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World Cyclocross Championships

Tabor, Czech Republic, February 3-4, 2001

Elite Championships, February 4, 2001

Vervecken finally does it

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Erwin Vervecken
Photo: © AFP

After two second places in World Championships and four second places in National Championships, Belgium's Erwin Vervecken finally won himself a rainbow jersey. Muddied but triumphant, Vervecken outsprinted Petr Dlask (Cze) who came so close to winning for the home country. In third and fourth were Belgians Mario de Clercq and Sven Nijs, while Jiri Pospisil (Cze) took fifth spot.

The big question was 'Where was Groenendaal?'. The Dutchman has been virtually unstoppable all summer, winning both the Superprestige and World Cup classifications, and holding down the number one UCI ranking all season. However, Groenendaal had a hard fall half way through the race, and could not recover, eventually finishing 24th. An unlucky end to such a good season.

Vervecken on the other hand was jubilant - he finished second behind Mario de Clercq in Poprad two years ago, overtaken in the final metres. Today he did the same to Czech Petr Dlask, who was leading the race with 500 m to go.

Dlask was the only one who could have spoiled the Belgian party, spurred on by the crowd and looking very dangerous throughout the race. However in a twist of fate, it was de Clercq who got in the way of Dlask on one of the corners on the final lap, allowing teammate Vervecken to get past. The Belgian team made sure that there was no repeat of last year's performance, when Sven Nijs helped his trade teammate Groenendaal to win. To avoid this, the Belgian riders had reached a financial agreement a few days prior to the race, and that included Nijs.

"In my country, they called me 'almost the champion'," said Vervecken afterwards. "I finished second twice in the World Championships, but also four times second in the National Championships, often because of bad luck."

The only misfortune suffered by the Belgians was when Bart Wellens was taken to hospital, suffering from the beginnings of hypothermia. However, he was not in a serious condition.


1 Erwin Vervecken (Bel)              1.01.54
2 Petr Dlask (Cze)                      0.01
3 Mario De Clercq (Bel)                 0.14
4 Sven Nijs (Bel)                       1.07
5 Jiri Pospisil (Cze)                   1.11
6 Henrik Djernis (Den)                  1.29
7 Gerben De Knegt (Ned)                 1.41
8 Camiel Van Den Bergh (Ned)            1.49
9 Tom Vannoppen (Bel)                   2.25
10 Vaclav Jezek (Cze)                   2.36
11 Maarten Nijland (Ned)                2.40
12 David Pagnier (Fra)                  3.05
13 Marc Gullikson (USA)                 3.09
14 Wim De Vos (Ned)                     3.14
15 Radomir Simunek (Cze)                3.18
16 Matthew Ellis (Gbr)                  3.28
17 Gretenius Gommers (Ned)              3.39
18 Tobias Nestle (Ger)                  3.42
19 Ondrej Lukes (Cze)                   3.45
20 Robert Glajza (Svk)                  3.45
21 David Derepas (Fra)                  3.48
22 Valeriano Vandelli (Ita)             3.58
23 Jens Reuker (Ger)                    3.58
24 Richard Groenendaal (Ned)            4.01
25 Tadeusz Korzeniewski (Pol)           4.19
26 Christian Wasmer (Ger)               4.27
27 Jan Ramsauer (Swi)                   4.33
28 Arnaud Labbe (Fra)                   4.44
29 Dale Knapp (USA)                     5.04
30 Igor Tavella (Ita)                   5.17
31 Radoslaw Czapla (Pol)                5.23
32 Pascal Triebel (Lux)                 5.25