Sven Nys celebrates his eight overall win in the GVA trophy.

Sven Nys celebrates his eight overall win in the GVA trophy. ©Bart Hazen

In an exciting race today at Oostmalle, Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) – who entered the race only separated by two points – gave us the fireworks we were hoping for as the two GvA leaders traded blows back and forth for the whole of the race. But for those two it was mostly in-fighting, as it was a well-timed move by Niels Albert (BKCP – Powerplus) with four laps to go that would see the Belgian National Jersey take the final race of the season, well ahead of the rest of the riders.

Ultimately, the overall GvA title came down not to the sprint that seemed inevitable as Nys and Pauwels entered the final lap along with eight others, but to a poorly timed pit by Pauwels, whose front tire had gone flat. The mechanical cost him valuable positions and gapped him off the leaders. Nys, once seeing that Pauwels was no longer glued to his wheel, passed Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) and emptied everything that was left in his tank. Only Stybar and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) were able to hang onto him. The clearly excited Nys, once sure that he had the overall title secured, allowed Stybar and Aernouts to contest the sprint and crossed the line with his hands raised.

“I was so focused that I had no idea that I was driving a flat,” Pauwels told Sporza.be. “Once I realized that I had punctured, I knew it was over. I did not have good luck today.”

Stybar took the sprint, and with Pauwels finishing far down, in ninth place, also claimed second overall in the the GvA series, with 163 points to Pauwels’ 160. Albert’s effort today also put him into the standings, with the Belgium champion now claiming fourth overall.

“I told my team this week I wanted to win here in Oostmalle,” said Albert. “Yesterday I started the Valkenberg, but I said to my manager after two laps, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ So for me today was like a championship and I wanted to win here, and I really did everything for it. Maybe even more than for the world championship. So I’m really happy.”

“For me it was like a victory like a national championship,” the Belgian champ continued. “My career really started here in 2005-2006. And in a couple of years riding here with the pros I won three times. So for me it was a nice victory and the beginning of some nice preparation for next winter. I saw Gerben De Knegt go on the attack on the road, so I went into second position and rode about half a lap in second behind Gerben. Then, just after the sand, I went to the front and I had six, seven, then ten seconds, and then could just keep on going for the victory.”

“It might be the first time this season that I’m as happy as I am today,” Nys told Cyclocross Magazine after the race. “It was really almost impossible to win this race because a whole team was racing against me. It was a tactical race and you could see that everybody was trying to help Pauwels win the GVA Trofee. So when you can do a race like this, always stay in the front when you must be in the front, cover the accelerations, and take the two points in the second lap – it’s really nervous, but I’m really happy with this victory (in the series).”

“It was really hard, especially for the mind,” he said. “On the last lap I thought, ‘Now I must do a full lap at a high speed,’ and the only guy who was in front of me was Stybar, and that was a little bit of a problem, because he was slowing down to see where Kevin was. That’s dangerous, so I used my elbow a bit to pass him, and that was the moment where I won the GVA. I’m really satisfied with the season and especially with this victory.”

“This was the best moment of the season,” Nys continued. “It’s special because it was the hardest race of the season for me mentally. Of course (there were other highlights): winning on the Koppenberg and Asper-Gavere, in my home in Baal, second at the world championships, and overall UCI ranking I’m first. I’m 34 and I’m not too old to win a lot of races, I have the most wins this season. So this was a special year, and of course when you win two overall rankings, you have to be happy. Now, I take a rest for three weeks; I’m going to the Maldives and we’re going to ski for five or six days in Austria, and then I’m going to prepare myself for mountain biking, qualify for the Olympics, and try to have a good cyclocross season again.”

“It was good,” said Jonathan Page, who finished 11th place. “It wasn’t great, but it was good. I had a fantastic start, but then I ended up going a little slower than (the leaders) did. I didn’t really blow up, I just took a couple of bad lines and made some little mistakes. And I couldn’t close the gap to the leaders — that would have been nice.”

“I was catching them in the woods, but I just wasn’t there,” he continued. “It’s my fault, I just had a couple of bobbles, nothing serious. But I can’t afford to bobble too many times. I’m glad (it’s the end of the season). I had a hell of a season, not a great one. I had some highlights, but I also had some real lowlights too. But I’m happy to be finished.”

The women’s elite race came down to a hard fought sprint between Sanne Cant (BKCP – Powerplus) and Daphny van Den Brand (Zzpr.nl),  with van Den Brand coming out on top. The two women had spent most of the day with Helen Wyman (Kona) and Hanka Kupfernagel (Stevens), who followed a few seconds behind in third and fourth, respectively. “It wasn’t just the finish that was hard,” said van Den Brand, “but the other laps were also hard for me – on the first lap I was sitting in second, which was good, but the other laps I was in fourth or fifth and behind the other three. So I was riding the whole lap at my limit.”

“For a while I thought it was over today and maybe I could finish fourth or fifth,” she continued. “But then on the last two laps the gap was closing and I got back to the other girls. Then I thought, ‘ok, I have to be first or second through the sand,’ and I was second. Then in the big sand it was me and Sanne and I got a little gap and thought maybe it’s my day today. But Sanne came back and we had to sprint. It was a hard win. My legs were exploding but I was a little bit better than Sanne in the sprint so I’m very happy.”

“It was very hard,” said Cant. ”I suffered a lot when Hanka attacked. When it came down to a sprint I had to dig deep. I’m very happy.” Cant’s effort today was more than enough to secure her the overall GvA title, followed by van den Brand in second and Wyman in third.

“This year sandy races haven’t been so good for me,” said Helen Wyman, who came in third, five seconds off the leaders. “For some reason I haven’t cracked them. But today my motivation was purely for the GVA standings. The difference between second and third, for me, is like a month’s rent. So I tried to ride as tactical a race as possible. All I had to do was beat Daphny. But she beat me. Fair and square she beat me. I did everything I could. I was there and I know I was there, but I just wasn’t there at the end. I’ve had six wins this year, two in Belgium and one in Holland, which means a lot. So it’s seriously disappointing, but at the end of the day, I did everything I could.”

In the U23 race, Lars van der Haar repeated his performance from yesterday, taking the win ahead of Jim Aernouts.

Elite Men Photos:

Elite Women Photos:

U23 Photos:

Elite Men Results:

Pos Name Nat Points
1Niels Albert (Bkcp – Powerplus)BEL25.00
2Zdenek Stybar (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)CZE22.00
3Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant Offroad Team)BEL19.00
4Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet)BEL17.00
5Bart Wellens (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)BEL16.00
6Rob Peeters (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)BEL15.00
7Gerben De Knegt (Avb – Cycling Team)NED14.00
8Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb – Revor)BEL13.00
9Kevin Pauwels (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)BEL12.00
10Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)BEL11.00
11Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)USA10.00
12Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bkcp – Powerplus)BEL9.00
13Kenneth Van Compernolle (Style & Concept Cycling Team)BEL8.00
14Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb – Revor)BEL7.00
15Eddy Van Yzendoorn (Baboco – Revor Cycling Team)NED6.00
16Thijs Van Amerongen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)NED5.00
17Marco Bianco (Sdc-Rogelli Cycling Team)ITA4.00
18Thijs Al (AA Drink)NED3.00
19Francis Mourey (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)FRA2.00
20Enrico Franzoi (Bkcp – Powerplus)ITA1.00
21Martin Zlamalik (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)CZE0.00
22Mariusz Gil (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)POL0.00
23Ben Berden (Champion System)BEL0.00
24Christian Heule (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)SWI0.00
25Kevin Cant (Landbouwkrediet)BEL0.00
26Ian Field (Stevens Racing Team)GBR0.00
27Philipp Walsleben (Flemish Cycling Projects)GER0.00
28Bart Verschueren (Bkcp – Powerplus)BEL0.00
29Patrick Van Leeuwen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)NED0.00
30Mitchell Huenders (Sunweb – Revor)NED0.00
31Petr Dlask (Van Goethem – Prorace)CZE0.00
32Patrick Gaudy (Bkcp – Powerplus)BEL0.00
33Robert Gavenda (Landbouwkrediet)SVK0.00
34Mike Thielemans (Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team)BEL0.00
35Tim Van Nuffel (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)BEL0.00
36Stijn Huys (Bkcp – Powerplus)BEL0.00
37Bart HofmanBEL0.00
38Joachim Parbo (Bkcp – Powerplus)DEN0.00
39Jan Verstraeten (Kdl Cycling Team)BEL0.00
40Gianni Denolf (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)BEL0.00

Women Elite Results:

Pos Name Nat Result Points
1Daphny Van Den Brand (Zzpr.nl)NED38’30″25.00
2Sanne Cant (Bkcp – Powerplus)BEL22.00
3Helen Wyman (Kona)GBR0:0519.00
4Hanka Kupfernagel (Stevens)GER17.00
5Sanne Van Paassen (Brainwash)NED0:1616.00
6Pavla Havlikova (Bkcp – Powerplus)CZE1:1715.00
7Nikki Harris (Apb Cycling Team)GBR1:3014.00
8Arenda Grimberg (Team Champion System-Lbs)NED13.00
9Joyce Vanderbeken (Style & Concept Cycling Team)BEL1:4112.00
10Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Zzpr.nl)NED2:0311.00
11Nicole De Bie-Leyten (Zzpr.nl)BEL10.00
12Nancy Bober (Baboco – Revor Cycling Team)BEL9.00
13Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Stevens Racing)NED8.00
14Ellen Van Loy (Bob’s Red Mill p)NED7.00
15Karen Verhestraeten (Fischer-BMC)BEL6.00
16Lana VerberneNED5.00
17Gertie WillemsBEL4.00
18Anja Geldhof (WV Eemland)BEL3.00
19Hilde Quintens (Benelux Team)BEL2.00
20Katrien ThijsBEL1.00
21Katrien AertsBEL0.00
22Christine Vardaros (Merida Cycling)USA0.00
23Nele Van MaldeghemBEL0.00
24Laura LepasaluEST0.00
25Caren CommissarisBEL0.00
26Madara FurmaneLAT0.00
27Greete SteinburgEST0.00
28Sirje LepikEST0.00
29Marijke De PauwBEL0.00
30Valerie BoonenBEL0.00
31Sharon DefoorBEL0.00
32Maaike LanssensBEL0.00
33Caitlyn La HayeBEL0.00

U23 Results:

Pos Name Nat Points
1Lars Van Der HaarNED25.00
2Jim AernoutsBEL22.00
3Tijmen EisingNED19.00
4Gianni VermeerschBEL17.00
5Micki Van EmpelNED16.00
6Joeri Adams (Rabo – Giant Offroad Team.)BEL15.00
7Wietse BosmansBEL14.00
8David Van Der PoelNED13.00
9Jens AdamsBEL12.00
10Stef BodenBEL11.00
11Twan Van Den Brand (Zzpr.nl)NED10.00
12Corné Van KesselNED9.00
13Marcel MeisenGER8.00
14Vinnie BraetBEL7.00
15Matthieu BouloFRA6.00