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Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne - C2
Dottignies, Belgium, October 11, 2008
Nys and Peeters use team tactics to keep off Niels Albert
By Brecht Decaluwé
The only Belgian UCI cyclo-cross race of the season to be held in the Walloon Region offered the crowd a high-level starting field and a challenging course. Five riders accelerated away from the bunch after completing the opening lap. Enrico Franzoi, Niels Albert, Francis Mourey and team-mates Sven Nys and Rob Peeters soon made clear that they would battle for the victory.
While Peeters jumped away with six laps to go Mourey, and later Franzoi, dropped back, both feeling the pain of their first 'cross efforts of the season. Peeters seemed to be heading for the victory in Mouscron but Albert decided to try once more with Sven Nys comfortably on his wheel. Albert closed the gap in the final lap and together the three riders entered the final stretches of the course. Peeters led out the sprint for Nys while Albert didn't have anything left for the sprint and finished third.
The solo attack from Peeters came before halfway the race and that might have been the reason that the 23 year-old Belgian was caught back in the end. "I told Sven that I would have a go but of course it was way too early to attack. Once I was up there I gave all I had to give the others a hard time," Peeters said to Cyclingnews. "I continuously had a gap of about 20 to 30 seconds but with two laps to go the crowd warned me that Albert was coming back, with Nys. I increased my speed as well, hoping that Albert would give up but that didn't work out. When I was caught back Sven [Nys] and I agreed to take turns in the attack but Albert stood tall. I led out the sprint and only Sven could overtake me in the end. For me this is moral boosting. Before the season I didn't know that riding at this level was possible for me," Peeters said.
Third place Albert couldn't hide his anger about being the victim of team tactics in Mouscron. "It's very hard to win against two team-mates. I finished third from a group of three so if you look at it now then I'd better allowed Rob to go because if I don't ride then he would've won and nobody else. For me it's not so interesting to be good now and I'd better saved my energy for tomorrow [in Ruddervoorde]," Albert said. The Belgian continued to explain that it was a shame that some riders didn't offer spectacle. "Nys sat on my wheel all race long and then took the flowers, and what was Vantornout doing here?" Albert wondered about the Sunweb-rider who receives a lot of price money but only finished 13th today. "If you're only racing at 50% then you should only ask for 50% start money," Albert said.
Winner Nys agreed that he didn't have to use a lot of energy to claim the victory today, thanks to his team-mate Rob Peeters. "I was lucky to have Rob here because I don't know if I would've made it otherwise. Too bad for Niels that he had to do the dirty work today, but that's what team tactics are for, no," Nys wondered.
American Jonathan Page had a good start but dropped out of the top-10 halfway the race. Missing out on the UCI-points Page decided to step out of the race.
How it unfolded
The best start in Mouscron was for Jonathan Page. The Planetbike-rider was followed by Sven Nys and Klaas Vantornout. It was the first cyclo-cross race of the season for Enrico Franzoi but he didn't seem to mind; the Liquigas rider took the initiative in the technical zone and got away with Francis Mourey, Nys and his team-mate Rob Peeters. Philip Walsleben worked hard to get his leader Niels Albert back to the front, and when this worked out the German dropped back.
By the end of the third lap the selection was made and the leading group had a nice gap on their adversaries. Nys, Peeters, Mourey, Franzoi and Albert had 15" on Ben Berden and Dieter Vanthourenhout. Jan Soetens was battling against the wind on his own just ahead of a six-men group including Vantornout and Page at 30 seconds.
By the end of the fourth lap - halfway through the race – the five leaders had 35 seconds on twelve riders. It was clear that none of these riders was planning to work for the others against the wind in order to close the gap with the leaders. After a series of attacks it was Rob Peeters who jumped away on the road section. Too bad for the Belgian that Franzoi kept working so he didn't create a big gap. Further back a group of four riders had separated themselves from the others. The four riders were Berden, Soetens, young Wesley Van Der Linden and Davy Commeyne who recovered from a poor start.
Peeters continued to work on his gap with the four chasers and he gathered about twenty seconds on Franzoi, Albert and Peeters' team-mate Nys who sat back to protect the attack. French champion Mourey had been suffering with the speed throughout the race and during the sixth lap was dropped. The chasing group with Commeyne trailed by 1'10".
With only three laps to go Peeters was still only 20 seconds ahead of the three chasers. Mourey followed at almost one minute and he was about to get caught by the group of four that included Commeyne. Page rode together with Tom Van Den Bosch and local rider Quentin Bertholet in eleventh position.
