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9th Grote Prijs Sven Nys (Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee Veldrijden #6) - C1
Baal, Belgium, January 1, 2008
Race 3 - January 1: Elite Men & Under 23
Demonstration from Nys in his backyard
By Brecht Decaluwé
The ninth edition of Sven Nys' own race proved to be another one-man-show from the local hero. The Belgian UCI-leader surprised his rivals by bunny-hopping the high barriers that were placed close together in the first lap. The 31 year-old powered away and was only seen again by his rivals at the finish. Nys won for the seventh time in Baal and put everybody more than a minute behind. Two young Fidea riders flanked the winner on the podium, Zdenek Stybar and Kevin Pauwels. Their team leader, Belgian champion Bart Wellens, cancelled his participation and risks to lose form as he is confined to his sick bed with fever.
With only two more legs left in the Gazet van Antwerpen trophy, Nys is closing in on a fifth overall victory while his team-mate Lars Boom overtook Wellens to move into second place despite finishing off the podium in Baal. Today's runner-up Zdenek Stybar is clearly on form and is now also in contention for a top three in the series. The next leg of the Gazet van Antwerpen trophy is scheduled for February 2, 2008 with the Krawatencross in Lille.
UCI-leader Sven Nys apologised a little for the boring television pictures as not much was happening in front. "I had a super feeling today and I'm clearly the freshest rider of all. I won a lot of times over here in front of my home crowd, but never in this style though," the 31-year-old smiled. "It's great to know that 70% of the people come here to watch me. I'm very grateful for that."
The Belgian quickly gathered a good gap on a five man chasing group where his team-mate Lars Boom did the work. "After the intermediate sprint I took it easier for a while, and I thought Lars would come back. Apparently he was busy with the sprint as well and slowed a little afterwards," Nys explained that he hesitated to continue his solo after two laps. "I did a great job for all the rankings [UCI-rankings, Superprestige and GvA Trophy], so now I can focus on the championships," Nys said, looking forward to the Belgian national championships next weekend, and the world championships in Treviso next month.
The runner-up in Baal, Zdenek Stybar, did a lot of work in the chasing group and eventually got rid of Kevin Pauwels and Lars Boom in the last lap. "I'm very satisfied with my performances as I could finish on the podium three times in four races. I didn't expect to pull that off over here. I'll try to keep this form as long as I can," Stybar expressed his hope to do well in the Czech championships next weekend. A word of praise for Nys was heard as well. "Nys did a great job because we were riding hard, still he managed to put us on more than a minute."
The third placed rider was the shy young Belgian Kevin Pauwels. He choose to ride defensively at the back of the five men chasing group, but eventually he moved up in the last lap and was second of the group. "It feels good. It was about time that I managed to pull off a solid performance," Pauwels said. The 24-year-old had a good season last year, but failed to confirm this year.
In contrast to the quiet Pauwels, the ebullient Dutch champion Lars Boom battled for a long time with Stybar for second place, but in the end the 21-year-old he cracked and had to settle for fourth in Baal. "I was a little less strong than before, but I did a good job for the general classification. Too bad for Wellens, but now I've got a good gap on him," Boom said.
Tristan Schouten finished 26th, ahead of road cyclist Nico Sijmens. Kyle Douglas finished just behind the Belgian and Shaun Adamson was 31st.
How it unfolded
There was one major no-show in Baal, Bart Wellens. The Belgian champion is laid up in bed with fever and will also be forced to skip the race in Sint-Niklaas on January 2. Another non-starter was Jempy Drucker who hurt his finger in Diegem on December 30. Besides Zdenek Stybar, the line-up in Baal was mainly Dutch speaking, except for two Germans and North Americans Tristan Schouten, Kyle Douglas and Shaun Adamson.
Sven Nys had an unusually good start; taking the lead quickly and then bunny-hopping over the barriers. That move gave him a good gap on the first man in pursuit, Jan Verstraeten. The less known Sunweb-rider was then overtaken by Nys' team-mate Bart Aernouts and Richard Groenendaal. Local boy Niels Albert took a bad start and was riding off the back. Nys stayed in the lead and had a small gap on Aernouts, Groenendaal, Boom, Stybar and Verstraeten. Then there was a gap on young guys like Rob Peeters, Tom Meeusen and Boy Van Poppel.
