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Vlaamse Houtlandcross Eernegem - C2

Eernegem, Belgium, November 8, 2008

2007 Results    Results    Past winners

Nys wins last test ahead of World Cup

By Brecht Decaluwé in Eernegem, Belgium

Nys takes it
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Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner) won the Houtlandcross in Eernegem in a sprint against local hero and last year's winner Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb Projob Cycling Team). A few seconds later Dutchman Thijs Al (AA Drink - BeOne) held off Dieter Vanthourenhout (Palmans - Cras ) for the remaining podium spot while American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) came in as last rider of this group, finishing fifth.

World champion Lars Boom and World Cup leader Niels Albert preferred to skip the race in Eernegem in order to be fresh enough for tomorrow's World Cup race in Pijnacker, The Netherlands.

Nys wasn't expected to start in Eernegem, but nevertheless the Belgian champion showed up and grabbed his sixth victory of the season.

"This wasn't an easy victory," Nys said to Cyclingnews. "I was going by how I felt here, but it was necessary to ride at the front of the race on this course. Gaps were easily created in the technical zone at the playground with the twists and turns.

"Since I didn't start too well, I steadily moved up positions. Just past halfway in the race, I accelerated and felt that I could win here as I gained a gap on the others," Nys said.

At that point in the race, Nys, Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels (Fidea Cycling Team), Dieter Vanthourenhout, Al, Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas), Martin Bina (Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor) and Page comprised the lead group. Coming back after a bad start, Page was sitting on Nys' wheel when the Belgian attacked. Page wasn't planning to close the gap on his own and forced the local riders to play their cards in front of their home crowd.

Vantornout took control initially
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With three laps to go, Nys was chased down by local riders Vantornout and Vanthourenhout, and a few moments later Al and Page joined the leaders, too, although the two non-Belgians were clearly having trouble hanging onto the three Belgians.

Last year Vantornout decided the race's outcome in the last lap with an acceleration in the technical zone. This year, he launched a sprint toward the same zone and took over the lead. Vanthourenhout was struggling to stay on his wheel, and Nys noticed he needed to move up or miss out on the win.

Vantornout couldn't drop Nys, and halfway through the final lap, he was overtaken as Nys moved into the lead. The Belgian champion started his sprint from far out – with half a lap around the football pitch in Eernegem to go – and Vantornout didn't have enough course left to overtake Nys before the finish line.

"Nys surprised me by starting the sprint from far out, very far out. Then again, it's not a shame to lose to Nys. I think the two of us were the best riders today," Vantornout said.

While Al managed to outsprint a disappointed Vanthourenhout for the remaining podium spot, the American Page was sitting too far back to take part in the sprint for the podium. Still Page was content with his performance in Eernegem.

"It would have been nicer to be on the podium, of course, but my form is going into the right direction," Page said to Cyclingnews.

Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) rode a good race
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The Planetbike rider crashed in the first lap and took a long time before coming back to the front. "I spent a lot of energy and time in that pursuit together with [Enrico] Franzoi, but I feel that I'm ready for the World Cup tomorrow," Page said.

Franzoi was dropped when Nys attacked on lap six, but the Italian wasn't too far back, finishing sixth a little more than a half of a minute down from winner Nys. Radomir Simunek (Palmans - Cras), who cornered into the swing on the playground during the third lap, crossed the line a few seconds later. Kevin Pauwels (Fidea Cycling Team) rode near the front until two laps to go, but once dropped, he took it easy eventually finished eighth.

Another young Belgian, Tom Van Den Bosch (Rendementhypo Cycling Team), confirmed his excellent form with a ninth place ahead of Czech talent Bina, whose strong first half of the race saw him suffer. A lack of stamina meant he could not stick with the leaders for the second half.

Erwin Vervecken (Fidea Cycling Team) seemed to be riding more backwards than forward in Eernegem. The former World Champion may soon need to worry about his chances for Belgian team selection for the World Cup races as he was unable to play any role of importance; the former World Champion finished an anonymous fourteenth in Eernegem.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Cyclingnews.com

Images by Stijn Vercaemer/www.CyclingView.be


1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner                
2 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team          
3 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne                            
4 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans - Cras                 
5 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike                            
6 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas                              
7 Radomir Simunek (Bel) Palmans - Cras                       
8 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team                     
9 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) Rendementhypo Cycling Team         
10 Martin Bína (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor                 
11 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Revor Cycling Team                    
12 Steve Chainel (Fra) Auber 93                              
13 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team                  
14 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team                       
15 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team              
16 Wim Leemans (Bel) AVB Cycling Team                        
17 Gianni Denolf (Bel) Palmans - Cras                        
18 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team              
19 David Willemsens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team                 
20 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita)                               
21 Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spa) Povoa Cycling Club    
22 Robert Gavenda (Svk) Fidea Cycling Team                   
23 Geert Wellens (Bel) AVB-USSspa Cycling Team Kasterlee     
24 David Collins (GBr) Science In Sport - Trek               
25 Dimitri Stevens (Bel) MEZ Team Belgium Snellegem          
26 Hugo Martinez Rus (Spa)                                   
27 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Adinkerkse                          
28 Jorge Rodriguez Garcia (Spa)                              
29 Jerry Kallenfels (Ned) Easypay Cyclocross Team            
30 Jeffrey Depuydt (Bel) Jonge Renners Roeselare             
31 Tom Desmet (Bel) Asfra Racing Team                        
32 Javier Heras Salichs (Spa)                                
33 Steven De Schoesitter (Bel) Rudyco Cycling Team           
34 Carlos Hernandez Garcia (Spa)                             
35 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick Step                      
36 Keith Murray (GBr)                                        
37 Bragando De La Fuente (Spa)                               
38 Dries Cauwelier (Bel) Cycling Team Cauwelier Roeselare    

Past winners

2007 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 
2006 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Rabobank
2005 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team
2004 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Quickstep - Davitamon
2003 Ben Berden (Bel) John Saey-Deschacht 
2002 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites