8||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||166||Row 7 - Cell 3|
|9||Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ||160||Row 8 - Cell 3|
|10||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti||154||Row 9 - Cell 3|
|11||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||142||Row 10 - Cell 3|
|12||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||140||Row 11 - Cell 3|
|13||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus||134||Row 12 - Cell 3|
|14||Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Team Big Mat-Auber 93||129||Row 13 - Cell 3|
|15||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||119||Row 14 - Cell 3|
|16||Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole||113||Row 15 - Cell 3|
|17||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco||111||Row 16 - Cell 3|
|18||Cristian Cominelli (Ita) TX Active Bianchi||102||Row 17 - Cell 3|
|19||Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) WV Schijndel||99||Row 18 - Cell 3|
|20||Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea||98||Row 19 - Cell 3|
|21||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland||98||Row 20 - Cell 3|
|22||Jeremy Powers (USA) Team Rapha-Focus||97||Row 21 - Cell 3|
|23||Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB Racing||96||Row 22 - Cell 3|
|24||Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||96||Row 23 - Cell 3|
|25||Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Cyclingteam de Rijke||95||Row 24 - Cell 3|
|26||Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team||93||Row 25 - Cell 3|
|27||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||85||Row 26 - Cell 3|
|28||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||83||Row 27 - Cell 3|
|29||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles||69||Row 28 - Cell 3|
|30||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||65||Row 29 - Cell 3|
|31||Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team||63||Row 30 - Cell 3|
|32||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) TWC De Kempen||63||Row 31 - Cell 3|
|33||Christian Heule (Swi) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||53||Row 32 - Cell 3|
|34||Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL||53||Row 33 - Cell 3|
|35||Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)||51||Row 34 - Cell 3|
|36||Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam||46||Row 35 - Cell 3|
|37||Magnus Darvell (Swe)||46||Row 36 - Cell 3|
|38||David Kasek (Cze)||44||Row 37 - Cell 3|
|39||Petr Dlask (Cze)||39||Row 38 - Cell 3|
|40||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles||38||Row 39 - Cell 3|
|41||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||33||Row 40 - Cell 3|
|42||Sascha Weber (Ger)||33||Row 41 - Cell 3|
|43||José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spa)||29||Row 42 - Cell 3|
|44||Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb-Revor||28||Row 43 - Cell 3|
|45||Johannes Sickmüller (Ger)||27||Row 44 - Cell 3|
|46||Jérome Chevallier (Fra)||26||Row 45 - Cell 3|
|47||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)||25||Row 46 - Cell 3|
|48||Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.Aube||25||Row 47 - Cell 3|
|49||Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)||25||Row 48 - Cell 3|
|50||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Landbouwkrediet - KDL||25||Row 49 - Cell 3|
|51||Elia Silvestri (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti||24||Row 50 - Cell 3|
|52||Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa)||23||Row 51 - Cell 3|
|53||James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||22||Row 52 - Cell 3|
|54||Kenneth Hansen (Den) Haderslev Starup||21||Row 53 - Cell 3|
|55||Karel Hnik (Cze) Telenet-Fidea||20||Row 54 - Cell 3|
|56||Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh||19||Row 55 - Cell 3|
|57||Marco Ponta (Ita) Esercito||19||Row 56 - Cell 3|
|58||Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl||19||Row 57 - Cell 3|
|59||Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa)||18||Row 58 - Cell 3|
|60||Fabio Ursi (Ita) C.S.Esercito||18||Row 59 - Cell 3|
|61||Jose Antonio Diez Arriola (Spa)||17||Row 60 - Cell 3|
|62||Guillaume Perrot (Fra)||17||Row 61 - Cell 3|
|63||Ondrej Bambula (Cze)||17||Row 62 - Cell 3|
|64||Jeremy Durrin (USA) J.A.M. Fund - NCC||16||Row 63 - Cell 3|
|65||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||16||Row 64 - Cell 3|
|66||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi)||15||Row 65 - Cell 3|
|67||Joachim Parbo (Den) Challenge Tires||14||Row 66 - Cell 3|
|68||Milan Barenyi (Svk)||14||Row 67 - Cell 3|
|69||Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea||12||Row 68 - Cell 3|
|70||René Lang (Swi) VMC Liestal||12||Row 69 - Cell 3|
|71||Melvin Rulliere (Fra)||11||Row 70 - Cell 3|
|72||Nico Brüngger (Swi) EKZ Racing Team||11||Row 71 - Cell 3|
|73||Martin Haring (Svk)||10||Row 72 - Cell 3|
|74||Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)||10||Row 73 - Cell 3|
|75||Marek Cichosz (Pol)||6||Row 74 - Cell 3|
|76||Ole Quast (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||5||Row 75 - Cell 3|
|77||Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) Johnson Control||3||Row 76 - Cell 3|
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