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33e Internationale Nissan Super Prestige Cyclo-cross Gieten - C1
Gieten, The Netherlands, November 30, 2008
Race 3 - November 30: Elite Men
Breakthrough for broken Vantornout
By Brecht Decaluwé
Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Projob) pulled off his best performance ever by claiming victory in the fifth Superprestige race of the season. The Belgian endured rain and snow through the soaked meadow in Gieten, The Netherlands. With three laps to go, Vantornout led the race comfortably with a 20-second gap over Bart Wellens (Fidea) and Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönisteiner) when he suddenly lost traction and smacked into a pole. Wellens was the only one who exploited Vantornout's unfortunate blunder by bridging up to the leader before the start of the penultimate lap. The race was eventually decided in a two-man sprint, which Vantornout won with a small margin over Wellens. Belgian champion and leader in the Superprestige series Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönisteiner) finished third and retained his lead in the Superprestige series, but Vantornout now only trails him by three points.
"This is why I'm racing. It's extremely hard to win a big race these days as the level is high. My goal this season was to be on the podium as much as possible, and I've already succeeded four times out of only five Superprestige races," Vantornout said. "This course fit me perfectly with its slightly uphill sections with deep mud."
When asked about the incident that almost took him out of contention for the victory, Vantornout explained that it was a nasty crash. "There were deep tracks, and I lost the good one. My back wheel slipped, and I crashed with my head and shoulder against a deeply grounded pole; I thought I was broken in two. Bart [Wellens] was able to come back, but luckily I had something left for the sprint," said winner Vantornout.
Runner-up Wellens was disappointed after losing the sprint against Vantornout. "Again, more was possible for me. Most of the time, I'm beating Klaas in the sprints, but I think I was in too big of a gear," said Wellens. "Possibly I lacked the necessary energy in the sprint after closing the gap on him."
Nys, the leader in the Superprestige series, wasn't complaining about his third place as he realized that it could've been much worse. "If you're having a bad day, and you're able to finish on the podium anyway, then one shouldn't complain. Today I simply was not as good as yesterday. When Bart joined me in the pursuit of Vantornout, I felt that I couldn't follow him either, and I decided to ride at my own speed in order to avoid a breakdown that would have allowed a comeback from the big group behind us," Nys said.
How it unfolded
Local riders Thijs Al and Richard Groenendaal had a great start in Gieten. The soaked meadow and the cold weather didn't allow riders in lesser form to ride anywhere near the front and quickly other riders took over control. Nys and Wellens moved up to the front, but eventually it was Vantornout who led the race.
The Belgian rider set a pace that nobody could follow. Behind Vantornout, the group split apart and Nys chased together with Christian Heule, who had a suprisingly good start. The latter couldn't do more than follow the Belgian champion and eventually he got dropped by Nys.
Halfway the race, Wellens made a comeback out of the chase group, passing Heule and bridging up to Nys. The two worked together in order to close the 16" gap on Vantornout. Wellens and Nys were unable to go harder than the man in front and with four laps to go, Vantornout had more than twenty seconds on the chasing duo.
Behind those two there was a huge chase group that consisted of more than ten riders. Wellens was keen on getting rid of Nys, and it didn't take too long before the Belgian champion got dropped by Wellens; in half a lap, the latter took five seconds back from Vantornout's advantage. The man in front must have gotten nervous, and when it started to snow, he suddenly crashed.
With only two laps to go Wellens flew towards Vantornout, who needed some time to recover from the crash. Nys was only ten seconds behind the two leaders but he couldn't close the gap. Vantornout made a small mistake just before hitting the final lap, but he could quickly caught back up to Wellens. Further back the main chasing group consisted of no less than fifteen riders.
The two leaders didn't attack each other for most of the lap setting up for the sprint that would decide the winner. Wellens started it, and side-by-side, they stormed to the line. It was Vantornout who got to raise his hands in the air in celebration of the win. Belgian champion Nys rolled easily into third place, and Kevin Pauwels and Zdenek Stybar finished fourth and fifth - at the front of the finishing main chase bunch.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Cyclingnews
Images by DCP/Bert Geerts
1 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 1.01.48 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 0.40 4 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.57 5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 6 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 7 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans - Cras 8 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 9 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 10 Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team 11 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 12 Radomír imunek (Cze) Palmans - Cras 13 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof 14 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team 15 Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 1.17 16 Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 1.27 17 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 1.38 18 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Drink - Be One 2.32 19 Paul Voss (Ger) 3C Lamonta 2.52 20 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 3.02 21 Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 3.47 22 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 23 Daan De Jonge (Ned) Josan-Mercedes Team 4.17 24 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Het Snelle Wiel 5.22 25 Tim Heemskerk (Can) 5.41 26 Tom De Kort (Bel) AVB Cycling Team 5.46 27 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) 6.27 28 Geert Wellens (Bel) AVB Cycling Team 1 lap 29 Camiel Van Den Bergh (Ned) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 30 Mathijs Wagenaar (Ned) Team Asito Standings Superprestige series 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 71 pts 2 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 68 3 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 62 4 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 54 5 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 5 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 36 7 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 34 8 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 31 9 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans - Cras 28 10 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 23 11 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 22 11 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans - Cras 13 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 21 14 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 19 15 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 14 16 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Drink - Be One 9 16 Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 18 Radomír imunek (Cze) Palmans - Cras 7 19 Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 6 19 Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team 21 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 5 21 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 23 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 3 23 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof 25 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 2 25 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team 27 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 1 27 Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne