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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #2 - CDM

Tabor, Czech Republic, October 27, 2007

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Nys dominates in Tabor

By Brecht Decaluwé

Sven Nys (Rabobank)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Sven Nys (Rabobank) won the second round of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup Saturday in Tabor. The peloton travelled to Tabor, Czech Republic to race one hour on the World Championships course of 2010, challenging the second event in the UCI World Cup. Local hero and UCI-leader Zdenek Stybar – winner of the first World Cup event in Kalmthout – surprised the field when he bunny-hopped the 40cm plank barriers on a slightly uphill sector, but Nys took on the challenge. The Belgian forced his rival to the limit and one by one the riders dropped back, until with two laps to go Nys was on his own in front.

"I didn't know where it would happen; I just kept riding at full speed. I realized that I could break but then I wouldn't care. The speed went up for two laps and I noticed the others were at their limit," Nys commented on how he wore his opponents down. "The new sand sector made up for a more honest race. I could accelerate, and clearly everybody would be in the red."

Nys is unmistakably reigning again in the cyclo-cross world, and he couldn't help to badger some of his opponents in his comments after the race. "I've got the feeling some riders can't get sleep the night before the race, they're scared out of their pants, but it doesn't keep me awake really," Nys taunted.

With this win the Belgian captured a well-deserved fifth victory of the season and his second World Cup round win in Tabor. Behind him Klaas Vantornout got rid of Dutch champion Lars Boom in the last minute to claim second place. A best-ever result in a World Cup race for the Fidea rider after a third place in Igorre, Spain, last year.

"I'm going well for a while now but I felt I could do even better, finishing second is fantastic for me," Vantornout said. The Belgian felt first place was within his reach if Stybar would have left him some space. "Stybar lost all speed so I had to come from too far to catch Nys. Nevertheless, I tried but it was impossible. I feel we were worth each other today," he commented on how he lost the battle for victory.

Sven Nys (Rabobank)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Dutch champion Lars Boom was happy with his third place in his second cyclo-cross race of the season. "I had a great start today and despite a minor mistake I managed to stay near the front. Riding on this course was fun, especially after the awful course in Kalmthout last week," Boom expressed his unhappiness about last week's World Cup course." The young Dutchman also spotted a bunny-hopping Stybar today. "During the warming-up I already saw him trying. During the race I noticed he enjoyed an advantage, but afterwards I could always come back," Boom smiled and tried to turn down the excitement.

Fifty minutes into affairs Zdenek Stybar seemed to be glued to Nys' back wheel but then the hero of the day cracked and bowed for the best cyclo-cross rider of the world. The young Czech eventually finished fifth behind team-mate and Belgian champion Bart Wellens. Nevertheless Stybar was enthusiastically applauded by the local fans who appreciated his dogged racing style.

Another man who applauded the young Czech was Sven Nys who was surprised to see him bunny-hopping the plank barriers today. "I wondered how he managed to be back on the bike that fast, but later I learned he must've hopped as well. It's great spectacle for the kids who're watching this race on TV, they will have enjoyed this race," Nys welcomed another top rider with great technical abilities.

With his win Nys certainly overtakes Stybar in the UCI-rankings, and that means he will wear the new dark blue UCI-leader's jersey when the new rankings are published by the UCI.

Behind the five protagonists there was a fierce battle for sixth place and that turned out to be the pray of French champion Francis Mourey who jumped ahead of Petr Dlask, Christian Heule, Steve Chainel and Radomir Simunek at the finish. World Champion Erwin Vervecken continued his string of poor results in the important races, the Belgian finished 11th in Tabor. Italian champion Enrico Franzoi never overcame a disastrous start and finished 18th. Vice World Champion Jonathan Page crashed at the end of the first lap and was never in the picture, eventually he finished 23rd at 2'14" from Nys. Another US-participant was Jonathan Baker, he avoided getting lapped on the tough course and finished as 41st at 5'48" from winner Sven Nys.

How it unfolded

Fifty four riders lined up at the start in Tabor, the home town of the famous Budvar beer breweries. The greasy course predicted a slower pace than the 2006 race when local boys Kamil Ausbuher (2004) and Radomir Simunek won the World Cup event.

The first row looked more familiar than last week when some lesser known riders were allowed to start in front. Cyclingnews spotted the blue shirt from UCI-leader Zdenek Stybar as well as Nys, Mourey, Heule, Wellens, Page and Sven Vanthourenhout on the front row.

Fidea riders Stybar and Wellens had the best start and were the first to dive away from the asphalted road into the slippery grassland. They were followed by Zdenek Mlynar, Lars Boom, Christian Heule, Sven Vanthourenhout, Klaas Vantornout, Petr Dlask and Sven Nys. Italian champion Enrico Franzoi had a terrible start, riding in 40th position there were only five riders behind him.

Local hero Zdenek Mlynar blew up his engine early and couldn't follow the tempo set by Belgian champion Wellens. With the Czech dropping back, three men built a gap up front: Wellens, Boom and Stybar. By the end of the first lap the three had five seconds on seven men until Nys and Klaas Vantornout brought everybody back.

A group of fifteen men led by Stybar rode towards the first real obstacle where the excitement started when 21 year-old Stybar bunny-hopped over the plank barriers; a move copied by Sven Nys who was further back in the group while the others ran over the obstacle. The move from Stybar was great to see since only Sven Nys occasionally does the bunny-hop over the plank barriers, but no other top riders were ever spotted pulling off the trick. Since the obstacles were placed on an uphill section of the course, Stybar gained on his rivals who ran the barriers instead. After a sand sector, four men joined Stybar in the lead: Nys, Boom, Wellens and Klaas Vantornout. Stybar dropped the tempo and eight others came bac to the lead group.

