Wellens Nips Nys in First Race Back on Belgian Soil – Maldegem, Belgium
Bart Wellens, shown here at the 2013 Worlds, continued his impressive form with a win ahead of newly crowned World Champion Sven Nys © Meg McMahon
MALDEGEM, BELGIUM – There was no rest for the European pros after their stateside trip to compete in – and win – the 2013 World Cyclocross Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. Earlier today, all the big names lined up to compete in the Augustijn Parkcross Maldegem, a C2 race in Belgium where the fans came out to watch their newly crowned World Champion duke it out with Bart Wellens, only to come inches shy of the win as Wellens narrowly held Nys off in a closing sprint. This was Wellens’ first win of the season. Niels Albert followed 25-seconds later, well ahead of Kevin Pauwels and Jim Aernouts to round out the top five. American Jonathan Page started the race, but did not finish.
Wellens, who had one of the most consistent lap times of the Elite men at Louisville, finishing fourth, was clearly on a mission to prove he is back in top form and stormed across the course with only Nys able to keep pace. Albert had a tough start, but found his lines in time to move onto the podium.
“This was an old-fashioned duel with Sven,” said Wellens, via Sporza. “The jetlag was playing tricks on me and I could not feel that my condition in recent weeks is clearly on an upward curve.”
“Today I did not have my full strength,” he continued. “I raced tactically and that paid off. Am I in shape too late? There are three long and difficult weeks ahead, with lots of interesting racing. There is much to pick from.”
For his part, Nys was happy with second and was enjoying racing in the Rainbow jersey. “Although I’m still getting used to it. I searched the field looking for the rainbow jersey, which Albert drove for a year. But I’m very proud that I have this outfit for a year to carry. I worked in this ’cross on euphoria. I felt the legs and was still in a daze from my victory.”
This weekend, racing returns full bore as racers turn their attention to the penultimate races in two of the largest series in cyclocross: the Bpost Bank Trofee Krawatencross, in Lille on Saturday, and then the Superprestige Hoogstraten on Sunday. Check in this weekend for reports from both!
2013 Augustijn Parkcross Maldegem Elite Men Results
|9||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL||59:57:00|
|21||Yorben VAN TICHELT||BEL||1:02:44|
|22||Steven DE DECKER||BEL||1:03:06|