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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #1 - CDM
Kalmthout, Belgium, October 19, 2008
Race 1 - October 19: Elite Men, 60 minutes
Strong Albert narrowly beaten by Nys in sprint
By Brecht Decaluwé in Kalmthout
Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) won the cyclo-cross World Cup opener in Kalmthout, Belgium. The Belgian champion held off compatriot Niels Albert (Palman Cras) in a final two-man sprint. Local rider Kevin Pauwels (Fidea Cycling Team) beat Radomir Simunek (Palman Cras) and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) in the sprint for third place eight seconds behind the winner.
World champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) had a badly timed mechanical, but the Dutchman redirected his efforts toward damage control, and he sprinted to tenth place. Bothered by a minor illness, American Jonathan Page (Sunweb Pro Job) abandoned the race after seven of eleven laps.
Boom pushed to front immediately ahead of the other 55 starters in Kalmthout where riders enjoyed sunny weather and a dry, thus fast course. The Dutchman led the bunch through the first corners, never noticing a crash halfway back in the pack. Page was taken down by a French rider and lost significant positions in the peloton.
Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) took over the command from Boom halfway through the first lap. Thijs Al, Richard Groenendaal, Sven Nys, Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb Pro Job) followed him while Francis Mourey and Zdenek Stybar (both of Française Des Jeux) found themselves sitting quite far back in the bunch.
Al must have been feeling good as he was pulling up front with Wellens obviously suffering on his wheel. The duo created a small gap, but then Nys stormed forward. The Belgian champion was followed only by Al, but the latter lost contact during a technical section in the forest. Nys quickly gathered a couple of seconds on his rivals but a tyre problem stopped him from continuing his impressive effort and leaving them all for good.
Boom led the main group of about 15 riders over the first part of the course during lap three, but behind him, Albert was determined to fight his way to the front of the race. Albert used shoulders and elbows to get past Wellens and into second position, and Boom was passed soon after. Once in front, Albert found the space to unleash his inner demons, and the 22 year-old Belgian quickly gapped Boom.
"Together with Nys I was the strongest man in the race," Albert said and when asked if he didn't mind that Nys didn't start pulling in front, he replied. "I knew he was on his limit because I was riding against my limit as well. Maybe I could've ridden more tactically and allowed him to take the lead, but then maybe the others could have caught back to us, and winning that sprint is far more difficult."
The two-man sprint that followed was a close call, but Albert wasn't help by his superhuman efforts at the front for most of the race. He led out the short headwind sprint, and a cagey Nys waited just long enough to overtake his younger compatriot on the line to grab the first World Cup race of the season.
"Albert lacks a bit experience but by continuing his efforts, he was sure of a podium spot," said Nys. "Of course Niels deserved the victory as well, but I was a little bit faster. I had the confidence to ride a good sprint and that certainly helped."
When asked about the eye problem Nys faced after a crash in the 'cross race on Saturday in Lebbeke, the Belgian champion replied, "My eye? Today I was mainly confronted with pain in my legs," he said.
Behind the Albert-Nys duo were three riders who were always in touch with the leaders but thanks to Albert's efforts, they never had a chance of regaining the leaders. Local hero Pauwels eventually won the sprint of this group at only eight seconds behind winner Nys.
"It's great to be on the podium in front of your home crowd," Pauwels said. "We almost closed the gap with the leaders, but then Albert increased the speed again. From then on, I focused on third place," the 24 year-old Belgian said.
Another Belgian in the first chase group was Bart. He told Cyclingnews that the two riders in front were fractionally stronger. "On a fast course like this, nothing can go wrong in order to stay in front. Just when we were about to bridge up with them [Nys and Albert], Pauwels got stuck. I was riding at my limit and couldn't close the gap myself. My basic speed is ok, but I'm missing that little extra to take the lead myself," the fifth-placed Aernouts explained.
Next week the UCI World Cup will head to the Czech Republic where cyclo-cross riders will battle in Tabor, home turf for riders like Zdenek Stybar and Radomir Simunek.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Isosport/www.isosport.be
Images by Brecht Decaluwé
1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner 1.04.23 2 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans Cras 3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.08 4 Radomir Simunek (Cze) Palmans Cras 5 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 0.10 6 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 0.23 7 Thijs Al (Ned) 8 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 0.24 9 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.37 10 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 1.11 11 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française Des Jeux 12 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.12 13 Simon Zahner (Swi) 14 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 15 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 1.14 16 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans Cras 1.16 17 Martin Bina (Cze) 1.29 18 Martin Zlamalik (Cze) 1.52 19 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) 2.08 20 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner 2.13 21 Mariusz Gil (Pol) 22 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Differdange Apiflo Vacances 2.18 23 Geoffrey Clochez (Fra) 2.23 24 Johannes Sickmueller (Ger) 2.25 25 Jonathan Lopez (Fra) 2.27 26 Aurelien Duval (Fra) Française Des Jeux 2.29 27 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) 2.31 28 Milan Barenyi (Svk) 2.35 29 Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) 2.38 30 Christian Heule (Swi) 2.41 31 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) 2.56 32 Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) 2.58 33 Rafael Visinelli (Ita) 3.00 34 Gusty Bausch (Lux) 3.02 35 Pirmin Lang (Swi) 3.03 36 Lukas Kloucek (Cze) Sunweb Pro Job 3.07 37 Ian Field (GBr) 38 Florian Le Corre (Fra) 39 Oscar Vazquez Crespo (Spa) 3.11 40 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet Ebh Elshof 3.16 41 Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) 3.24 42 Fabio Ursi (Ita) 3.28 43 David Derepas (Fra) Groupe Gobert.com.ct 3.31 44 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) 3.41 45 Robert Glajza (Svk) 4.42 46 René Birkenfeld (Ger) 4.51 47 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) 5.01 48 Joachim Parbo (Den) 5.50 49 Stefano Boggia (Ita) 6.21 Behind two laps 50 Julien Laidoun (Fra) Behind four laps 51 Adam Myerson (USA) Time Pro Cycling DNF Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team DNF Jonathan Page (USA) Sunweb Pro Job DNF Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze) DNF Michael Müller (Swi) Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei DNF Marco Bianco (Ita)
1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner 80 pts 2 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans Cras 70 3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 65 4 Radomir Simunek (Cze) Palmans Cras 60 5 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 55 6 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 50 7 Thijs Al (Ned) 48 8 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 46 9 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 44 10 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 42 11 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française Des Jeux 40 12 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 39 13 Simon Zahner (Swi) 38 14 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 37 15 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 36 16 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans Cras 35 17 Martin Bina (Cze) 34 18 Martin Zlamalik (Cze) 33 19 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) 32 20 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner 31 21 Mariusz Gil (Pol) 30 22 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Differdange Apiflo Vacances 29 23 Geoffrey Clochez (Fra) 28 24 Johannes Sickmueller (Ger) 27 25 Jonathan Lopez (Fra) 26 26 Aurelien Duval (Fra) Française Des Jeux 25 27 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) 24 28 Milan Barenyi (Svk) 23 29 Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) 22 30 Christian Heule (Swi) 21 31 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) 20 32 Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) 19 33 Rafael Visinelli (Ita) 18 34 Gusty Bausch (Lux) 17 35 Pirmin Lang (Swi) 16 36 Lukas Kloucek (Cze) Sunweb Pro Job 15 37 Ian Field (GBr) 14 38 Florian Le Corre (Fra) 13 39 Oscar Vazquez Crespo (Spa) 12 40 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof 11 41 Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) 10 42 Fabio Ursi (Ita) 9 43 David Derepas (Fra) Groupe Gobert.Com.Ct 8 44 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) 7 45 Robert Glajza (Svk) 6 46 René Birkenfeld (Ger) 5 47 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) 4 48 Joachim Parbo (Den) 3 49 Stefano Boggia (Ita) 2 50 Julien Laidoun (Fra) 1