Just before the second lap was over, Nys jumped while team-mate Boom, sitting second wheel, brake-checked the grup behind him. It was clear the Belgian wanted to make the race as hard as possible.

Nys and Stybar rode, in front of the group, jumped the barriers in synch on the third lap leveraging what was clearly an advantage. Boom, Wellens and Klaas Vantornout were forced to dig deep to stay in the race. By the end of the extremely fast lap (7'04") the duo in front had a small gap on three chasers while a big group led by Chainel followed at 22".

Nys and Stybar held a cease-fire and they were caught once again by Boom, Wellens and Klaas Vantornout. At the the barriers the next time through, no-one bunny-hopped but after the sand sector Nys launched an attack which blew Wellens away. Meanwhile Czech riders Dlask and Simunek led the chase in the big group behind the leaders.

Wellens eventually returned and immediately took over the initiative from Nys who bunny-hopped at the barriers to recuperate rather than attack, meanwhile Stybar stepped off the bike. During this slow lap (7'27") Wellens led the group but the Belgian champion was spotted checking his heart rate, not a good sign. The chasing group with Chainel, Simunek and Aernouts came back to 15" but closing the gap seemed impossible.

With four laps to go the speed raised again when Stybar launched an bunny-hopping attack on the plank barriers, Nys swiftly followed the young Czech while Klaas Vantornout and Boom needed more time; Bart Wellens cracked once again.

After the sand sector Nys took over from Stybar on the uphill road and only a dogged Stybar and Klaas Vantornout were able to follow in the fastest lap of the race (7'01"). Nys didn't drop the tempo and he led the two Fidea riders over the soggy field with Stybar glued in his wheel. Nys and Stybar bunny-hopped over the plank barriers again, but Klaas Vantornout returned very quickly. Boom and Wellens were chasing at 12" and clearly everybody was riding near their limits. Apparently Stybar was into the red because after another quick acceleration from Nys on the uphill road past the sand sector he almost cracked, while Klaas Vantornout looked more comfortable. Soon after that Nys managed to sneak away on an unexpected sector before the stairs. Stybar tried but bowed his head for the strong Rabobank rider; Klaas Vantornout took over from Stybar but couldn't close the gap of 5" on his own. Boom and Wellens were chasing at 23" while the bigger chasing group was 46" down on Nys.

Nys kept expanding his lead while Klaas Vantornout managed to secure second place. Stybar was caught by Boom but he couldn't keep the Dutchman's wheel. The Czech received another mental blow when he was caught by team-mate Wellens as well.

Nys hit the last lap with a lead of 16" on Klaas Vantornout, 21" on Boom while Wellens and Stybar were 34" down. The leader seemed to ride relaxed although he kept the tempo high, Nys jumped over the plank barriers a last time although it was far from necessary to take the risk. Boom hooked up with Klaas Vantornout to battle for second. Vantornout managed to drop the Dutchman before the stairs earning his best ever World Cup result after a third place in Igorre, Spain last year. Although beaten for second place, Boom seemed happy with third place as he crossed the finish line with a clenched fist. Wellens easily held off Stybar for fourth place while Mourey won the long sprint for sixth place.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Tomas Bicik


1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank                           1.05.22
2 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team            0.13
3 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank                             0.18
4 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team                0.33
5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team               0.41
6 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française Des Jeux              0.46
7 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team                  0.50
8 Christian Heule (Swi)                                0.52
9 Steve Chainel (Fra) Auber 93                         0.54
10 Radomir Simunek (Cze) Palmans Collstrop             0.58
11 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team            1.00
12 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank                        1.08
13 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team              1.19
14 Simon Zahner (Swi)                                  1.23
15 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job            1.38
16 Zdenek Mlynar (Cze)                                 1.44
17 Richard Groenendaal (Ned)                           1.53
18 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                1.58
19 Wilant Van Gils (Ned)                               2.05
20 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank                      2.08
21 Thijs Al (Ned)                                      2.10
22 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)                         2.13
23 Jonathan Page (USA) Sunweb Pro Job                  2.14
24 Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)                              2.18
25 Marco Bianco (Ita)                                  2.33
26 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner    2.48
27 Vaclav Metlicka (Svk)                               2.52
28 Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)                        2.58
29 Lukas Kloucek (Cze)                                 3.06
30 Johannes Sickmueller (Ger)                          3.15
31 Maarten Nijland (Ned)                               3.18
32 Mariusz Gil (Pol)                                   3.22
33 Milan Barenyi (Svk)                                 3.25
34 Nicolas Bazin (Fra)                                 3.28
35 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job                3.33
36 Malte Urban (Ger) Heinz Von Heiden Focus            4.10
37 René Birkenfeld (Ger)                               4.46
38 Robert Glajza (Svk)                                 5.00
39 Pirmin Lang (Swi)                                   5.11
40 Jan Chrobak (Cze)                                   5.42
41 Jonathan Baker (USA)                                5.48
42 Rafael Visinelli (Ita)                              5.57
43 David Seco Amundarain (Spa)                         6.08
44 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned)                              6.34
45 Robert Gavenda (Svk)                                7.25
46 Jan Ramsauer (Swi)                                  7.39
47 Alessandro Fontana (Ita)                            + 1 Lap
48 Giancarlo Saiu (Ita)                                    
49 Martin Haring (Svk)                                     
50 Stefan Gajdosik (Svk) Dukla Trencin Merida              
51 Roland Mörx (Aut)                                       
52 Edmil Albertone (Ita)                                   
DNF Marian Simora (Svk)                                    
DNF Kamil Ausbuher (Cze)                                   
DNS Peter Presslauer (Aut)