With the finish of the race in sight Niels Albert started to put the hammer down. Franzoi got dropped and sole leader Rob Peeters was back within reach of the two chasers. Going into the ultimate lap Peeters was about to be caught back and a tense final was about to unfold. Albert had the tactical disadvantage of riding against two team-mates. Peeters and Nys took turns in the attacks and eventually the three steamed together towards the finish line. Peeters lead out the sprint and Nys finished it quite easily, with Peeters claiming second place ahead of a tired Albert.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Stijn Vercaemer /www.cyclingview.be
1 Sven Nijs (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 59.40 2 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 3 Niels Albert (Bel) PALMANS 4 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas 0.36 5 Ben Berden (Bel) JWM SPORTIEF 1.51 6 Wesley Van Der Linden (Bel) SUNWEB PROJOB 7 Davy Commeyne (Bel) JWM SPORTIEF 2.13 8 Francis Mourey (Fra) ESPERANCE SAONOI 2.18 9 Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Rendement Hypo 2.36 10 David Willemsens (Bel) JWM SPORTIEF 2.47 11 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) PALMANS 2.50 12 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) SUNWEB PROJOB 2.58 13 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) SUNWEB PROJOB 3.04 14 Constanino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spa) POVOA 3.08 15 Aurélien Duval (Fra) UV AUBE 3.19 16 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 3.21 17 Mariusz Gil (Pol) POM 3.45 18 Michael Muller (Swi) VC Steinmaur 3.57 19 Christian Heule (Swi) VC GIPPINGEN 4.02 20 Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) JVR BATAUWERS 4.05 21 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) FIDEA 22 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) PALMANS 4.13 23 Nico Brungger (Swi) VC Mendrisio 5.32 24 Bart Verschueren (Bel) JWM SPORTIEF 5.37 25 David Seco Amundarain (Spa) BUSTURIA 5.39 26 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) EMPELLA 7.02 27 Oscar Vazquez Crespo (Spa) AQUAGEST 28 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Adinkerkse 29 Malte Urban (Ger) BDR 30 Dries Petrus (Bel) SCOTT USA 31 David Juarez Alday (Spa) IBAIGANE 32 Kevin Smit (Ned) JVR BATAUWERS 33 Jeffrey Depuydt (Bel) Roeselare 34 Valentin Scherz (Swi) VC RENNAZ 35 Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa) IBAIGANE 36 Laurent Moulin (Bel) BURY 37 Johan Myngheer (Bel) Rumbeke 38 Jordan Becquet (Bel) Tournai Juniors 1 Sonny Volders (Bel) Balen 39.08 2 Lukas Muller (Swi) Jeunesse Suisse 0.05 3 Niels Koyen (Bel) FREDIR 1.26 4 Joel Peter (Swi) Jeunesse Suisse 1.50 5 Robin De Cnodder (Bel) BC Balen 6 Joeri Hofman (Bel) Bianchi Cata Bikes 2.34 7 Martijn Masselis (Bel) FREDIR 3.00 8 Scott Thiltges (Lux) LG Alzingen 3.37 9 Brecht Vindevoghel (Bel) KSV Deerlijk 3.57 10 Tijs Van Aert (Bel) EDEGEM Bicycle 11 Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) Hoboken 4.44 12 Veerle Ingels (Bel) AVB 5.16 13 Tom Klepper (Lux) LG Alzingen 5.45 14 Martijn Pastoors (Ned) WV EDE 6.20 15 Rutger La Haye (Bel) EDEGEM Bicycle 6.28 16 Florient Delmay (Bel) VC Haut Pays 6.40 17 Mathias Couckuyt (Bel) Tieltse VS 7.02 18 Geert Kuit (Ned) WV EDE 19 Adrien Pire (Bel) Charleroi 2000 20 Kim Van Renterghem (Bel) KSV Deerlijk 21 Johann Le Meut (Fra) ASP Hautevilloi 22 Logan Somville (Bel) Charleroi 2000 23 Sven Dominik Tullius (Ger) RSC Uberherrn 24 Charlotte Coquet (Fra) Bourgogne 25 Sandy Verriest (Bel) ASFRA Beginners 1 Jeroen Meijers (Ned) TWC Pijnenburg 27.04 2 Tino Verschueren (Bel) Handand Baal 3 Koen Weijers (Ned) EDE 4 Jens Couckuyt (Bel) Tieltse 5 Karel Delfosse (Bel) Zwevegem 0.34 6 Moreno Geerts (Bel) St Lennaarts 1.07 7 Janes Ysebaert (Bel) Asfra 1.41 8 Sophie Borra (Ned) EDE 6.30 9 Maaike Lanssens (Bel) Meulebeke 7.56 10 Simon Amidieu (Fra) Bourgognes DNF Alison Bernard (Fra) Bourgognes
2007 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 2006 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 2005 Bart Wellens (Bel) 2004 Davy Commeyne (Bel) MrBookmaker.com - Palmans 2003 Bart Wellens (Bel) Spaar Select 2002 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank 2001 Mario De Clercq (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites 2000 Kipcho Volckaerts (Bel) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com