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Superprestige #3 - Gavere - C1
Asper-Gavere, Belgium, November 18, 2007
Race 4 - November 18: Elite Men
Nys saves the best for last
By Brecht Decaluwé in Gavere
Sven Nys gave his criticizers reasons to quite down after another victory today. The UCI points leader played cat and mouse with his rivals by giving them the impression that something was possible. Belgian champion Bart Wellens, World Champion Erwin Vervecken and French champion Francis Mourey - all the big guns - tried attacks on the demanding course. Nobody got away and six riders hit the ultimate lap together where all would be decided.
Vervecken tried to get away in the descent, but Nys blasted past the world champion who showed a first glimpse of better form this season and eventually had more than 15 seconds on the others at the finish line. Nys is now comfortably in the lead of the Superprestige Series with a six point lead over Bart Wellens. The Belgian champion jumps ahead youngster Zdenek Stybar in the standings, as the Czech disappointed today with his eighth place.
"This is one of the most beautiful wins of my career," Nys claimed at the finish line. Saying something like that, with all his wins under his belt certainly means something. This season Nys hasn't been as superior as previous years and that makes for more exciting races. Apparently the Belgian is enjoying things more than before, especially since he's still claiming wins much of the time. "It's a magnificent feeling to climb up that hill the way I did in the last lap. I speculated throughout the race and on the climb I always saved some energy. Still I was able to follow the others, so I knew I could force things there," Nys explained after the race.
With this win Nys continues his row of successive wins in the Superprestige Series. "I'm up to thirteen now and I'm really proud on this series of wins. One day it will be over, of course, and I expect some critics to question my form again," Nys pointed out that some people will criticize anything less than a win from him.
Belgian champion Wellens did all he could to make life difficult for the UCI leader but eventually he had to settle for third place, for the third time in the Superprestige Series this season. "I tried a couple of times and that's the least I could do. I was the only one who really tried but I felt it didn't work out," Wellens claimed he was the sole opposition for Nys. During the last climb Wellens dropped back, but in the home straight the Belgian champion came back from sixth place to finish third at the line. "I figured it would be a tight race today, and I prepared a bike for the sprint," Wellens said.
World champion Vervecken wasn't too disappointed that he was caught after his attack in the last lap. "I feel that I'm strong enough, but I'm lacking the explosiveness that is needed to win here; my age will be the reason for that. The good thing is that I have no problem with the series of races," Vervecken talked about performance.
His team-mate Klaas Vantornout was annoyed by a viral infection and was more than happy with his result after a poor performance in Hasselt. He felt Nys wasn't as good as he says." Certainly Nys was the strongest, but I wouldn't say superior. If he would be that good then he would've attacked much earlier, he wasn't that good. In the sprint I just couldn't hold the Mourey's wheel, that's it," Vantornout said.
Jonathan Page crashed hard on his shoulder in the descent, but nevertheless decided to continue his race. The former US national champion finished twentieth, four minutes and 30 seconds down off winner Nys. At the finish Page was filled with anger and disappointment, claiming his mental level was below zero. Jonathan Baker worked hard again, and had the doubtful pleasure of being lapped by Nys just when he unleashed his forces on the climb in the last lap; Baker finished 27th.
How it unfolded
The forty starters in Gavere got away in dry but cold weather conditions. On Wednesday the course was in terrible condition, but since then the course only improved. Still, the descent in the forest was extremely slippery and many riders were expected to crash there. The huge crowds saw a spectacular start as the French champion Francis Mourey crashed in the first corner. Being at the front at the time of his crash, he blocked many riders while one man avoided the traffic-jam. Klaas Vantornout got away and received a 10 second bonus on the bunch.
After one lap Vantornout had 10 seconds on Nys and Mourey; with Vervecken, Stybar, Pauwels and Wellens chasing at 15 seconds. On the muddy hill Mourey climbed with style towards Vantornout; Nys needed a little more time. One lap later Wellens and Albert joined the leaders and World Champion Erwin Vervecken wasn't too far behind. Jonathan Page was riding in 13th position just ahead of Italian champion Franzoi at one minute from the leaders.
Vervecken and Pauwels were kept from bridging up to the leaders because Wellens was accelerating in the lead. The Belgian champion kept going fast over the technical course and in the descent his effort took its first toll. Niels Albert crashed and dropped back behind Vervecken and Pauwels. A few minutes later Jonathan Baker put himself in check on the same place.
World Champion Vervecken found a course that suited him perfectly and joined the leaders, together with team-mate Pauwels. Nys probably felt that there were way too many Fidea-riders (four) in the group and he attacked into the dangerous descent. With his technical skills he easily got away, with Mourey following surprisingly able to follow the UCI leader. Nys didn't continue his efforts though and Wellens, Vantornout, Vervecken and Pauwels returned to the leader's group.
Halfway the race Wellens attacked the group again on the climb with Nys quickly responding to Wellens' acceleration. Vantornout tried to follow as well, but he had more trouble than Nys. The other riders couldn't answer the attack and were set back a couple of seconds.
With three laps to go the three leaders had a small gap on Pauwels, Vervecken and Mourey while Albert was a bit further back. Nys switched bikes just before the descent and Wellens tried to exploit this with a fast descent. With three Fidea riders in his wheel Nys wasn't expecting any help to come back on his rival in front. Nys didn't panic and seemingly without an effort the UCI leader dropped the Fidea riders on the climb and bridged up towards Wellens. Further back Page was losing ground not helped by a crash in the descent as he was riding in 19th position at 2'25" down from the five leaders.
The pace in the leading group wasn't high enough to keep Mourey from joining the leaders again, and he did so just as the riders hit the ultimate lap. The French champion was clearly on his limit as he continuously made errors; yet, somehow he managed to stay in the group.
Vervecken played all or nothing in the descent and the World Champion gathered a couple of metres on the group. This wasn't enough as Mourey joined him first, with Nys in his wheel. With the last climb in sight the UCI leader then unleashed his forces and blasted away. Supported by the loud encouragement from the huge crowds, Nys powered up the climb, with nobody able to follow.
Behind him the Fidea riders were competing for second place, together with Francis Mourey; Wellens was having a hard time on the climb but kept the others in sight. Mourey hit the final straight with Klaas Vantornout in his wheel, but the Belgian couldn't keep up with the French champion. Wellens rode a strong sprint and eventually grabbed third place ahead of Vantornout and Pauwels. World champion Vervecken couldn't sprint along and after a good race he finished sixth. Albert rode solitary race behind the leading group and finished seventh, while Stybar saved his ranking in the Superprestige Series a little by claiming the eighth place after a bad day. Groenendaal and Italian champion Franzoi completed the top 10.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Luc Claessen/www.ctm-images.com
Images by Mario Varrewaere /www.cycling-pics.be
Images by Brecht Decaluwé
Elite (40 starters) 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 58.37 2 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux 0.15 3 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 4 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 5 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 6 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.18 7 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Cras 0.47 8 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 1.24 9 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sport Drinks 1.25 10 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 1.32 11 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 1.38 12 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne CRC Team 1.58 13 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 2.40 14 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 15 Radomír Simunek (Cze) Palmans-Cras 2.55 16 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 3.14 17 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 3.28 18 Jan Soetens (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 3.37 19 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl 4.07 20 Jonathan Page (USA) Sunweb Pro Job 4.30 21 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 5.17 22 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 5.25 23 René Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvestehuder RSV v. 1909 6.16 24 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Easypay Cyclocross Team 6.28 25 Peter Van Santvlier 6.57 One lap down 26 Marco Bianco (Ita) Arcobaleno Carraro 27 Jonathan Baker (USA) Primus Mootry Espoirs (42 starters) 1 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 47.45 2 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 0.30 3 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) 1.00 4 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) CT Van Vliet EBH Advocaten 1.44 5 Jan Van Dael (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 2.15 6 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 2.25 7 Bart Verschueren (Bel) 2.30 8 Gianni Denolf (Bel) Palmans-Cras 2.40 9 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 2.48 10 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) Jan Van Arckel 2.55 11 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) 3.12 12 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Team Löwik Meubelen 3.20 13 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 14 Hans Becking (Ned) 15 Joeri Adams (Bel) 16 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 4.05 17 Davy De Scheemaeker (Bel) A.W.S. Cycling Team Kasterlee 4.25 18 Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) 4.40 19 Marcel Meisen (Ger) 4.50 20 René Lang (Swi) 21 Dries Pauwels (Bel) 5.55 22 Jerry Kallenfels (Ned) Easypay Cyclocross Team 6.25 23 Matthias Onghena (Bel) VZW Wielerclub Onder Ons Parike 6.45 24 Kristof Cop (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 6.55 25 Nivard Van Acker (Bel) Wielersportverening Artevelde VZW - Gent 7.20 26 Hugo Rus Martinez (Spa) 7.45 27 Dimitri Stevens (Bel) 2 Mega Saeco - Heist o/d berg 8.00 One lap down 28 Jorn Van Veen (Ned) 29 Tom Last (GBr) 30 Wim Thijs (Bel) Edegem BC 31 Kristof Scheirs (Bel) Isorex Cycling Team 32 Kjell Van Driessche (Bel) Rijschool Ah - Gentse VS 33 Roman Sedimair (Ger) 34 Tom Lambrechts (Bel) WSC Jonge Renners - Booischot 35 Mathias Holvoet (Bel) Daikin Cycling Team Liedekerke vzw 36 Sonny Vangerven (Bel) 37 Steffen Müller (Ger) RC Charlottenburg 38 Vijarona Jackson (Zim) 39 Mathias Holvoet (Bel) Daikin Cycling Team Liedekerke vzw Superprestige classification after round 3 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 45 pts 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 39 3 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 36 4 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sport Drinks 29 5 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 23 6 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 22 7 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Cras 21 8 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 16 9 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 15 10 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux 14 11 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl 12 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne CRC Team 11 13 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 14 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 10 15 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 16 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 9 17 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 18 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 8 19 Radomír Simunek (Cze) Palmans-Cras 7 20 Christian Heule (Swi) Stevens Racing Team 21 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 5 22 Jan Soetens (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 4 23 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Palmans-Cras 2 24 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 1 Espoirs 1 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) 27 pts 2 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) CT Van Vliet EBH Advocaten 25 3 Bart Verschueren (Bel) 20 4 Jan Van Dael (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 18 5 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 17 6 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 7 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 15 8 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 14 9 Wim Leemans (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 12 10 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 11 11 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans-Cras 9 12 Maxim Debusschere, Ramon Sinkeldam 13 Gianni Denolf (Bel) Palmans-Cras 8 15 Joeri Adams (Bel) 16 Hans Becking (Ned) 7 17 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) Jan Van Arckel 6 18 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 19 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Team Löwik Meubelen 4 20 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3 21 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Asfra Racing Team 2