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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #7 - CDM
Igorre, Spain, December 3, 2006
Nys is nigh-unstoppable
By Laura Weislo
Sven Nys has won the sixth round of the cyclo-cross world cup, dominating the field in his typical fashion, nobody coming close to challenging him. This marks Nys' fourth world cup win of the season. Chasing behind Nys were Fidea's Bart Wellens and Frenchman Francis Mourey, winner of round four of the world cup. Wellens at one point closed to within metres of Nys, but the UCI leader pressed on, and lengthened his lead. Wellens was the only rider to hold Nys to within a minute, coming in 53 seconds in arrears, while his teammate Klaas Vantournout passed a fading Mourey on the last lap to take the third step of the podium.
Nys began the world cup series with a win in Aigle, then went on to a second victory in Kalmthout before suffering back-to-back defeat in Tabor and Treviso. Nys came back to the top on the muddy course of Pijnacker, and tackled the difficult sand dunes of Koksijde with ease just last week.
How it unfolded
The weather in the Basque country of Spain was cool, overcast and breezy, and the course quite a bit different than last week's world cup in Koksijde. There were no sand dunes, and no mud baths like those in Pijnacker, and so it appeared that Nys might be at a disadvantage without these obstacles. But a crash on the first lap held up many of the favorites. World champion Erwin Vervecken, who was coming off a bout of the flu from last week, was one of those held up by the mêlée, and had a difficult chase in his weakened state. The lead was taken by Klaas Vantornout, who avoided the wreckage and launched a brave attack.
But Vantornout's lead wouldn't last long, as Sven 'the cannibal' Nys caught the front group and then left the neo-pro in his dust. Bart Wellens (Fidea) found his way through the pack and charged past the chase group, taking Francis Mourey with him, but Nys' form was too good, and Wellens could not close down the gap. Behind, Vantornout found Rabobank's Sven Vanthourenhout, and, making a brilliant recovery, came past a struggling Mourey to claim his first world cup podium spot.
Nys told sporza.be that the choice of tyres was critical to his win today. "After the first lap, I switched over to ordinary tubulars. However, everyone else opted for thicker tyres, but I changed immediately. The others waited too long in my opinion." Wellens, who was held up in the first lap crash, found himself chasing from 15th place when Nys made his move. "This a hard course, and I wanted to ride calmly. Then I made a mistake, because I tried to go across too quickly to Nys. I was too excited, I think. I felt it immediately [saying] 'Wow, Bart, easy or you'll blow yourself up.' "
Klaas Vantornout has made a big leap onto the world cup podium, and showed his promise at last week's Superprestige race in Gieten by taking third to Nys and Gerben de Knegt. The result got him plenty of attention, possibly giving the 24 year old a bit of a disadvantage, "Because of the interest of the press this past week, I came to the start somewhat tired... But, I performed strongly. I'm enormously satisfied with my race."
The cyclo-cross world cup continues next weekend in Milan, Italy, and then comes back to Belgium for the post-Christmas round. Sven Nys looks to be utterly uncatchable, but can he hold his form all the way through to the world championships in Hooglede at the end of January? Nys feels confident of his condition, hinting at the possibility that he hasn't yet reached his peak. "I don't think I've ever ridden stronger, but I've already said that in the past."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Aitor Ruiz de Zarate
1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 1.05.32 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.54 3 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.08 4 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française Des Jeux 1.22 5 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.32 6 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 1.39 7 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 2.03 8 Christian Heule (Swi) Stevens Racing Team 9 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Rabobank 2.13 10 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor 2.24 11 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 2.52 12 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R 3.03 13 Simon Zahner (Swi) 3.19 14 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Stevens Racing Team 3.20 15 Thijs Al (Ned) B & E Cycling Team 3.38 16 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) 3.53 17 Zdenek Mlynár (Cze) 4.02 18 David Derepas (Fra) 4.06 19 David Willemsens (Bel) 4.08 20 Maarten Nijland (Ned) 4.35 21 Milan Barenyi (Svk) 5.22 22 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Palmans-Sapim-Collstrop 5.25 23 Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa) 5.31 24 Marco Bianco (Ita) 5.35 25 Robert Gavenda (Svk) 6.07 26 Robert Glajza (Svk) 6.13 27 Clément Lhotellerie (Fra) Credit Agricole 6.34 28 Václav Metlicka (Svk) 6.43 29 Jan Chrobák (Cze) 7.06 One lap down 30 Oscar Vazquez Crespo (Spa) 31 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl (Ned) 32 Unai Yus Kerejeta (Spa) 33 Antonio Ortiz Barranco (Spa) 34 José Antonio Diez Arriola (Spa) 35 Santiago Armero Sanchez (Spa) Selection Catalan 36 Radomir Simunek (Cze) 37 Camiel Van Den Bergh (Ned) Stevens Racing Team 38 Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa) 39 Mauro Gonzalez Fontan (Spa) DNF Steve Chainel (Fra) DNF Ronald Mutsaars (Ned) Junior Men