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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #7 - CDM
Hofstade, Belgium, December 26, 2007
Race 4 - December 26: Elite Men, 65 minutes
Nys makes no mistakes
Threesome downgrades opposition on perfect cyclo-cross course
By Brecht Decaluwé in Hofstade with assistance from Gregor Brown
The beautiful and diverse course in Hofstade often brought great cyclo-cross racing in the past, and today wasn't much different. Three riders offered a spectacle to the huge crowds of about 20,000 people around the lake and they heralded the race afterwards as one of the greatest of the season. The trio of UCI-leader Sven Nys, Belgian champion Bart Wellens and Dutch champion Lars Boom separated themselves from the rest after only one lap and together they ploughed away from the opposition.
After an exciting race and a great finale Sven Nys added another World Cup win to his palmares. The UCI-leader had enjoyed his time out there and mused on about how the race developed. "This is why we became cyclo-cross riders," Sven Nys said.
Belgian champion Bart Wellens originally featured in the leading group, but he was dropped on lap four after taking a bike change. "I was riding with less air pressure in my tires than the others. That was in my advantage in the sand, but in the forest I was uncomfortable," Wellens explained why he had to change his bike and allowed the others to get away. "I didn't regret that choice, because Nys and Boom didn't ride further away from me."
Nys and his Rabobank team-mate Boom worked together to keep Wellens at a distance. "We took turns so we would stay in the lead," Nys explained. "I allowed Boom to return at first because I could use his help, but eventually he got dropped anyway. I didn't attack, I just rode my own tempo," Nys explained how he kept Wellens on a safe distance and how he dropped his Dutch team-mate.
In the last lap, Wellens made a powerful surge which brought him up to a Boom, who had been dropped by Nys. The Dutch rider led out the sprint but was eventually beaten by Wellens. "I made too many mistakes in the last lap. I couldn't get smoothly through that second sand section in the last laps," Boom recalled how he lost contact with his team-mate. "It boosted my confidence that I could come back on Nys every time though. I'm sure he didn't expect that," Boom smiled. "I'm not in top form yet, so I'm happy with my performance."
The post-Christmas race in Hofstade attracted a large contingent of foreigners, including several riders from the US, however the Belgian resident Jonathan Page was the first to cross the finish line after a lonesome race behind the main chasing group, which he caught in the final lap. Page was beaten in a sprint with Radomir Simunek and ended up 17th. "I just had a bad start," Page grumbled. "Van Gils missed his corner and took me with him. I rode a good race, but I was on my own and that was hard mentally."
The remaining Americans were lapped by Nys on a course that made clear who's in top form one week before the national championships in Europe. Jeremy Powers was the last one lapped by Nys in the final corner, and had nothing positive to say about the race. "I dislike this course and I will never come back here if it is no longer a World Cup race. I'm still improving my results from previous years, so for now I'll come back," Powers joked.
Fresh US-champion Tim Johnson was announced as Tim Jones at the call-up and that might explain his poor start. "I was stuck in my pedal and was thrown to the back of the field right after the start," the US-champion explained. Johnson finished 37th and was annoyed by his performance. "It was a terrible race for me and I only felt good for ten minutes, halfway through the race." Two places further back, Ryan Trebon ended his race one lap down on Nys. The tall Kona-rider pointed out to Cyclingnews before the race that he was still suffering from his crash at the national championships, and didn't expect to do well.
"In Zeddam I was exhausted after forty minutes and today will probably be the same," Trebon said. Molly Cameron had bad luck and had to step out halfway the race. "I punctured on the finish line and had to run for a long time. When I had a new bike I looked back and then it was over for me as I saw Nys, Boom and Wellens," Cameron said to Cyclingnews.
The next World Cup leg is held in France on January 13, in Liévin.
How it unfolded
A colourful group of 58 riders took the start in the sixth World Cup leg of the season. Klaas Vantornout took the best start with world champion Erwin Vervecken and Sven Vanthourenhout on his wheel.
Wellens and Boom immediately jumped away and they created a gap on the main group. Nys was leading the chase with Vervecken, Vantornout, Sven Vanthourenhout, Stybar and De Knegt on his wheel. During the second lap Nys got rid of the other chasers and went in search of the leaders, which he reached by the end of the second lap.
Klaas Vantornout tried to join the leaders as well. The Fidea-rider came as close as 10", but couldn't close the gap completely and he had to drop back to the main chasing group that existed of eleven riders after three laps. Rob Peeters took over the command in pursuit of the leaders, but the gap grew only bigger. In front, Wellens got dropped after a bike change and he was distanced at five seconds.
The gap on Wellens didn't grow fast but after six laps he was 12" behind the Rabobank tandem. Radomir Simunek took the initiative in the chasing group. The winner from last week's race in Antwerp followed at 55" behind Boom and Nys.
Boom was dropped a couple of times in the sand but it seemed like Nys waited for his team-mate to return in the lead. An unusual moment occurred when Boom crashed in the sand, Nys overtook him but the Dutch man responded with some fast running to overtake a riding Nys by the end of that sand section. During the seventh lap Wellens seemed able to return to the front and he was no more than 5" behind the leaders. The big chasing group was still together but now they were already trailing by 1'30".
The big chasing group split up in the final laps and it was Sven Vanthourenhout who got away with Richard Groenendaal and Erwin Vervecken.
After coming back on multiple occasions, Boom was finally dropped by Nys in the penultimate lap. In no-time Boom was caught by Wellens who needed a mistake from Nys to get back to the front. Nys made no mistake and when he reached the finish line he was 14" ahead of the duo. Boom led out the sprint but Wellens managed to jump out of his wheel and grab second place.
Sven Vanthourenhout won the sprint against Vervecken for fourth place at 2'05" from Nys. Groenendaal settled for sixth place before his compatriot Van Gils and Aernouts. Klaas Vantornout will be disappointed with his ninth place, which is his worst result in a World Cup race this season. He won the sprint of a four man group ahead of Dutchman Gerben De Knegt who completed the top ten, and before Dieter Vanthourenhout and Thijs Al.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Isosport
Images by Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews
1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 1.06.25 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.14 3 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 4 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 2.05 5 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 6 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sport Drinks 2.12 7 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl 2.19 8 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 2.23 9 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 2.37 10 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 11 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 12 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne CRC Team 13 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 3.01 14 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 3.07 15 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 3.16 16 Radomír Simunek (Cze) Palmans-Cras 3.40 17 Jonathan Page (USA) Sunweb Pro Job 18 John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R Prčvoyance 5.11 19 Christian Heule (Swi) Stevens Racing Team 5.23 20 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 5.25 21 Simon Zahner (Swi) Bürgis Cycling Team 5.28 22 Maarten Nijland (Ned) Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam 23 Marco Bianco (Ita) Arcobaleno Carraro 24 David Derepas (Fra) VC Roubaix Lille Metropole 6.03 25 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti 6.07 26 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 6.15 27 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) US Domont 6.20 28 Marek Cichosz (Pol) CWKS Legia Warszawa 6.35 29 Finn Heitmann (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 7.17 30 Keiichi Tsujiura (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor 7.28 31 Michael Müller (Swi) Team Empella Suisse 7.34 One lap behind 32 Steve Chainel (Fra) Auber 93 33 Jeremy Powers (USA) Cyclocrossworld.Com 34 Marius Gil (Pol) 35 Milan Barenyi (Svk) CK ZP Sport a.s. Podbrezová 36 Robert Glajza (Svk) CK ZP Sport a.s. Podbrezová 37 Tim Johnson (USA) Leer/Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com 38 Václav Metlicka (Svk) Team Kral R.C. Pfeil 39 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona-Your Key Mortgage Team Two laps behind 40 Bart Dirkx (Ned) TWC Tempo/BMV 41 René Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvestehuder RSV v. 1909 42 Joachim Parbo (Den) CCV-Cicli Protek 43 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) 44 Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) VMC Eschenbach 45 Matt Pacocha (USA) Velonews.com 46 Antonio Suarez (Spa) Cantabria Infin 47 Derrick St. John (Can) The Cyclery 48 Nathan Chown (Can) Handlebars - Queen City Cyclists 49 Rafael Visinelli (Ita) GS Forestale 50 Anders Klinkby (Den) Vejen Bicycle Club DNF Luca Damiani (Ita) Colavita/Sutter Home Presented By Cooking Light DNF Romain Villa (Fra) UV Aube DNF Tristan Schouten (USA) Planet Bike DNF Molly Cameron (USA) Vanilla Bicycles-Stumptown Coffee DNF Isaac Suarez (Spa) Cantabria Infin DNF Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Easypay Cyclocross Team DNF Malte Urban (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus DNF Mariusz Bielski (Pol)