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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #4 - CDM
Koksijde, Belgium, November 29, 2008
Race 4 - November 29: Elite men,
Vervecken reasserts his power
By Brecht Decaluwé in Koksijde, Belgium
Erwin Vervecken (Fidea Cycling Team) surprised many, including himself, by winning the fourth race of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. The Belgian was among the four Fidea riders who joined Belgian Champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner) in front of the race in the ultimate lap.
Nys hit the finishing straight with a good-sized lead over Vervecken, but the headwind and Vervecken's character proved to be too much. Vervecken managed to overtake Nys on the line and took a record fifth victory in Koksijde.
"I didn't think that I could still win a World Cup race," said the 36-year-old Belgian. That opinion wasn't shared by Nys who said, "As long as Vervecken is riding he will cause trouble."
Thanks to his second place in Koksijde, Nys strengthened his lead in the World Cup.
The rather foggy and cold weather didn't cause much reduction in the riders' visibility, nor was it slippery. Nevertheless, the start of the men's race was spoiled by a crash and as a result, Thijs Al (AA Drink - BeOne), Simon Zahner (Bürgis Cycling Team), young Philip Walsleben (Palmans - Cras) and the somewhat older Richard Groenendaal (AA Drink - BeOne) were faced with the prospect of a comeback-type of race. Pre-race favorite Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) didn't fare too well, either, and was riding initially well outside the top-10.
In front, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb Projob Cycling Team), Zdenek Stybar (Fidea Cycling Team), Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank) and Nys got away, attacking the race. Despite their efforts, no gaps were created and by the end of the opening lap, a group of eleven riders was leading the race.
The situation didn't change until the third lap when Nys accelerated. The Belgian champion was followed by Vantornout, Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb Projob Cycling Team) and Stybar. Behind the four leaders, the Fidea team was trying to organize the pursuit, and it was Kevin Pauwels (Fidea Cycling Team) who brought everyone back by the end of the fourth lap.
One lap later, Nys jumped away from the nine men lead group on the finishing straight. Surprisingly, nobody reacted despite the fact that the Fidea team had four riders in this group.
During this sixth lap Wellens tried to bridge up to Nys together with Vervecken, a quadruple winner in Koksijde. Nys worked hard to keep his lead, but eventually he had to surrender to the Fidea four-man team pursuit including Wellens, Vervecken, Pauwels and Stybar.
"My luck today was that we worked well together in order to bring Sven back. Probably Sven used a lot of his energy then," Vervecken said. During the penultimate lap, Wellens led his two teammates and Nys on the steep dune. Wellens stumbled and nearly fell right before reaching the top, and as if imitating him, Nys did the same, but he did end up going into the fence with his bike.
Wellens didn't get away though, and in the last lap the four leaders were also joined by Vantornout and Pauwels. Stybar seemed to ride away on his own for a moment but Nys closed the gap. On one of the last technical sections, the Belgian champion managed to create a small gap on the others, but that gap proved to be a little too small to keep Vervecken from coming back and overtaking him on the line.
"It felt like a very long sprint, not only for Sven, and I think I relaunched my sprint three times," Vervecken said. "First I focused on keeping Stybar at a distance, but then I noticed that Sven was still within my reach," Vervecken said.
Czech champion Stybar was delighted with his podium finish and was surprised to find out that he was currently second in the World Cup standings. "I've been struggling lately and I didn't have good memories to this race; last year I finished sixteenth which was my worst result. Erwin Vervecken and Paul Herijgers turned my bad dreams about sand into a love for sand, and now I end up third; talking about making progression," said Stybar, beaming with joy.
"I'm happy for Vervecken, especially because he proved that he's not ready for the cyclo-cross museum just yet," Stybar joked.
Vervecken was happy to see his teammates' progression and he promised he would buy the cake during training next week. "This is the race where it all started for me with my victory in 1993, and later my first podium finish in the World Championships. Now I'm winning this race for the fifth time, a record, but since Sven Nys is four years younger than me, I bet I'm not going to keep the record forever," Vervecken said.
Runner-up Nys wasn't disappointed about losing the sprint against Vervecken and said he had had a super day. "I couldn't win, but I had great fun combined and felt great and that's also important once in a while," Nys said. "If I could've ridden up that last dune, I would've had the five metres that I lacked when entering the finishing straight. Erwin had a target and he probably noticed I was struggling against the wind, still he deserved the win today."
The next World Cup race will be held in Igorre, Spain on December 7.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Cyclingnews.com
1 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.05.51 (26.19 km/h) 2 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 0.01 3 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 0.02 4 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.04 5 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.08 6 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 0.10 7 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 0.49 8 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 0.59 9 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 1.11 10 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 1.48 11 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 12 Radomír imunek (Cze) Palmans - Cras 1.50 13 Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 1.51 14 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team 1.57 15 Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 2.51 16 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Differdange Apiflo Vacances 2.58 17 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 2.59 18 Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team 3.08 19 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Palmans - Cras 3.13 20 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Drink - Be One 3.53 21 Martin Bína (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 4.04 22 Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 4.15 23 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti Elite 4.16 24 Paul Voss (Ger) Team 3C-Gruppe 4.17 25 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Exe Jeans 4.38 26 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof 4.51 27 Steve Chainel (Fra) Auber 93 4.59 28 Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) Team Kral R.C. Pfeil Hof E.V 5.03 29 Mariusz Gil (Pol) 5.06 30 Fabio Ursi (Ita) Centro Sportivo Esercito 5.08 31 Johannes Sickmueller (Ger) 6.29 32 David Káek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 6.37 33 Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles 6.42 34 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Het Snelle Wiel 6.46 35 Alessandro Gambino (Ita) Gruppo Sportivo Esercito 6.55 36 Vladimír Kyzivát (Cze) Johnson Controls A MB 7.07 Behind one lap 37 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) 38 Gusty Bausch (Lux) VC Diekirch Behind two laps 39 Joachim Parbo (Den) CCV Cyclo Cross Team Behind three laps 40 René Birkenfeld (Ger) Stevens Racing Team Behind four laps 41 Jody Crawforth (GBr) Arctic Premier Behind five laps 42 Andre Sutton (Can) Hardcore Cycling Club DNF Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team DNF Rafael Visinelli (Ita) Gruppo Sportivo Forestale DNF Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike DNF Simon Zahner (Swi) Bürgis Cycling Team DNF Peter Presslauer (Aut) Volksbank - Corratec World cup standings after four rounds 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 275 pts 2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 223 3 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans - Cras 220 4 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 219 5 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 218 6 Radomír imunek (Cze) Palmans - Cras 178 7 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 173 8 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 171 9 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 166 10 Martin Bína (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 157 11 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 157 12 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 153 13 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 147 14 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Drink - Be One 147 15 Christian Heule (Swi) Rendementhypo Cycling Team 136 16 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 132 17 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française Des Jeux 132 18 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 121 19 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 120 20 Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 116 21 Simon Zahner (Swi) Bürgis Cycling Team 108 22 Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink - BeOne 98 23 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Differdange Apiflo Vacances 97 24 Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team 96 25 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Exe Jeans 94 26 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team 86 27 Mariusz Gil (Pol) 81 28 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas 79 29 Johannes Sickmueller (Ger) 73 30 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans - Cras 71 31 Jaroslav Kulhavý (Cze) Michelin - Specialized MTB Team 70 32 Fabio Ursi (Ita) Centro Sportivo Esercito 67 33 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof 65 34 Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) Team Kral R.C. Pfeil Hof E.V 61 35 Jonathan Lopez (Fra) V.C.La Pomme Marseille 57 36 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti Elite 55 37 Vladimír Kyzivát (Cze) Johnson Controls A MB 54 38 Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Tower Sports - VC Eschenbach 53 39 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 44 40 Joachim Parbo (Den) CCV Cyclo Cross Team 42 41 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) 41 42 Rafael Visinelli (Ita) Gruppo Sportivo Forestale 39 43 Milan Barenyi (Svk) CK P port As 37 44 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Het Snelle Wiel 37 45 Pirmin Lang (Swi) Delta Elite Team 36 46 Gusty Bausch (Lux) VC Diekirch 36 47 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Palmans - Cras 32 48 Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles 32 49 David Káek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 31 50 Geoffrey Clochez (Fra) Bleus de France 28 51 Paul Voss (Ger) Team 3C-Gruppe 27 52 Aurelien Duval (Fra) Française Des Jeux 25 53 René Birkenfeld (Ger) Stevens Racing Team 25 54 Steve Chainel (Fra) Auber 93 24 55 David Derepas (Fra) Groupe Gobert.Com.Ct 23 56 Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spa) Povoa Cycling Club 21 57 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 20 58 Robert Glajza (Svk) CK P port A.S. Podbrezová 20 59 Magnus Darvell (Swe) Rietumu Bank-Riga 18 60 Alessandro Gambino (Ita) Gruppo Sportivo Esercito 16 61 Luká Kloucek (Cze) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 15 62 Oscar Vazquez Crespo (Spa) Aquagest Club Ciclista 15 63 Florian Le Corre (Fra) Super Sport 35 ACNC 13 64 Andre Sutton (Can) Hardcore Cycling Club 13 65 Jody Crawforth (GBr) Arctic Premier 10 66 Peter Presslauer (Aut) Volksbank - Corratec 10 67 Martin Haring (Svk) Ck p port Podbrezová 8 68 Gerald Hauer (Aut) 6 69 Adam Myerson (USA) Time Pro Cycling 5 70 Thomas Puhmer (Aut) Team Sport Nora 3 71 Stefano Boggia (Ita) GS Daccordi 2 72 Julien Laidoun (Fra) SCO Dijon 1