Nys hopped of the barriers again and he developed a pit length gap on the five-man chasing group. Meanwhile Niels Albert decided to abandon the race. Nys took the three points in the intermediate sprint, before Boom and Groenendaal. Aernouts, Pauwels and Stybar didn't take any points but they were still within reach of Nys, with the Czech riding 16" behind the leader.
Nys didn't hop over the barriers on the third lap, instead choosing to avoid any risk now that he had established a firm lead. Dutchmen Boom and Groenendaal took the initiative in the chasing group, but Nys kept riding away from the chasers during the third lap, and was now riding 15" ahead.
After three laps, with six to go, Nys had 24" on the five chasers. Behind them another five men group came together with Rob Peeters, De Knegt, Van Gils, Al and Vervecken at 50" from Nys. Boy Van Poppel and Tom Meeusen were the last riders within a minute of the leader.
Nys continued his one-man-show, and with five laps to go Nys was 35" ahead of the first chasing group where Stybar took the initiative in the fourth and fifth lap. Stybar was clearly the best technical rider in the chasing group, with Boom closing the small gaps by using his power on the easier parts of the course.
The demonstration from Nys continued, as he kept developing his lead over the five chasers up to about a minute. The battle for second place was more exciting than the solid performance from Nys. Bart Aernouts attacked the chasing group a couple of times, but he couldn't drop his companions.
Going into the penultimate lap Nys was more than a minute ahead of the first chasers. Van Gils, Vervecken and Peeters were a half a minute further back. Stybar jumped away from the chasers on the descent of the Balenberg. The Czech took a lot of risks and a crash was the logical result. The efforts from Stybar did force the others to take risks as well, and it was Groenendaal who crashed and dropped away from the group.
Nys didn't have to bother about taking too many risks and cruised to his 18th victory of the season. The four young men in the first chasing group didn't wait for Groenendaal to come back; the Dutchman was riding a couple of seconds behind the group. Boom and Stybar raced on their limits over the Balenberg, trying to get a gap. The speed was too high for Aernouts who had to allow a gap on the three men in front of him. Stybar kept working hard to keep a 3" lead over Boom and Pauwels. The latter eventually managed to get away from Boom, so two Fidea-riders would accompany Nys on the podium in Baal.
It was clear that Nys' racing style had caused a lot of damage behind him. Riders arrived at the finish line one by one, with big gaps between most of them. There were a couple of two-man sprints on the finish line, for instance between Vervecken and Van Gils, and Al against De Knegt.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Isosport
Elite / U23 (39 starters) 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 59.50 2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 0.55 3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 4 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 1.06 5 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 1.14 6 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sports Drinks 1.22 7 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.35 8 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 9 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 2.22 10 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne-Chain Reaction Cycles 2.29 11 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 12 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 3.12 13 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 3.21 14 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3.27 15 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 3.34 16 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 3.49 17 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Rabobank 4.15 18 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 4.36 19 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 20 Jimmy Tielens (Bel) 2 Mega Saeco 5.29 21 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans-Cras 5.46 22 Davy Coenen (Bel) 2 Mega Saeco 5.53 23 Geert Van Crombruggen (Bel) Royal Cureghem Sportif - Brussel 6.03 24 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 6.36 25 Arne Daelmans (Bel) DCM-GB Vorselaar Cycling Team vzw 6.50 One lap behind 26 Tristan Schouten (USA) Planet Bike Two laps behind 27 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 28 Kyle Douglas (Can) 3 Rox Racing 29 Alexander Forst (Ger) MTB Verein Berlin Three laps behind 30 Steffen Müller (Ger) RC Charlottenburg 31 Shaun Adamson (Can) Juventus CC Intermediate sprint 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 3 pts 2 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 2 3 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sports Drinks 1 Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee standings after six rounds 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 209 pts 2 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 182 3 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 171 4 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 158 5 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sports Drinks 150 6 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 140 7 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Cras 133 8 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 127 9 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 126 10 