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Noordzeecross - C1
Middelkerke, Belgium, December 29, 2008
Nys untouchable at the North Sea
By Brecht Decaluwé in Middelkerke, Belgium
Belgian Champion Sven Nys of Team Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner took a dominant solo victory at the Noordzeecross race in Middelkerke, Belgium, finishing comfortably ahead of the late charge from Zolder World Cup winner Thijs Al. American Jonathan Page fought alone for most of the race in second place, but the chasers caught his move and he lost the sprint for third to Italian Enrico Franzoi.
The race in Middelkerke was given an upgrade this season to category C1 for its fiftieth anniversary, and Belgian champion Sven Nys thanked the organization by claiming his first win since the GvA round in Essen on December 13.
"It's better to win than not," Nys said. The 'cannibal' won in impressive style on the frozen dune course next to the North Sea, leaving the opposition behind in the third lap and crossing the finish line with a gap of 22 seconds on Dutchman Thijs Al. "I've accelerated a couple of times early on and that proved to be enough. I had a good day and I just put the pedal down, and that was honored with the win," Nys said.
Thijs Al, winner of the last World Cup in Zolder claimed second place although he was out of the picture for a long time today. "I punctured during the second lap and then you know that it's over; the separation in front was made," Al said. Nevertheless the Dutchman didn't give up and started picking up riders as the race went on. "I had good legs and kept my cool. Eventually I was going full on past Bina and Bambula and then suddenly Page was in sight as well," Al said.
Ten seconds after Al the multi-talented Italian Enrico Franzoi narrowly held off Jonathan Page for the remaining podium spot. "Luckily I started well after so many races where I got off badly. For me it is an excellent result," Franzoi said. In the final moments of the race the Italian managed to get back to Page.
Halfway through the race, Page had stormed to second place and with a gap of almost ten seconds it seemed that he would be able to finish second in Middelkerke for the third year in a row. A flat tyre during the penultimate lap decided differently though and it brought Page back within the reach of Al and Franzoi, resulting in a fourth place at the line.
"I'm happy," Page said. "Too bad I had a flat tyre and I had to go a long way with it. Al flew past me and then I tried to hold off Franzoi but he must have gotten me; he's a good sprinter," Page said. Due to his missed doping-control in Koksijde the American risks losing out on his prize money though.
Czech riders Martin Bina and Ondrej Bambula finished fifth and sixth while the sprint from the next group was won by Jeremy Powers ahead of three Belgians.
The start of the race in sunny but cold Middelkerke was spoiled by a nasty crash that took down US champion Ryan Trebon and Jamey Driscoll. Trebon bloodied his knee while Driscoll hurt his wrist. Trebon went on to wage a strong comeback to finish fifteenth.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Cyclingnews.com
Elite men 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 1.00.52 2 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 0.22 3 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas 0.32 4 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 5 Martin Bína (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 0.45 6 Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 7 Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com 1.09 8 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 9 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 10 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 1.28 11 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 2.14 12 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 2.22 13 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 14 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Differdange Apiflo Vacances 2.40 15 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona 2.50 16 David Willemsens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 2.57 17 Jody Crawforth (GBr) Arctic Premier 3.05 18 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Exe Jeans 3.20 19 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 3.32 20 Bjorn Rondelez (Bel) Lingier Versluys Beachbikers Team VZW 3.42 21 Kendric Van Grembergen 3.48 22 Santiago Armero (Spa) 4.16 23 Steven De Decker 4.28 24 Tim Heemskerk (Ned) 4.35 25 Molly Cameron (USA) 4.57 26 Matthieu Boulo (Fra) 5.13 27 Unai Yus (Spa) 5.38 28 Kay Van Den Brande (Bel) Palmans - Cras 6.00 One lap behind 29 Kris Lapere (Bel) MEZ Team Belgium Snellegem 30 Florian Le Corre (Fra) Super Sport 35 ACNC 31 Christophe Le Bouedec (Fra) Two laps behind 32 James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com 33 Michael Bleuzen (Fra) Three laps behind 34 Sébastien Le naour (Fra) 35 Max Podschun (Ger) 36 Cyrille Prise (Fra) 37 David Toullec (Fra) Four laps behind 38 Jo Naert (Bel) Lingier Versluys Beachbikers Team VZW 39 David Quist (USA) 40 Steven De Schoesitter (Bel) Rudyco Cycling Team 41 Keith Murray (GBr) 42 David Chemille (Fra) 43 Andrew Thomas (Can) Five laps behind 44 Dries Cauwelier (Bel) Cycling Team Cauwelier Roeselare Juniors 1 Matej Lasak (Cze) 42.00 2 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) 0.16 3 Karel Hnik (Cze) 0.40 4 Radek Polnicky (Cze) 0.42 5 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) 6 Tomas Paprstka (Cze) 7 Jan Nesvadba (Cze) 0.47 8 Valentijn Van de Velde (Bel) 1.04 9 Michael Boros (Cze) 1.19 10 Matthias Bossuyt (Bel) 1.37 11 Niels Wytinck (Bel) 2.26 12 Sonny Volders (Bel) 3.16 13 Tim Deceuninck (Bel) 3.41 14 Tom Devriendt (Bel) 4.59 15 Rutger La Haye (Bel) 6.12 16 Matthias Botterman (Bel) 6.26 17 Joshua Omez (Bel) 6.54 One lap behind 18 Wim Allary (Bel) 19 Jeroen Popelier (Bel) 20 Kenneth Goossens (Bel) 21 Laurens Van Gansbeke (Bel) Two laps behind 22 Bart Carlier (Bel) Three laps behind 23 Yorrim Pollet (Bel) 24 Jens Six (Bel) All Stars 1 Eric De Vlaeminck 14.35 2 Ronny De Vos 3 Paul Herygers 4 Marc Janssens 5 Paul De Brauwer 6 Freddy Demeester 7 Norbert Dedeckere 8 Danny De Bie 0.21 9 Eric Desruelle 0.27 10 Rolf Wolfshohl 0.36 11 Peter Wieme 12 Roland Liboton 0.57 13 Freddy Deschacht 14 Hubert De Meulemeester 1.43 15 Bert Vermeire 2.55 Junior men 1 Matej Lasak (Cze) 2 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) 3 Karel Hnik (Cze) Full results coming!
2007 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 2006 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 2005 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Rabobank 2004 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 2003 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank