by Bart Hazen

Niels Albert (BKCP-PowerPlus) continued his undefeated season with a dominant performance at the the 2009-2010 Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee race in French-speaking Belgium at the Citadelle de Namur. And while the World Champ didn’t particularly love the course, he won on it anyway. Albert won for the fifth time in a row this season, and enjoyed a 42 second gap to a resurgent Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago).

Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) had a strong ride, finishing 13th, after flying in the night before. Zdenek Štybar (Fidea) finished in third, two minutes back to complete a podium that featured the same three riders from the 2009 Worlds in Hoogerheide.

Page said the hill was very difficult, but was satisfied with his ride considering the circumstances. The slippery conditions and hilly course made for very technical riding causing even the best riders to crash:

Elite Men: How the Drama Unfolded

On the very tough course, according to insiders perhaps the toughest of all, Zdenek Stybar took the hole shot followed by Gerben de Knegt and Klaas Vantornout. In the first lap on the muddy, slippery and technical course Kevin Pauwels and Radomir Simunek crashed. In the meantime Stybar created a gap of ten seconds on Vantornout, Albert, De Knegt, Heule, Al and others.

Sven Nys who started in the back of the field due to his abandon in Treviso had a good start and was moving up. At the end of the first lap Nys moved up to seventh position at about 20 seconds from the lead.

Turning into the second lap, of eight laps in total, Albert and Vantornout bridged up to Stybar. Halfway through the second lap Albert took the lead and increased the pace to a speed the others just couldn’t handle. Albert also took the intermediate sprint at the end of the second lap and the belonging six extra points for the GVA ranking.

In the third lap Sven Nys moved up from seventh position to the chase group and by the end of the third lap Sven Nys got rid off Stybar and Vantornout in order to search for Albert. The difference between the two champions was 30 seconds.

Halfway through the race Albert led the race with a lead of 32 seconds on Nys, 1:05 on Stybar and Vantornout and 1:24 on Aernouts and Pauwels.  Behind De Knegt, Franzoi, D. Vanthourenhout, Jonathan Page, Erwin Vervecken, Christian Heule and Thijs Al were in a battle for the remaining top 10 spots.

In the sixth lap Nys took too much risks in one of the descent and crashed. Despite the crash he didn’t lost that much time as the difference with Albert stayed equal at the end of the lap. In the battle for third place Klaas Vantornout dropped with Stybar due to a crash on the stairs in the final part of the lap.

In the remaining two laps the situation didn’t changed and Niels Albert could take relatively easy his fifth win of the season out of five starts. For Albert it’s “Veni, Vidi, Vici” for the moment. Everywhere he starts he is the best for the moment. Sven Nys finished at a satisfactory second place after his poor start in the current season. Zdenek Stybar took another podium place to finish as third. Belgians Vantornout and Aernouts rounded off the top five. American Jonathan Page did quite well in his first European race of the season and finished as 13rd.

Tomorrow the scene continues in Ruddervoorde for round one of the Superprestige.

Men U23
Just as in Treviso the U23 race came down to a battle between Czech Lubomir Petrus and Slowakian Robert Gavenda. In Treviso it was Gavenda but this time it was Lubomir Petrus (BKCP-Powerplus) who took the victory flowers. Belgian Tom Meeusen completed the podium.

Belgian Champion Vincent Baestaens took the hole shot followed by Jan Denuwelaere, Tom Meeusen, Stef Boden and Jim Aernouts. Gavenda and Petrus had a cautious start but after a few laps they showed up in front and not much later both East Europeans went in the attack with only Meeusen trying to hang on.

In the final lap Petrus created a gap over Gavenda to take his first win of the season. With a similar race in Oudenaarde, the second race of the GVA, Petrus is confident to defend his lead in the ranking.

Women
Daphny van den Brand (ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida)  set her sights on her third overall win in the GVA Trofee by winning the first race in Namur. Pavla Havlikova and Britain’s Helen Wyman completed the podium. Belgians Sanne Cant and Ludivine Henrion completed the top five. American Christine Vardaros finished as 17th for her new Zanatta-Champion Systems team.

The women’s race was already decided in an early stage. Van den Brand attacked very early and immediately created a solid gap on the champion of the Czech Republic Pavla Havlikova. In the remaining of the race Van den Brand didn’t made any mistakes and took her second win of the season after Harderwijk. American Christine Vardaros (Zannata-Champion System Team) finished on the lead lap in 17th.

Results:

Women:

1Daphny van den Brand (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida0:45:01
2Pavla Havlikova (Cze) KC Kooperativa SG Jablonec0:00:16
3Helen Wyman (GBr) Vision0:00:50
4Sanne Cant (Bel) A.D.S. Selle Italia Guerciotti0:01:35
5Ludivine Henrion (Bel)0:01:48
6Linda van Rijen (Ned)0:01:55
7Saskia Elemans (Ned) Team Flexpoint0:02:15
8Sanne van Paassen (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida0:03:10
9Sophie De Boer (Ned)0:03:50
10Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) J&G Cycling Team0:04:35
11Sabrina Stultiens (Ned)0:05:03
12Arenda Grimberg (Ned) Team Ton Van Bemmelen Sports-Merida0:05:23
13Veerle Ingels (Bel) AVB – Cycling Team0:06:20
14Gabriella Day (GBr) Vision0:06:25
15Nancy Bober (Bel) Casa Verde Race Factory0:06:55
16Ellen van Loy (Bel)0:09:05
17Christine Vardaros (USA)0:09:25
18Katrien Vermeiren (Bel) Emversport International C. T. Vzw0:10:30
19Lana Verberne (Ned)
20Nicolle De Bie-Leyten (Bel) AVB – Cycling Team
21Kim Van Renterghem (Bel) Wsc Hand In Hand Baal
22Sharon Defoor (Bel)
DNFPatsy Larno (Bel) Sport En Vermaak – Maarke-Kerkem

Men:

1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP – Powerplus1:05:15
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago0:00:42
3Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team0:02:02
4Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob0:02:22
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank0:02:50
6Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team0:03:21
7Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team0:03:45
8Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank0:03:52
9Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP – Powerplus0:04:10
10Radomír Šimunek (Cze) BKCP – Power Plus0:04:20
11Christian Heule (Swi) RendementhypoCycling Team0:04:25
12Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Liquigas0:04:33
13Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike0:04:45
14Mariusz Gil (Pol) LKS Pom Strzelce Krajenskie0:04:50
15Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team0:04:56
16Wilant van Gils (Ned) Pro Cycling Team ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida0:05:21
17Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles/Trant/Next/GSI0:05:22
18Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink – BeOne0:05:37
19Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team0:05:42
20Ben Berden (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team0:06:22
21Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL Trans NV0:06:33
22Eddy van IJzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink – BeOne0:06:47
23Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW0:07:33
24Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago0:07:45
25Marco Bianco (Ita) L Arcobaleno Carraro Team0:07:47
26Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW0:09:10
27Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Het Snelle Wiel0:09:23
28Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof0:09:34
29Tom De Kort (Bel) AVB – Cycling Team
30Ivar Hartogs (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida
31Bjorn Rondelez (Bel) Lingier Versluys Beachbikers Team
DNFSven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob
DNFMartin Zlámalík (Cze) Prodoli Racing Team
DNFGusty Bausch (Lux) LC Kayl
DNFBart Verschueren (Bel) Revor-Jartazi Continental Team

U23 Men

1Lubomír Petruš (Cze) BKCP – Power Plus0:52:54
2Robert Gavenda (Svk) Fidea Cycling Team0:00:11
3Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team0:00:20
4Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cyclingteam VZW0:00:37
5Stef Boden (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team0:00:43
6Jirí Polnický (Cze) Empella Czech Team0:00:49
7Marcel Meisen (Ger) Team Kuota – Indeland0:00:54
8Jim Aernouts (Bel) BKCP – Powerplus0:01:35
9Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team0:01:59
10Pawel Sczepaniak (Pol)0:02:07
11Micki van Empel (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida0:02:34
12Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Sunweb-Projob0:02:50
13Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Projob0:03:01
14Karel Hnik (Cze)0:03:08
15Kevin Cant (Bel) AVB – Cycling Team0:03:15
16Sascha Weber (Ger) FC Rheinland-Pfalz Flonheim0:03:28
17Kacper Scerpaniak (Pol)0:03:39
18Dave De Cleyn (Bel) AVB – Cycling Team0:04:23
19Michael Winterberg (Swi) VC Pfaffnau-Roggliswil0:04:34
20Sven Beelen (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team0:04:54
21Arnaud Van Den Abeele (Bel) BKCP – Powerplus0:05:11
22Stijn Mortelmans (Bel)0:05:31
23Zeb Willems (Bel) AVB – Cycling Team0:05:55
24Wim Thijs (Bel) Edegem Bicycle Club V.Z.W.0:06:22
25Dario Stauble (Swi)0:06:26
26Jelle Brackman (Bel) MTB Dreamteam AArtselAAr0:07:13
27Dany Lacroix (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team0:07:35
28Raf Risbourg (Bel)0:07:44
29Romain Gihoul (Bel)0:07:50
30Mattia Rossi (Ita) L Arcobaleno Carraro Team0:07:57
31Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) AVB – Cycling Team0:08:44
32Rinze De Proost (Bel)0:09:04
33Jonathan Bervoets (Bel) Heylen Meubelcentrale Zlwc St.Tru0:09:27
34Roman Sedlmair (Ger) Team Focus-Alpecin Cross
35Bert Vermeiren (Bel)
DNFRutger La Haye (Bel)
DNFMitchell Huenders (Ned) AA Cycling Team

Junior Men

1Jens Adams (Bel)0:39:01
2Jens Vandekinderen (Bel)0:00:01
3Joeri Hofman (Bel)0:02:18
4Jorn Claes (Bel)0:02:32
5Lex Reichling (Lux)0:03:03
6Lorenzo Pepermans (Bel)0:04:17
7Stijn Heyse (Bel)0:04:44
8Charles-Etienne Lambert (Bel)
9Jellen Schiettekatte (Bel)0:04:49
10Mike Van Aken (Bel)0:04:59
11Joni Geeraerts (Bel)0:05:04
12Toon Aerts (Bel)0:06:06
13Niels Ooms (Bel)0:06:39
14Bryan Borowski (Bel)0:07:39
15Glenn Thys (Bel)0:07:44
16Laurent Reichling (Lux)0:08:49
17Ralph Gleis (Lux)0:11:00
18Stijn Gielen (Bel)0:11:14
19Michel Kuffer (Lux)