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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

 UCI codes explained

Grote Prijs de Eecloonaar - C2

Eeklo, Belgium, February 11, 2006

2005 Results    Results     Past winners

Nys counts better than Wellens

By Brecht Decaluwé

Sven Nys
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

In an entertaining race with some quality riders, Belgian champion Sven Nys (Rabobank) took yet another win in Eeklo, Belgium, Saturday. Despite the event's relatively lowly ranking - C2 - the organizers looked to be very happy with the attractive field of riders, the sunny weather and the big crowd.

The cannibal of cyclocross took his 25th win of the season. "I'm very happy with this win because I'm equaling my number of wins in the 2004-2005 season," said Nys. "My ambition is to win one more this season. Wellens was hesitating over the number of laps, so I was able to ride to him in a big acceleration. My technical skill on the barricades made the difference in the last lap. The track in Eeklo is very nice, because it has some tough parts. Ideal for me, so I grab my third win over here."

Niels Albert was happy to finish second. "Nys took a small advantage on the barricades," he said. "It was too much to close down for me. In a sprint with Nys, I would not have had a chance."

Bart Wellens made himself look a bit silly in the penultimate lap as he raised his hands thinking he had won the race. Luckily for him, he could laugh about the incident afterwards. "I thought race officials had forgotten to ring the bell for the last lap," said Wellens. "I gave my everything in a lap that proved not to be the last one. Because of that mistake, I couldn't hang on to battle for the win anymore."

How it unfolded

Bart Wellens
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Bart Wellens got a good start and decided to set the pace. Most of the top riders were able to stay with the Fidea rider, though the Dutch champion De Knegt (Rabobank) failed to stay with the lead group. As the race got tougher a disctinct lead group began to form. Wellens, Sven Nys, Zdenek Stybar (Fidea), youngster Niels Albert (Palmans) and Sven Vanthourenhout (Rabobank) had an advantage of 10 seconds on De Knegt and Radomir Simunek (Palmans).

In the sixth lap, Wellens kept accelerating, putting the race in a deciding phase. With Albert and Wellens attacking continually, it looked like the others didn't have a chance to win. Sven Nys always needed to close down gaps, but he did that in an impressive way. De Knegt and Stybar were losing contact and looked out of contest.

In the eighth lap, the leading four were looking to each other, allowing the pursuers to come back as they all crossed the finish line.

Man of the race Bart Wellens thought it was time to put in a decisive attack. Immediately, he got an impressive gap of 15 seconds. This looked to be enough to win the race as teammate Zdenek Stybar blocked the pursuit. Race officials hadn't yet rung the bell so there was another lap to ride. Wellens didn't realize this and with one lap to go, he crossed the finish-line with his hands in the air.

The podium
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Before the Fidea rider realized there was another lap to go, Sven Nys regained contact. In a very tense last lap, Nys jumped over the barricades riding his bike where the others had to run. This technical masterpiece allowed him to get a gap on Niels Albert. The Belgian champion finished solo before Niels Albert and Bart Wellens.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Brecht Decaluwé


Elite Men

1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 
2 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Sapim-Collstrop 
3 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 
4 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Rabobank 
5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 
6 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 
7 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) Rabobank 
8 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 
9 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Palmans-Sapim-Collstrop 
10 Jan Soetens (Bel)
11 Jonathan Page (USA) Cervélo 
12 Peter Van Santvliet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 
13 Radomir Simunek (Cze)
14 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 
15 Mike Thielemans (Bel)
16 Nico Clarysse (Bel) Saey Deschacht 
17 Marius Gil (Pol) Strzelce Krajenskie 
18 Stijn Penne (Bel)
19 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux)
20 Geert Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 
21 Davy De Scheemaeker (Bel)
22 Gianni Denolf (Bel)
23 Kristof Boelens (Bel)
24 Brian Kumbiria Zengeni (Zim)
25 Koen Boelens (Bel)
26 Prince Ngundu (Zim)
27 Tony Heirbaut (Bel)
28 Brighton Kasecha (Zim)
29 Jackson Vijarona (Zim)
30 Nqobizitha Tshabalala (Zim)


1 Tom Meeusen (Bel)
2 Dennis Vanendert (Bel)
3 Jim Aernouts (Bel)
4 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel)
5 Dries Govaerts (Bel)
6 Mitchell Huenders (Ned)
7 Nivard Vanacker (Bel)
8 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel)
9 Laurens De Vreese (Bel)
10 Kevin Cant (Bel)


1 Stef Boden (Bel)

Masters C & D 

1 Franky Van Tongelen (Bel)
2 Dirk Gebruers (Bel)
3 Ronald De Scheemaeker (Bel)
4 Patrick Sluyts (Bel)
5 Rudy Bloemmen (Bel)
6 Michel Willems (Bel)
7 Herman Cop (Bel)
8 José De Clercq (Bel)
9 Etienne Van De Velde (Bel)
10 Luc Huysveld (Bel)
11 Ivan Coopman (Bel)
12 Luc De Poorter (Bel)
13 Luc Ruys (Bel)
14 Marc Byn (Bel)
15 Patrick Wagemans (Bel)
16 André Clemmen (Bel)
17 Rudy Van Wezemael (Bel)
18 Carlos Temmerman (Bel)
19 Wilfried Buysse (Bel)
20 Johan De Smet (Bel)
21 Roland Hurtecant (Bel)

Masters A 

1 Sven Raeymakers (Bel)
2 Axel Naessens (Bel)
3 Andy Van Der Plaetse (Bel)
4 Wim Coppens (Bel)
5 Kurt De Backer (Bel)
6 Nico Bogaert (Bel)
7 Nico Van Assche (Bel)
8 Gijs Jongeling (Ned)
9 Jeroen Van Raak (Bel)
10 Jos Van Looy (Bel)
11 Kenny Van Campenhout (Bel)
12 Arnold Schoon (Ned)
13 Steven Geurs (Bel)
14 Dennis Laurez (Bel)
15 Nico Maes (Bel)
16 Frankie Dhooge (Bel)
17 Carlo Allaert (Bel)
18 Robin Verschraeghen (Bel)
19 Wim De Smet (Bel)
20 Jurgen Himschoot (Bel)

Masters B 

1 Mario Lammens (Bel)
2 Frans Ceulemans (Bel)
3 Benny Van Staeyen (Bel)
4 Eric Gys (Bel)
5 Peter Ballet (Bel)
6 Dirk Dekeerle (Bel)
7 Ludwig Gladines (Bel)
8 Kurt Cnudde (Bel)
9 Jan De Craene (Bel)
10 Pascal Dysserinck (Bel)
11 Danny Brandt (Bel)
12 Thierry Laurez (Bel)

Courtesy of cyclo-cross.info

Past Winners

2005 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Rabobank   
2004 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank
2003 Bart Wellens (Bel) Spaar Select 2002 Mario De Clercq (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans 2001 Bart Wellens (Bel) 2000 Mario de Clercq (Bel)