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne-Chain Reaction Cycles 119 11 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 12 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 107 pts 13 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 102 14 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 87 15 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans-Cras 16 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 79 pts 17 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 72 18 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 70 19 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 58 20 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 39 21 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 35 22 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 32 23 Marius Gil (Pol) 29 24 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) Palmans-Cras 28 25 Arne Daelmans (Bel) DCM-GB Vorselaar Cycling Team vzw 24 26 Radomír Simunek (Cze) Palmans-Cras 21 27 Jimmy Tielens (Bel) 2 Mega Saeco - Heist o/d berg 20 28 Wesley Van Der Linden (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 17 29 Wim Jacobs (Bel) Van der Vorst CT 30 Tom Vannoppen (Bel) AVB-USspa 31 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux 16 pts 32 Christian Heule (Swi) Stevens Racing Team 14 33 Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Harvestehuder RSV v. 1909 13 34 Marek Cichosz (Pol) CWKS Legia Warszawa 35 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) 36 Simon Zahner (Swi) Bürgis Cycling Team 11 pts 37 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona-YourKey.com 38 Geert Van Crombruggen (Bel) Royal Cureghem Sportif - Brussel 10 pts 39 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti 40 René Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvestehuder RSV v. 1909 41 Davy Coenen (Bel) 2 Mega Saeco 9 pts 42 Jeremy Powers (USA) Cyclocrossworld.Com 8 43 Rafael Visinelli (Ita) GS Forestale 6 44 Tristan Schouten (USA) Planet Bike 5 45 Isaac Suarez (Spa) 46 Nico Berckmans (Bel) DCM-GB Vorselaar Cycling Team vzw 47 Peter Van Santvliet (Bel) AVB/USspa.be Cycling 48 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 4 pts 49 Milan Bareniy (Svk) 3 50 Kay Van Den Brande (Bel) Palmans-Cras 51 Jonathan Baker (USA) Primus Mootry 2 pts 52 Gusty Bausch (Lux) 1 Sprint classification 1 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 11 pts 2 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 9 3 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 4 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sports Drinks 5 pts 5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 6 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3 pts U23 Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee classification after five rounds 1 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 103 pts 2 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 70 3 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 48 4 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 47 5 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 42 6 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) CT Van Vliet EBH Advocaten 40 7 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Rabobank 39 8 Maxim Debusschere (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 33 9 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Edegem BC 32 10 Wim Leemans (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 30 11 Lukás Kloucek (Cze) Selle Italia Guerciotti 28 12 Dries Govaerts (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 26 13 Paul Voss (Ger) 22 14 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans-Cras 21 15 Giovanni Denolf (Bel) Palmans-Cras 20 16 Bart Verschueren (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 19 17 Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 17 18 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Team Löwik Meubelen 16 19 Robert Gavenda (Svk) Selle Italia Guerciotti 15 20 Sven Verboven (Bel) Wielerclub Galmaarden Sportief 21 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 22 Julien Tarmarcz (Swi) 14 pts 23 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank 13 24 Kenny Geluykens (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 25 Jan Van Dael (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 26 Joeri Adams (Bel) Rabobank 27 Jirí Polnický (Cze) Empella Czech Team 11 pts 28 Ricardo van der Velde (Ned) Rabobank 10 29 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 30 René Lang (Swi) 9 pts 31 Dries Dewit (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 8 32 Ole Quast (Ger) Team Palmberg-Stevens 5 33 Hugo Ruiz Martinez (Spa) 34 Björn De Decker (Bel) 35 Pawel Szczepaniak (Pol) 4 pts 36 Hans Becking (Ned) BeOne-Chain Reaction Cycles 37 Bart Hermans (Bel) Balen BC 38 Kyle Douglas (Can) 3 Rox Racing 39 Ricardo van der Velde (Ned) Rabobank 3 pts 40 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Asfra Racing Team 41 Rob Vangenechten (Bel) 42 Alexander Forst (Ger) MTB Verein Berlin 43 Marcel Meisen (Ger) 2 pts 44 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) Jan Van Arckel 45 Steffen Müller (Ger) RC Charlottenburg 1 Sprint classification 1 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 9 pts 2 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 4 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) CT Van Vliet EBH Advocaten 2 pts 5 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 6 Lukás Kloucek (Cze) Selle Italia Guerciotti 7 Bart Verschueren (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 1