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GP Stad Hasselt - C2
Belgium, November 18, 2006
De Knegt knocks together splendid solo
Wellens is the new leader in the GvA-trophy
By Brecht Decaluwé
The third event in the GvA-trophy got a third different winner. It was tall Dutchman Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank) who grabbed his first win of the season. The Dutch champion accelerated halfway the race, outplaying the Rabobank superiority at that moment.
"After my acceleration I gradually slowed down and the others were coming back on me," De Knegt explains how he got the win, "suddenly the gap got bigger again and I regained the momentum and could hold on to that until the finish."
The rider from the Netherlands didn't start his season too well, but De Knegt explained what happened, "I prepared myself to get better while the season went on, it seems like it started to pay off." The winner was already looking further into the cyclo-cross season, "now I want to win a world cup race, it doesn't matter where."
At a certain moment in the race it looked like Bart Wellens (Fidea) could bridge the gap to the sole leader, only a slight mistake interrupted this effort. Nevertheless Wellens enjoyed his week off (the Belgian crashed hard last weekend in Pijnacker, leaving him with a minor concussion and neck aches throughout the week) and it looked like he was as strong as Nys for the first time this year.
"Before the race I was told that it might have been good to have an easy week. I found my best legs of the season, I'm happy!" the flamboyant Belgian explained at the Sporza TV-reporter. "Tomorrow's race proves to be much harder though and normally I'll suffer a little setback now which is normal after my week off," said Wellens, who beat Sven Nys (Rabobank) in the sprint for second place.
"I wasn't good enough to win today. When De Knegt attacked, I forced the others to work. When you're not good enough, it's good to see a team mate win the race," commented Nys about his performance today. Bart Wellens won the intermediate sprint after two laps grabbing three points for the GvA-trophy; Nys was third at that stage. "I won a point in that intermediate sprint, but actually I hate it," Nys explained. The Belgian champion seemed to be disappointed with the system of bonus points. "Look, in the three races I finished first, third and now third again; still I'm trailing five points on the leader, that isn't normal," Nys said.
It looks as though the GvA-trophy will be the only competition where Nys is taking it easy. Tomorrow's race in Gavere brings the third event in the international Superprestige competition, a familiar competition where the Belgian UCI-leader has been superior so far.
How it unfolded
Kamil Ausbuher – as so often this season – had the best start of the bunch in Hasselt where many spectators enjoyed the sunny surrounding in the city park. The three kilometre long course was muddy but fast although many corners, slippery roots and some nasty sand sections created an open race where every mistake would be critical.
During the first lap Richard Groenendaal (Rabobank) led the bunch through the park, creating no major gaps. UCI-leader Sven Nys was riding around in ninth position but didn't seem to worry much about that. His team mate Gerben De Knegt and Bart Wellens accelerated after a crash from world champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) in the second lap. Wellens got rid of De Knegt making sure he grabbed the three bonus points at the intermediate sprint after two laps. The Dutch champion took two points and Nys sprinted for the only point that was left for the bunch.
While Gerben De Knegt decided that it was too early to stay alone in front, Wellens continued his stride for more. Sven Nys held his major rival within eye sight and after five laps there were four riders riding together in the front: Bart Wellens and three Rabobank riders Nys, De Knegt and Sven Vanthourenhout. It was at this point Gerben De Knegt forced Wellens into a working role. The Dutch champion attacked and ... nobody reacted; this way De Knegt was gifted a quick lead of eight seconds.
It was only when Erwin Vervecken and Niels Albert (Palmans) came back with the three men behind De Knegt, the gap stayed stable at 12 seconds. While De Knegt was suffering in the lead, Bart Wellens tried to bridge the gap alone. He came as close as four seconds but made an error which resulted in the end of the pursuit on De Knegt.
The lead of the Dutch champion grew up to 18 seconds and with two laps to go it seemed that the win was within his range. Sven Nys didn't take much initiative throughout the race but during the penultimate lap he accelerated a few times to get rid of Wellens; it only resulted in Vanthourenhout losing ground.
De Knegt didn't lose speed and grabbed his first victory of the season; a win nobody predicted before the race. Nys and Wellens sprinted for second place and it was the latter who easily won that duel. Vanthourenhout grabbed a descent fourth place before young Niels Albert. The previous leader in the GvA-trophy Groenendaal only managed to finish tenth, and is now in third position in the regularity competition.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Stijn Vercaemer
Elite 1 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 57.55 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.15 3 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 4 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Projobcyclingteam 0.24 5 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Sapim-Collstrop 0.44 6 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.57 7 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 8 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 1.12 9 David Willemsens (Bel) Sunweb-Projobcyclingteam 1.20 10 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) Rabobank 1.28 11 Thijs Al (Ned) Bejan-Rings 1.30 12 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) AVB Asbestverwijdering 1.32 13 Maarten Nijland (Ned) Eurogifts.Com 1.51 14 Arne Daelmans (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - T Interim 15 Nico Berckmans (Bel) 1.59 16 Radomir Simunek (Cze) 2.05 17 Petr Dlask (Cze) AVB Asbestverwijdering 18 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb-Projobcyclingteam 19 Jan Soetens (Bel) 2.35 20 Katrien Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 2.50 21 Maxime Lefebvre (Fra) 2.59 22 Stijn Penne (Bel) 3.16 23 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 3.24 24 Peter Van Santvliet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3.37 25 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl 26 Camiel Van Den Bergh (Ned) Stevens Racing Team 4.09 27 Gerry Werckx (Bel) 4.39 28 Geert Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 4.42 29 Marius Gil (Pol) Strzelce Krajenskie 5.23 30 Jimmy Tielens (Bel) 5.37 31 David Boucher (Fra) 32 Josh Dillon (USA) 33 Sven Renders (Bel) 34 Steven De Schoeisitter (Bel) 35 Jan - Willem Kamphof (Ned) U23 1 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) 2 Rob Peeters (Bel) 3 Kenny Geluykens (Bel) Sunweb-Projobcyclingteam 4 Clément Lhottelerie (Fra) 5 Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) 6 Jean-pierre Drucker (Lux) 7 Eddy Van Yzendoorn (Ned) 8 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) 9 Jo Pirotte (Bel) 10 Jan Arnouts (Bel) 11 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) 12 Kristof Luyten (Bel) 13 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) 14 Dennis Verhoeven (Bel) 15 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) 16 Pieter Reekmans (Bel) 17 David Bertram (Ger) 18 Thomas Boeckx (Bel) 19 Rob Vangenechten (Bel) 20 Nico Lowie (Bel) 21 Tim Milis (Bel) 22 Johim Ariesen (Ned) 23 Cristian Izquierdo (Bel) 24 Kristof Mellemans (Bel) 25 Tom De Cock (Bel) Juniors 1 Jim Aernouts (Bel) 2 Stef Boden (Bel) 0.06 3 Sven Verboven (Bel) 0.12 4 Tim Debusschere (Bel) 0.22 5 Jiri Polnicky (Cze) 6 Bart Bruyndonckx (Bel) 7 Filip Adel (Cze) 8 Bart Hermans (Bel) 9 Marcel Meisen (Ger) 1.45 10 Steven Van Leijen (Ned) 11 Rob Van Der Velde (Ned) 2.01 12 Pieter-jan Pirotte (Bel) 13 Vincent Dias Dos Santos (Lux) 14 Nick De Proost (Bel) 15 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) 16 Michal Benda (Cze) Scania Apache Team Kolín 17 Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) 18 Luc Hammer (Lux) 19 Simon Geets (Bel) 20 Marnic Dreesen (Bel) 21 Yannick Pauwels (Bel) 22 Pit Schlechter (Lux) 23 Philppe Hutmacher (Lux) 24 Jan Wolf (Cze) 25 Mike Vreys (Bel) 26 Stijn Van Driessche (Bel) 27 Jonathan Bervoets (Bel) 28 Nick Vermunicht (Bel) 29 Hilde Quintens (Bel) 30 Ben Remijsen (Bel) 31 Nick Vanoverbeke (Bel) 32 Gertjan Vande Kerkhof (Bel) 33 Gaetan Froyen (Bel) 34 Geert Peeters (Bel) Novices 1 Sean De Bie (Bel) 2 Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) 0.57 3 Tim Wellens (Bel) 1.30 4 Zeb Veestraeten (Bel) 5 Sieén Veestraeten (Bel) 6 Dennis Stultiens (Ned) 1.45 7 Ken Leysen (Bel) 2.12 8 Mike Teunissen (Ned) 9 Robin Wennekes (Ned) 10 Sonny Volders (Bel) 2.27 11 Kevin Reynders (Bel) 12 Raf Risbourg (Bel) 13 Frederik Geerts (Bel) 14 Tijs Van Aert (Bel) 15 Dylan Teuns (Bel) 16 James Laureys (Bel) 17 Dion Vanhommerig (Ned) 18 Sem Lambrechts (Bel) 19 Maarten Craeghs (Bel) 20 Leander Bertels (Bel) 21 Christophe Ysenbaardt (Bel) 22 Yannick Vanbrabant (Bel) 23 Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) 24 Senne Lemmens (Bel) 25 Jeffrey Mellemans (Bel) 26 Matthias Siracusa (Bel) 27 Rutger La Haye (Bel) 28 Koen Vandeput (Bel) 29 Joris Tips (Bel) 30 Jens Vanderveken (Bel) 31 Ruben Bauters (Bel) 32 Robin Delanghe (Bel) 33 Glen Paesen (Bel) 34 Nick Seutens (Bel) 35 Jonas Weyens (Bel) 36 Glenn Broekmans (Bel)
2005 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank