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Meeusen surprise winner of Kalmthout World Cup

Neo-pro Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) netted his first World Cup victory in a fast and tactical race in Kalmthout by beating Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) in the sprint finale.

World Cup leader Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) never seemed comfortable in the snow but by limiting his losses and finishing in fifth place the 24-year-old Belgian did more than enough to maintain his lead in the Word Cup.

"It felt great to cross the line this way," Meeusen said. "Last week in Essen was my actual home race but this one comes quite near. Especially when you're finishing it in the sprint against Sven [Nys] as a young lad.

"This is really cool to have this race on my palmares. It's my third win of the season but I didn't expect that I could win a World Cup this year."

Fast starters rewarded on snowy singletrack

The twisting, snow-covered course in Kalmthout made one's start particularly important as it proved to be exceedingly difficult to pass with only one good line for most of the parcours. French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) profited from that early on as he got the hole shot and opened up a several second lead on the opening lap. Riding second behind Mourey was compatriot Steve Chainel (Bouygues Telecom) who didn't hide which team he's heading in several few weeks. "I protected my second place and didn't go flat out after Mourey," Chainel said of the team tactics.

During the second lap World Cup leader Niels Albert maneuvered past Chainel and halfway through the third lap caught up with Mourey. Meanwhile, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) crashed and caused a pile-up which greatly benefited the six riders ahead of Vantornout: Mourey, Albert, Meeusen, Nys, Pauwels and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Offroad) were the only riders left battling for the win.

From the fourth lap onwards that sextet rode together at the front. Several accelerations and pit stops followed, changing the order of the group but not the gaps between the six riders.

"I always rode in fourth of fifth position, trying to stay out of the picture and see how the others were riding," Meeusen said.

With three laps to go Pauwels, Aernouts and Meeusen profited from an Albert error. Soon afterwards Aernouts dropped his chain when he tried to get past Meeusen. "I told Kevin [Pauwels] to go for it," said Meeusen. "By the way he (Aernouts) was riding he seemed stronger than me and I surely didn't want to help him to the victory at that stage of the race."

Pauwels had a gap but Nys led the chase and brought the sextet back together on the penultimate lap, with Albert most in trouble at the back of the group. Albert eventually got dropped with Aernouts, leaving four riders battling for the win.

And then there were four...

On the snowy, singletrack course being in the lead during the last lap was all important. Nys headed first into the Kalmthout forest ahead of Meeusen, Pauwels and Mourey. The positions remained the same throughout the last lap but Nys didn't gain a single metre on Meeusen.

"I didn't give Nys any distance," Meeusen said. "He often looked back to see if he had a gap and would accelerate. I think he was tired on the last lap and that was the reason I kept on fighting. I rode a perfect last corner and hit the pavement in the right gear."

Nys led out the sprint but Meeusen accelerated around the Belgian champion for the victory, while Pauwels crossed the line in third place two seconds later. "Maybe if the finish line would've been five metres further I could've won," said Nys. "On the other hand my sensations during the race told me that second place was the best result possible."

Mourey settled for fourth, seven seconds behind Meeusen. "I was good but today there were three riders stronger than me," Mourey said.

Albert finished fifth, 30 seconds down on Meeusen, but was happy with the outcome. "On snow and ice this is a good result for me. Now it's time to take a break because I have some hard weeks behind me. I felt that during the closing laps," Albert said.

The US contingent in Kalmthout didn't have a great hour of racing with Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) the top American finisher in 28th place followed by Ryan Trebon (Kona) in 32nd. Both had poor starts and faced difficulty trying to advance.

"There's very little room to move forward," said Page. "If you're lucky and have a good start you can stay there. It's an all-out sprint every time you get to the road but you can only move up two or three spots there."

Trebon ended up in the same situation, riding back in 41st position after one lap. "The start is so important because you can't move up anywhere. It's chaotic at the back. I had to ride into this guy because he kept trying to come inside. I had to teach him a lesson," Trebon said.

Full Results
1Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team1:02:21
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:02
4Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ0:00:07
5Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:30
6Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:00:39
7Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:52
8Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:53
9Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:54
10Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor0:01:03
11Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:08
12Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom0:01:11
13Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:12
14Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS0:01:15
15Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:01:19
16Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus
17Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:01:22
18Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:01:43
19Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:01:48
20Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:56
21Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:02:01
22Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:02:10
23Marco Bianco (Ita)0:02:17
24Vladimír Kyzivát (Cze) Johnson Controls Aš Mb0:02:23
25Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:02:29
26Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof
27John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale0:02:33
28Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike0:02:34
29Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:02:49
30Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 930:03:25
31Marek Cichosz (Pol) Legia-Felt0:03:28
32Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona0:03:33
33Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)0:03:35
34Guillaume Perrot (Fra)
35Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)0:03:39
36Laurent Colombatto (Fra) AC Bisontine0:03:53
37Tommy Nielsen (Den)0:03:54
38David Kášek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor0:03:56
39Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)0:04:03
40Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team
41Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:04:18
42Mik Garrigan (Can)0:04:20
43Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:04:22
44René Lang (Swi)
45Keiichi Tsujiura0:04:23
46Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles0:04:32
47Marco Ponta (Ita)0:04:37
48Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team0:04:42
49Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles0:04:48
50Gusty Bausch (Lux)0:05:00
51Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) ZZPR.nl0:05:01
52Magnus Darvell (Swe)0:05:10
53Sean Babcock (USA) Kona0:05:16
54Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)0:05:28
55Romain Villa (Fra)0:05:47
56Florian Le Corre (Fra) Flers Cyclisme 610:06:09
57Paul Voss (Ger) Milram0:06:31
58Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder-1lap
59Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized
60Antonio Suarez Fernandez (Spa)
61Lukas Winterberg (Swi)
62Craig Richey (Can) Cyclocrossracing.Com p/b Blue
63Ryan Knapp (USA)
64Fabio Ursi (Ita) Buergi
65Shaun Adamson (Can) Cycle-Smart-4laps
66Alberto Candelas Caballero (Spa)-6laps

Elite Men World Cup standings after round 5
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus350pts
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team301
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet299
4Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ290
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team243
6Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team230
7Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team229
8Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor229
9Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team210
10Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus207
11Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus187
12Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus180
13Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team177
14Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team168
15Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS164
16Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing155
17Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team154
18Marco Bianco (Ita)153
19Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 93143
20Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus129
21Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team124
22Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team119
23Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)119
24Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom110
25Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor101
26Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)101
27Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof96
28Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus93
29Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike90
30Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team88
31Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team85
32Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor82
33Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team82
34David Kášek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor65
35Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team59
36Vladimír Kyzivát (Cze) Johnson Controls Aš Mb57
37Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor56
38Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team56
39Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles55
40John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale53
41Romain Villa (Fra)53
42Fabio Ursi (Ita) Buergi47
43Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com43
44Jirí Polnický (Cze) Sunweb - Revor41
45Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)39
46Guillaume Perrot (Fra)39
47Laurent Colombatto (Fra) AC Bisontine39
48Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)38
49Pirmin Lang (Swi) Buergi37
50Marek Cichosz (Pol) Legia-Felt35
51Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com31
52Jérome Chevallier (Fra) AC Bisontine30
53Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles29
54James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com27
55Marco Ponta (Ita)27
56Tijmen Eising (Ned) Sunweb-Revor26
57Karel Hník (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team22
58David Lozano Riba (Spa)21
59Tommy Nielsen (Den)21
60Daniel Ruiz Echeandia (Spa)20
61Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona19
62Kenneth Hansen (Den)19
63Florian Le Corre (Fra) Flers Cyclisme 6119
64Geert van der Horst (Ned)18
65Mauro Gonzalez Fontan (Spa)17
66Wilant van Gils (Ned) CX Nederland17
67Mik Garrigan (Can)17
68Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa)16
69David Juarez Alday (Spa)15
70Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole13
71René Lang (Swi)12
72Václav Metlicka (Svk) Johnson Controls Aš Mb11
73Milan Barenyi (Svk)10
74Michael Schweizer (Ger) Stevens Racing Team7
75Keiichi Tsujiura (Jpn)6
76Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banská Bystrica6
77Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)6
78Craig Richey (Can) Cyclocrossracing.Com p/b Blue4
79David van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus3
80Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv2
81Robert Glajza (Svk) BKP2
82Gusty Bausch (Lux)1
83Xabier Garcia Irazola (Spa)1

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