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Internationale Veldritten op de Koppenberg (GvA Trofee #1) - C1
Oudenaarde, Belgium, November 1, 2008
Race 3 - November 1: Elite Men
Nys remains emperor of the Koppenberg
By Brecht Decaluwé in Oudenaarde, Belgium
Belgian champion Sven Nys, 32, once again dominated the Koppenbergcross. It was his fifth win in a row on the famed Koppenberg and this time, he did it in extremely foul weather conditions. World Champion Lars Boom finished a close second.
"This is real 'cross, once in a while it's fun to ride a race like this. Afterwards it's not as fun when you start to feel the pain and the coldness, but during the race you're just thinking about making it to the finish line," Nys said.
Nys had to accept the presence of Boom for most of the race. The two riders entered the final lap of the Koppenbergcross only to have their duel decided on the last part of the climb. Nys powered away from his younger rival. Though both riders crashed on the slippery descent of the Koppenberg, Nys kept his gap to capture the win and first race of the GvA-trophy.
"I felt I was the best rider today. I had already noticed that I distanced Boom a couple of metres when jumping back on the bike when I wasn't even trying," Nys said. "So when I accelerated in the last lap I wasn't surprised that Boom got distanced. It feels good to win against the world champion in a direct duel," Nys said.
Boom, for his part, was not too upset with second place on his former teammate. "This was a unique opportunity to win here but Sven was very good. I probably had to be closer on his wheel so he wouldn't have 10 metres, but I thought I could make up for that in the running section that followed. I took a lot of risks in the descent but couldn't get back," Boom said.
Nevertheless, the world champion battled for the win in an important race for the first time this season and by the way he talked about it he seemed to have had fun. Covered from head to toe in a thick layer of mud, his rainbow bands completely obscured, Boom said, "For the first time this season I was good on the bike, and I had a lot of fun in the sludge."
UCI leader Niels Albert was unable to keep up with Boom and Nys today, and blamed himself not for lack of strength, but errors. "I made too many mistakes, and on the wrong moments like the descent. Uphill and on the other sections I was certainly a match for the leaders. Sven was the better rider today, but I will certainly not concede to Nys' supremacy before the start of a race," Albert said and he concluded by saying that the three best riders featured on the podium.
How it unfolded
Fifty-one riders lined up in Melden for the first event in the GvA-trophy. Rain had been pouring down on the course for most of the day, and the junior and U23 races had shown that many parts of the course were extremely slippery. Cold winds further tortured the riders as they waited on the start line in the small town of Melden, near Oudenaarde, Belgium.
The deep starting order forced Riders like USA's Jonathan Page to work from behind after the start. Young Rob Peeters of Team Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner was the first to corner with all the favourites riding near the front, except for Bart Wellens of Team Fidea. He had a bad start once again.
Dutchman Thijs Al of Team Be One accelerated on the first ascent of the Koppenberg with Albert, Boom and Peeters swiftly following. Albert took over from Al, and the young Belgian created a small gap.
Nys noted the important moves at the front and decided to take command in the chase of Albert. By the end of the first lap, Albert, Nys, Boom, Peeters, Al and Groenendaal had a ten-second gap on a big group including Fidea's Petr Dlask.
Sunweb Projob's Klaas Vantornout brought the chasers back towards the front on the first part of the climb of the Koppenberg. On the descent, Nys and Boom edged clear from the others. The latter grabbed three points in the so-called sprint after two laps. Albert was bridging up towards the leaders and crossed the line in third position at six seconds from Boom.
The World Champion continued to lead the group, and Nys and Albert decided to focus on following rather than attacking. On the slippery descent of the Koppenberg, all three leaders went down in a right-hand corner. One lap later, Nys led the leaders on the same descent. Wellens tried to return to the front with Vantornout; they worked behind at eleven seconds from the three leaders.
After four laps, Nys and Boom created a small gap of five seconds on Albert, while Wellens and Vantornout were thrown back at 25 seconds from the front duo. Albert managed to return during the uphill part of the lap, but he was put in danger while avoiding a lapped rider on the descent in the fifth lap. His manoeuvre put him in the infamous right-hand corner on the wrong side and he overturned, this time letting go of Nys and Boom for good.
Albert trailed at ten seconds when entering the penultimate lap. Wellens and Vantornout were chasing at half a minute.
Boom led for most of the lap. He put Nys under pressure on the descent, but the Belgian champion didn't allow him to get away.
The tension rose and, in the last lap, Nys took the lead on the climb. Boom stuck to Nys, but in the second part of the climb Nys tried again. Boom lost a couple of seconds to Nys by the top. Both riders took a lot of risks in the mudslide off the Koppenberg and Nys crashed in one of the corners. Boom had an opportunity to return, but his chances were dashed when he went down in the same spot.
Nys kept a gap of five seconds on Boom to the finish line. Albert completed the podium at more than forty seconds back on Nys.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Isosport
Images by Stijn Vercaemer /www.cyclingview.be
1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 56.25 2 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 0.05 3 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans Cras 0.42 4 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 1.07 5 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.15 6 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner 1.23 7 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank Continental 8 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 10 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor 1.43 11 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas 2.16 12 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne 2.33 13 Christian Heule (Swi) Stevens Racing Team 2.37 14 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Drink 2.43 15 Wilant van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.NL 2.50 16 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3.09 17 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 3.35 18 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank Continental 3.54 19 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans Cras 4.09 20 Wesley Van der Linden (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 4.25 21 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor 4.47 22 Davy Commeyne (Bel) 4.54 23 Marco Bianco (Ita) 5.05 24 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) Palmans Cras 5.35 25 Martin Zlamalik (Cze) 5.43 26 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 5.50 27 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 7.40 28 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans Cras 7.54 29 Ian Field (GBr) 7.59 30 Gusty Bausch (Lux) 8.33 31 Kendrick Van Grembergen (Bel) 9.27 One lap behind 32 Jimmy Tielens (Bel) Three laps behind 33 Steven De Schoesitter (Bel) Five laps behind 34 Dries Cauwelier (Bel) 35 Jan-Willem Kamphof (Ned) DNF Radomir Simunek (Cze) DNF Mariusz Gil (Pol) DNF Bart Verschueren (Bel) DNF Oscar Vazquez (Spa) DNF Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) DNF Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) DNF Wim Jacobs (Bel) DNF Davy Coenen (Bel) DNF Mark Cotton (GBr) KGazet van Antwerpen overall 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 38 pts 2 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 35 3 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans Cras 30 4 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 27 5 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 26 6 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner 25 7 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank Continental 24 8 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 23 9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 22 10 Jan Soetens (Bel) 21 11 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas 20 12 Thijs Al (Ned) 19 13 Christian Heule (Swi) 18 14 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) 17 15 Wilant van Gils (Ned) 16 16 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 15 17 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 14 18 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank Continental 13 19 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans Cras 12 20 Wesley Van der Linden (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 11 21 Ben Berden (Bel) 10 22 Davy Commeyne (Bel) 9 23 Marco Bianco (Ita) 8 24 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) Palmans Cras 7 25 Martin Zlamalik (Cze) 6 26 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 5 27 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 4 28 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans Cras 3 29 Ian Field (USA) 2 30 Gusty Bausch (Lux) 1 Intermediate sprint classification 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 3 pts 2 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 2 3 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans Cras 1