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GP Stad Hasselt - C2
Belgium, November 17, 2007
Nys shows opposition his questioned back
By Brecht Decaluwé
After a week in which Nys' poor performance faced cheap press talk about his back problems, the UCI-leader set things right with an impressive performance in Hasselt. The 31 year-old Belgian overcame a poor start and grabbed two bonus points for the GvA Trophy after the second lap, while GvA-leader and arch rival Bart Wellens didn't take points during that intermediate sprint. Despite some solo efforts from Sven Vanthourenhout and later also Niels Albert, the race came down to another old school battle between Nys and Wellens. Eventually it was the man from Baal who made fewer errors in the ultimate sectors of the fast and technical course, and captured his eighth win of the season. Nys moves within one point of GvA Trophy leader Bart Wellens.
Nys re-bounded to start this important weekend off in style, by winning another duel with Wellens. "It was thrilling through the last moment," Nys expressed his satisfaction. He started off awfully, although he immediately came back to the front after the first lap. "I was having troubles with a pedal and lost a lot of positions. I immediately did all I could to move forward as there were points at stake after two laps. My efforts were successful as I was able to grab two points. From then on it was a matter of choosing the right tactics.
"Halfway through the race I started the chase on Albert, and only Wellens was able to follow. It was hard and I was on my limit, but so was Wellens as he couldn't take over from me. I decided to keep going until we caught Albert, and I'm lucky it happened because I couldn't go on much longer – I was up to the limit. From then on I could relax a little and focus on the win," Nys explained his race tactics on Sporza TV.
The UCI-leader's dominance was questioned after his rather poor performance last weekend, with only a third and fifth place as results. "Among the riders we laugh a lot about it because some riders make hay of a third or fifth place for the rest of the season. Anyway, it's flattering to receive criticism when you finish third or fifth," Nys smiled.
Belgian champion Bart Wellens is in excellent form, but that wasn't enough to keep Nys from the win in Hasselt. Nevertheless, it was exciting to see the duo do battle once again. "That's something we agreed on before the start. One race is for me, the other for Sven," Wellens joked.
"We're matched to each other these days, and certainly on a course like this it comes down to details," Wellens explained. "During the last lap I lost a couple of metres, and that was too much. I kept going because the slightest mistake would allow me to get back, but it didn't happen."
Wellens had the best start but didn't convert it into points at the intermediate sprint. He was locked to Nys' wheel when he steamed forward towards Albert, but somehow Wellens couldn't use his good form to achieve victory. "The leaders group was too big and when some lesser riders moved forward I felt comfortable.
"The attack from Albert was ideal and when Nys went into the counter-attack I was the only one that could keep his wheel. I counted on my sprint, but Nys made sure it didn't come down to that," Wellens said.
Youngster Niels Albert rode solo in the lead for a couple of laps halfway the race, but eventually had to bow for the two big guns and settled for third place. "I just wanted to show that I'm still among the best riders despite my results this season. I attacked rather early because I felt that I was faster than the group in some sections of the course. Riding in the lead I knew that only the big guns would come back on me. During the last lap, I focused on third place. This is promising for the upcoming weeks," the 21 year-old Belgian said. Clearly the U23 European champion was keen on a strong performance.
In the GvA Trophy overall rankings Wellens still leads, although he has only one point left Nys.
The fourth round of the GvA Trophy is scheduled for December 15, the GP Rouwmoer in Essen Tomorrow, the riders face each other again in Gavere for the round leg of the Superprestige Series.
How it unfolded
Forty-four riders started the race in Hasselt on the fast and technical three-kilometre course. The paths were not soaked, although some spots were still rather slippery. Wellens took the hole shot when the lights turned green with Boom, Vantornout and Sven Vanthourenhout on his wheel. Nys had a bad start and ended up in 15th position; world champion Vervecken got off even worse, and was riding outside the top-20. The UCI-leader recovered quickly and halfway the first lap he was back in seventh position; Vervecken was 30" behind the leaders. Belgian champion Wellens kept leading the bunch at a steady pace that wasn't too fast for the nine men in his trail.
Sven Vanthourenhout jumped away at the end of the first lap, and nobody reacted immediately. The Sunweb rider had five seconds on nine chasers, including Nys. Dutchman Wilant Van Gils led a group of six riders including Stybar and Groenendaal at 14"; they stayed in touch with the big guns. Wellens launched a first attack during the second lap but this didn't cause a lot of damage as Nys, De Knegt and Boom followed swiftly on his wheel, together with more than 15 other riders.
Nys took over the command with Boom on his wheel. Going towards the intermediate sprint after two laps, Sven Vanthourenhout grabbed three points; Nys won the sprint further back and grabbed two points before team-mate Boom who took the one point that was left; Wellens didn't receive points for his fourth place. Right after that intermediate sprint Nys jumped away in search of his friend Sven Vanthourenhout who misjudged a corner by braking far too late, allowing everybody to come back on his wheel. The Sunweb rider wasn't the only one who made mistakes because right after that Nys went down when he accelerated to fast from a corner.
Dieter Vanthourenhout tried his luck at the end of the third lap but Niels Albert didn't give him any space, thus keeping the big group together. A small group with local hero Ben Berden and the world champion connected with the leaders, clearly showing that the pace in front just wasn't high enough. The big guns took a break and dropped back in the group, and a forceful attack from young Albert was the result. Despite an error from the young Belgian he built up a nice gap on De Knegt, Dieter Vanthourenhout, Boom, Sven Vanthourenhout, Wellens, Klaas Vantornout, Nys, Groenendaal, Pauwels and Stybar. Young Czech Stybar had recovered from a bad start and when joining the leader he immediately launched a counter-attack on leader Niels Albert.
With five laps to go Albert had eight seconds on Stybar, while Boom led the main group at 11"; it was the quickest lap of the race (6'14"). Another bike change from Nys followed, showing some nervousness with the UCI-leader. Albert rode along the course with wide-open mouth, and with four laps to go his lead on nine chasers was still no more than 12"; the world champion followed at 27".
Nys accelerated in the first section of the course and unsurprisingly Wellens was the man locked on his wheel. Last year's winner De Knegt stayed in touch, together with Stybar, but after every corner Nys hammered the pedals again and De Knegt and Stybar couldn't keep up with the Belgians. The lead from Albert was falling but the young Palmans rider didn't collapse. When Nys asked Wellens to pull as well, the Belgian champion shook his head to show that he wasn't planning to blow up his engine. Eventually the duo bridged up towards Niels Albert with only three laps remaining; Stybar and De Knegt were 10" down on the leaders, with another young man – Kevin Pauwels – moving up steadily in sixth position.
Albert didn't ask Nys to take over the lead and kept giving all he had. Wellens seemed to suffer a lot, as he struggled to stay on Nys' wheel. The Belgian champion changed bikes for the first time, and managed to stay in touch with the leaders. The lap times weren't changing a lot, staying around the 6'20" each time around, and the lead on De Knegt and Stybar stayed at 12"; veteran Groenendaal, Pauwels and Boom were riding closely behind this duo.
Nys took over the command in the penultimate lap, and Wellens moved up a position as well. Albert was now in trouble as he was allowing the famous duo to take a couple of metres. Nys tried hard to get rid of Wellens, smashing into the corners at the sand pit but the Belgian champion stood tall. Nys noticed things weren't working out and sat up, which allowed Albert to return just before the start of the ultimate lap. Behind the leaders Boom led De Knegt, Stybar and Pauwels at 10".
Albert took the initiative early on in the last lap, as Nys nor Wellens wanted to waste their energy, keeping everything for the ultimate sections. The positions stayed the same until halfway the lap; Nys took over with Wellens not giving him any space. It seemed like Nys already started his sprint, and Wellens eventually had to give Nys a couple of metres. The three riders kept sprinting over the fast but technical course in Hasselt and Wellens wasn't giving in. Eventually he couldn't reel in the UCI-leader, although he did finish within sight of Nys. The UCI-leader grabbed his eighth victory of the season and showed that his poor performance last weekend was nothing more than an 'accident de parcours'. The last lap time of 6'07" showed that Nys was saving the best for last.
Behind the three leaders, Lars Boom launched a late counter-attack with Stybar. The latter out-sprinted the Dutch champion for fourth place while Pauwels showed consistency with his sixth place. More young riders came in as Klaas Vantornout finished seventh, before Thijs Al. Czech veteran Petr Dlask concluded the top-10 where world champion Erwin Vervecken once again didn't feature.
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Images by AFP Photo
Images by Cyclingnews.com
Images by Stijn Vercaemer
Elite men (44 starters) 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 57.45 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.02 3 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Cras 0.04 4 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 0.10 5 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 6 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.13 7 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 8 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 9 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne CRC Team 0.45 10 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 11 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 12 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 0.51 13 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 14 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl 1.00 15 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sport Drinks 1.16 16 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 17 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 1.44 18 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 2.15 19 Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Palmans-Cras 20 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 21 Wim Jacobs (Bel) Van der Vorst CT 3.00 22 Jimmy Tielens (Bel) 2 Mega Saeco - Heist o/d berg 3.05 23 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 3.21 24 Arne Daelmans (Bel) Klaipeda - Splendid Cycling Team 25 Roy van Heeswijk (Ned) 3.52 26 Rafael Visinelli (Ita) GS Forestale 5.06 27 Tom Vannoppen (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 5.20 28 Mariusz Gil (Pol) 5.30 29 Jonathan Baker (USA) Primus Mootry 5.45 30 Gusty Bausch (Lux) 5.53 31 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Cofidis 6.29 One lap behind 32 Rodriguez Garcia (Spa) 33 Ken Smets (Bel) NHT Cycling Team Tielen 34 Torsten Wittig (Ger) BRC Zugvogel 35 Steven De Schoesitter (Bel) Rudyco Cycling Team 36 Manuel Martin Jiminez (Spa) 37 Javier Heras (Spa) 38 Freddy De Meester (Bel) Rijschool AH - Gentse Velosport Elite men intermediate sprints 1 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 3 pts 2 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 2 3 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 1 Under 23 1 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 53.16 2 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 0.11 4 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 0.31 5 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.33 6 Wim Leemans (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 1.05 7 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.27 8 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Team Löwik Meubelen 1.29 9 Dries Govaerts (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 1.38 10 Jan Van Dael (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 1.45 11 Maxim Debusschere (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 2.15 12 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 2.29 13 Gianni Denolf (Bel) Palmans-Cras 2.35 14 Kenny Geluykens (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 2.39 15 Bart Verschueren (Bel) 2.48 16 Sven Verboven (Bel) Wielerclub Galmaarden Sportief 3.03 17 Hugo Ruiz Martinez (Spa) 3.09 18 Bart Hermans (Bel) Balen BC 3.15 19 Rob Vangenechten (Bel) 3.24 20 Marcel Meisen (Ger) 3.34 21 Kristof Luyten (Bel) United Cycling Team Sint-Truiden 3.50 22 Niels Beelen (Bel) 4.14 23 Greg Franckaert (Bel) Asfra Racing Team 5.37 24 Dennis Verhoeven (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 5.58 25 Bart Wouters (Bel) WSC Hand in Hand - Baal 6.05 26 Alex Atkins (GBr) Asfra Flanders 6.11 27 Roman Sedimair (Ger) 6.25 28 Hans Van Den Bogaert (Bel) Rupelspurters Boom 6.46 29 Tom Lambrechts (Bel) WSC Jonge Renners - Booischot 7.18 30 Stefan Muller (Ger) One lap behind 31 Pieter Reekmans (Bel) Heylen Meubelcentrale ZLWC St. Truiden 32 Sander Elen (Bel) 33 Sonny Vangerven (Bel) 34 Jeroen Kesters (Bel) U23 intermediate sprints 1 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3 pts 2 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 2 3 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 1 Juniors (49 starters) 1 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) 41.15 2 Dany Lacroix (Bel) 0.56 3 Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) 1.10 4 Wietse Bosmans (Bel) 5 Petr Marvan (Cze) 6 Simon Geets (Bel) 1.22 7 Marek Benda (Cze) 1.30 8 Kenny Maes (Bel) 9 Gerry Druyts (Bel) 1.54 10 Michiel Dieleman (Bel) 2.00 11 Jonathan Bervoets (Bel) 12 Sieën Veestraeten (Bel) 13 Thomas Gysbrechts (Bel) 14 Jakub Friml (Cze) 2.10 15 Zeb Veestraeten (Bel) 16 Steven van Leijen (Ned) 17 Tommy van Beem (Ned) 18 Pieter-Jan Pirotte (Bel) 2.43 19 Sven Beelen (Bel) 3.11 20 Mike Vreys (Bel) 21 Niels Koyen (Bel) 3.30 22 Ritchie Denolf (Bel) 23 Pit Schlechter (Lux) 3.51 24 Sem Lambrechts (Bel) 3.56 25 Christian Weitermann (Ger) 26 Max Michely (Lux) 27 James Laureys (Bel) 4.25 28 Ken Leysen (Bel) 4.47 29 Raf Risbourg (Bel) 5.00 30 Dimi Diels (Bel) 5.27 31 Laurent Sadeler (Lux) 5.50 32 Sonny Volders (Bel) 6.13 33 Nick Van Overbeke (Bel) 6.27 34 Birgit Hollmann (Dui) 6.35 35 Maxim Danckers (Bel) 36 Stephanie Pohlt (Ger) 37 Philip Van Hemelen (Bel) 38 Jorn Ven (Bel) 7.07 39 Jorn De Graaf (Bel) 7.45 40 Dennis Coenen (Bel) 41 Jonas Depre (Bel) 42 Dimitri Michielsen (Bel) 43 Glen Paesen (Bel) 44 Gertjan Vande Kerkhof (Bel) 45 Joachim Janssens (Bel) 46 Jens Deprez (Bel) 47 Pieter Vidal (Bel) 48 Rutger La Haye (Bel) Beginners (29 starters) 1 Laurens Sweeck (Bel) 28.10 2 Bart De Vocht (Bel) 3 Diether Sweeck (Bel) 4 David van der Poel (Ned) 0.28 5 Frederik Geerts (Bel) 6 Jelle Cant (Bel) 0.47 7 Jorne Carolus (Bel) 1.12 8 Maxim Panis (Bel) 1.22 9 Tijs Vvan Aert (Bel) 1.42 10 Jorn Claes (Bel) 11 Dylan Teuns (Bel) 2.10 12 Maarten Vantryp (Ned) 2.20 13 Ben Kerrebrouck (Bel) 2.44 14 Rob Leemans (Bel) 2.48 15 Cedric Demonceau (Bel) 3.01 16 Jeffrey Mellemans (Bel) 3.15 17 Christophe Ysenbaardt (Bel) 3.40 18 Daniel Peeters (Bel) 4.10 19 Seppe Kopecky (Bel) 4.50 20 Wouter Vaandenhoudt (Bel) 4.56 21 Nick Seutens (Bel) 5.20 22 Tim Leenaers (Bel) 5.40 23 Robin Delanghe (Bel) 7.23 24 Lowie Sterckx (Bel) 8.40 25 Matthias Demandt (Bel) 8.50 26 Nick Vliegen (Bel) One lap behind 27 Cyntia Bielen (Bel) 28 Jordi Theunissen (Bel) Two laps behind 29 Maxime Gilain (Bel) General classification Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee Veldrijden (after three events) Elite Men 1 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 105 pts 2 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 104 3 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 82 4 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Cras 78 5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 75 6 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 72 7 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) 71 8 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 70 9 Wilant van Gils (Ned) en Sven Vanthourenhout 58 11 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 57 12 Thijs Al (Ned) en Kevin Pauwels 55 14 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 54 15 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 50 16 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 46 17 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 40 18 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 38 19 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 34 20 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 32 21 Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Palmans-Cras 20 22 Jan Soetens (Bel) 19 23 Wesley Van Der Linden (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 17 24 Wim Jcobs (Bel) 16 25 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Palmans-Cras 14 26 Marek Cchosz (Pol) en Roy van Heeswijk (Ned) 11 28 Arne Daelmans (Bel) Klaipeda - Splendid Cycling Team 10 29 Jimmy Tielens (Bel) 2 Mega Saeco - Heist o/d berg 9 30 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) 7 31 Mariusz Gil (Pol) en Rafael Visinelli (Ita) 6 33 Isaac Suarez (Spa), Nico Berckmans en Tom Vannoppen 4 36 Kay Van den Brande en Jonathan Baker (USA) 2 38 Gusty Bausch (Lux) 1 Elite men intermediate sprints classification 1 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 6 pts 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 5 3 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 3 3 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 3 5 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sport Drinks 1 Under 23 classification 1 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 62 pts 2 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 47 3 Jempy Drucker (Lux) 40 4 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) 38 5 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 35 6 Wim Leemans (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 30 7 Maxim Debusschere (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 27 8 Dries Govaerts (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 26 9 Gianni Denolf (Bel) Palmans-Cras 20 10 Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) 19 11 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Edegem BC 17 12 Sven Verboven en Vincent Baestaens 14 14 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) 13 15 Lukas Kloucek (Cze) 12 16 Kenny Geluykens (Bel) and Jan Van Dael (Bel) 11 18 Rob van der Velde (Ned) 10 19 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 9 20 Dries Dewit (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 8 21 Stijn Huys (Bel) and Bart Verschueren (Bel) 6 23 Robert Gavenda (Svk) 5 24 Hugo Ruiz Martinez (Spa) 4 25 Hans Becking (Ger) en Bart Hermans (Bel) 3 27 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) and Rob Vangenechten (Bel) 2 29 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) en Marcel Meisen (Ger) 1 U23 intermediate sprints classification 1 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 6 pts 2 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) and Kevin Cant (Bel) 2 4 Philipp Walsleben (Bel) and Lukas Kloucek (Cze) 1
2006 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 2005 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank