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Superprestige #1 - Ruddervoorde - C1
Ruddervoorde, Belgium, October 12, 2008
Race 1 - October 12: Elite Men
Nys beats Vantornout on home soil
By Brecht Decaluwé
Sven Nys won a three-men sprint in Ruddervoorde to claim the win in the first Superprestige race of the season. Fellow Belgians Klaas Vantornout and Niels Albert joined Nys on the podium. World champion Lars Boom rode his first cross of the season and started strong but the young Dutch man missed race rhythm and dropped back to an eighteenth spot.
Atypical cyclo-cross conditiions - a dry and fast course combined with sunny weather and temperatures up to 23 degrees Celcius - resulted in great racing in Ruddervoorde, near Torhout which is home soil for three riders in the cyclo-cross peloton: Sven Vanthourenhout, Dieter Vanthourenhout and Klaas Vantornout. The three of them would've loved to win in front of their home crowds but they all failed in their mission, for different reasons. The first is out with a wrist injury, the second is too young to win and the third was beaten in the sprint.
Vantornout rode very aggresive during the first few laps and after making it through the sand sector on the bike the two of them got away. "I gave all I had and I came very close, but in the end I have to admit that I was beaten by a rider who was slightly better than me," Vantornout admitted after crossing the finish line in second position. Vantornout wasn't beaten by a true sprinter as it was Sven Nys who won the first Superprestige race of the season.
"I'm surprised that for the first time in years I start to win sprints," Nys laughed. "Maybe it's because of the MTB racing I did but I noticed that my acceleration has improved, despite my age."
That acceleration wasn't the only weapon Nys had been using throughout the race since he was out in the attack together with Klaas Vantornout from the third lap on. The Belgian duo shared the pulls to keep young Niels Albert from returning to the front. "When Klaas was pulling then we weren't going as fast as when I pulled but I needed Klaas to recover a bit on his wheel. Then again, every time Niels launched a counter-attack I took a powerful pull to make life difficult for him," Nys said.
Albert didn't take a good start and when he moved up to the front of the race it turned out that Nys and Vantornout were already gone and they were leading by about twelve seconds. Albert launched a first counter-attack and he came back to as close as five seconds but then he got stuck in the sand pit, which was a nasty L-formed zone that forced the riders to take a corner while riding in the sand. "That was a stupid mistake and the result was that I had to keep chasing all race long," he said. "Eventually I made it back to the front but then we were already in the last lap and I didn't have anything left for the sprint."That three-men sprint was won by Belgian champion Sven Nys.
The win in Ruddervoorde was Nys' fifth victory in five races this season. "Everybody wanted to win this first important race and well, I must say that I started my season well, didn't I."
Good weekend for young Rob Peeters
Rob Peeters won the sprint for fourth place ahead of Kevin Pauwels. Peeters was beaming with pride after the finish line. "This has been a great weekend for me and I didn't think that I could go so strong again today after my solo ride yesterday. I immediately felt that I was going good; I could clos the gaps. These performances should be enough for a World Cup selection." Peeters referred to the battle for a spot in the Belgian World Cup selection. Bart Wellens was chasing on his own for most of the race and finished on a sixth place.
A bad day: out of the top-10
More riders are able to ride on a top level this season and a couple of riders noticed that when you're without good form you're likely to drop out of the top-10. That list included good riders like world champion Lars Boom, Czech champion Zdenek Stybar, Jonathan Page and Gerben De Knegt. Boom wasn't worried too much about his eighteenth position. "I pulled off the hole shot and led the field in the first lap so I'm certainly strong enough but I'm just lacking the typical cross techniques to stay near the front," Boom said to Cyclingnews. "I need a couple of races and when they are less technical then I'll certainly battle near the front".
Jonathan Page finished just ahead of the world champion. "He [Boom] wasn't having a good day either. I just suffered all race long; I wasn't good. I did a lot of travelling lately and I think my batteries are low. Next week should be better."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Isosport/www.isosport.be
Elite Men 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 59.34 2 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 0.02 3 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans - Cras 0.04 4 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 0.23 5 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 6 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.45 7 Thijs Al (Ned) 1.04 8 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.09 9 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 10 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans - Cras 1.13 11 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 1.16 12 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Cycling Team 1.23 13 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 1.27 14 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 1.50 15 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel) 16 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 2.10 17 Jonathan Page (USA) Cervelo-HotTubes-Adidas-Mavic 2.20 18 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 2.30 19 Radomir Simunek (Bel) Palmans - Cras 2.50 20 Christian Heule (Swi) Stevens Racing Team 21 Bjorn Rondelez (Bel) Lingier Versluys Beachbikers Team VZW 2.54 22 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 23 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 3.03 24 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) 25 Wilant van Gils (Ned) 26 Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team 3.47 27 Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) 3.54 28 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 4.40 29 Ian Field (GBr) 4.49 30 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans - Cras 5.10 31 Martin Müller (Swi) Team Inovex 5.13 32 Geert Wellens (Bel) AVB-USSspa Cycling Team Kasterlee 5.23 33 David Seco (Spa) 5.37 34 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Bel) Het Snelle Wiel 5.49 35 Crespo Vazquez (Spa) 5.53 36 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) 6.11 37 Bart Verschueren (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 6.48 38 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 7.00 39 Jerry Kallenfels (Ned) Easypay Cyclocross Team 1 lap DNF Steven De Schoesitter (Bel) Rudyco Cycling Team