On a classic course with classic conditions, the Superprestige Gavere awarded riders with classic skills – the ability to handle slippery mud on steep, serpentine terrain; to transition on and off the bike frequently; and to shoulder a muddy bike and hoof it for long sections of course. It was, in truth, a day for Sven Nys (Landbuwkrediet) on a course that Sven Nys has won seven times. Today he made it eight, and continues to reign undefeated in the Superprestige series. The win did not come easily, however, as the long-limbed Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) found the degree of running at Gavere to his advantage, and consistently put Nys on the defense.
Sven Nys and Klaas Vantornout fought to the end © Bart Hazen
A thrilling final lap saw the two riders unleash a flurry of attacks at each other, the most exciting of which came when Nys tried to attack on a thick, muddy incline that Vantornout chose to run. Vantornout, realizing that Nys’ was struggling to power through the section, sprinted up alongside the Belgian champion and, using his hand, physically pushed Nys off his line to squeeze between him and the crowd-strewn fencing. As they rounded the corner, they began the long climb up the backside of the course, and Nys again took the lead, putting everything into his ascent in a bid to distance himself from the Sunweb-Revor rider. For a moment, the move looked to stick as Vantornout lost ground. The lanky rider, however, found an extra gear and surged back up to Nys, passing him before the top. As both riders proved unable to shake the other, it became clear that the win would come down to a sprint.
Vantornout led out; Nys unleashed the turbo that has won him more than a few races and came around the Sunweb-Revor rider with enough time to raise his hands, as Vantornout banged his head in frustration at second place. Behind them, Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) – having caught and overtaken a struggling Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) – waved to the crowd in third place. Pauwels followed, then Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea), and a few seconds later, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus). Lars van der Haar (Rabobank) learned he still has some room to grow, coming in minutes down in tenth. American Jonathan Page had a strong ride, finishing 12th.
In the women’s field, Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) found the mud to her liking as she proved the best of the day, taking the win ahead of Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank) and Sanne Cant (BKCP-Enertherm). As the rain fell throughout the race, the women found little opportunity to hide as the long, grinding climb, treacherous muddy descents, and slippery corners quickly separated the contenders to race their own race against the course. Though Sanne van Paassen and Sanne Cant led the early race, Nikki Harris showed the most tenacity and confidence on the tricky course, powering up the climbs and working the descents to her advantage to cross the line solo. American Amy Dombroski (Telenet-Fidea) crossed the line in seventh, and Christine Vardaros in 14th.
“It was very motivating knowing there was a chance to win,” said Harris. “I enjoy riding here. The course has a bit of everything in it. There are a lot of different winners these days. Maybe that will change once Marianne Vos returns to competition next weekend. I need to get as much wins as I can before she returns!”
Bart Hazen Photo Gallery
U23 and Juniors:
2012 Superprestige Gavere Elite Men
|8||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||1:05:17|
|10||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||1:06:26|
|16||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED||1:08:47|
|18||Isaac SUAREZ FERNANDEZ||ESP||1:09:07|
|23||Jose Antonio DIEZ ARRIOLA||ESP|
2012 Superprestige Gavere Women
|2||Sanne VAN PAASSEN||NED||34:47:00|
|4||Sophie DE BOER||NED||35:14:00|
|5||Ellen VAN LOY||BEL||36:13:00|
|11||Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURG||DEN||38:37:00|
|13||Kim VAN DE STEENE||BEL||39:04:00|
|17||Lindy VAN ANROOIJ||NED||40:39:00|
|21||Femke VAN DEN DRIESSCHE||BEL||41:29:00|
|23||Lierni LEKUONA ETXEBESTE||ESP||42:13:00|