Pauwels bested Stybar ad Nys to take his first win of the season. © Bart Hazen

Pauwels bested Stybar ad Nys to take his first win of the season. © Bart Hazen

by Bart Hazen

Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) crowned his excellent season form with his first win of this year’s campaign in Hasselt, Belgium, today. After an exciting battle he bested his teammate and world champion Zdenek Stybar and Belgian champion Sven Nys. The two Bart’s – Wellens and Aernouts – Niels Albert, Tom Meeusen, Radomir Simunek, Rob Peeters and Diether Vanthourenhout completed the top ten. Jonathan Page finished the race in 19th, two minutes down on the winner.

Organizers worked diligently to drain the the course in Hasselt after all of last week’s rain, leaving the course dry and fast. Under sunny weather conditions, Sunweb-Revor’s Klaas Vantornout had the best start of the field – probably too fast, as he missed the first corner and hit the deck. His teammates didn’t have much fortune either as Martin Zlamalik and Sven Vanthourehout crashed in the next corner as well. All three the riders didn’t finish the race.
World champion Zdenek Stybar, returning into competition after a knee injury, took to the front of the field, followed by Belgian champion Sven Nys, Niels Albert, Kevin Pauwels, Radomir Simunek, Bart Wellens and Dieter Vanthourenhout. Nys pulled through as he wanted to take the extra points for the GVA ranking in the intermediate sprint by the end of the second lap, but a mechanical problem derailed that plan, and Stybar came along to take the maximum points.

In the third lap it was Bart Wellens who forced the pace, but he couldn’t reduce the big leading group, which actually continued to build as Bart Aernouts, Rob Peeters, Thijs van Amerongen and Tom Meeusen were able to bridge up to the front as well. Sven Nys wasn’t pleased with the big group size and accelerated again, but Stybar jumped immediately on his back wheel. After that there was a kind of cease-fire among the big guns.

In the penultimate lap, six riders – Nys, Albert, Stybar, Pauwels, Aernouts and Wellens – were still together. On the technical sand sections and beyond Nys kept pressuring his competitors, resulting in Wellens, Albert and Aernouts losing contact. Nys and his Telenet-Fidea rivals Pauwels and Stybar turned into the final lap together. In a tactical game Nys tried to get rid off his companions, but without any luck.

In the final 100 meters of the race Pauwels created a small gap to take his first win of the season. For Pauwels it’s his first win in Hasselt after finishing second twice in previous editions. Stybar held off Nys for second, completing the Telenet-Fidea dominance.

“I had more speed in the pitlane and had a gap once I was over the bridge. I gave everything I had to hold off the others,” said Pauwels after the race. “The GVA ranking isn’t really a goal now after this win. I will take it race by race and see where I will finish in the end,” said the Telenet rider, who moved up to second overall in the GVA overall series ranking, four points down on leader Stybar. Nys moved up to third.

Stybar was happy with his podium place after his  recent knee tendinitis. “I didn’t felt any pain in my knee. I am very pleased with this result and I am back on track. I am very happy that my teammate has won; he deserves it. I really look forward to the next races.”

Sven Nys was not disappointed with his third place. “I have made the race today and with a bit of luck I could have won the race. Just before the pitlane both Pauwels and Stybar passed me. I wanted to stay on Pauwels’ wheel, but Stybar prevented that. Tomorrow another chance in Gavere.”

Wellens (4th) was also pleased with his result. “My legs felt really good today. I had the best legs of the whole season. This promises for tomorrow if I will recover well. I feel my best form is coming and that’s pleasing me”.

Jim Aernouts Wins Thrilling U23 Race over van der Haar
Belgian champion Jim Aernouts (BKCP-Powerplus) has won the U23 race after an thrilling race from European Champion Lars van der Haar. Belgian Vincent Baestaens completed the podium. Marcel Meisen, Corne van Kessel, Joeri Adams, Twan van den Brand, Micki van Empel, Vinnie Braet and Wietse Bosmans rounded off the top 10.

Dutch Tijmen Eising had the best start, but it was his compatriot Lars van der Haar who took the lead halfway through the first lap. The Rabobankrider was joined by Belgians Jim Aernouts and Vincent Baestaens. Baestaens couldn’t handle the pace one lap further along and fell back in a chasing group with Corne van Kessel, Micki van Empel, Joeri Adams, Marcel Meisen, Twan van den Brand, Wietse Bosmans and Vinnie Braet.

Halfway through the race van der Haar misjudged a corner and crashed. He quickly jumped on the bike again and rejoined Aernouts in the penultimate lap. Aernouts didn’t want to wait for the sprint and kept the pressure on for the final lap. Turning onto the asphalt section towards the finish, van der Haar’s backwheel slipped away and he wasn’t able to bridge up to the Belgian again. Baestaens was the best in the sprint of the chasing group for third over Meisen and van Kessel.

“I wanted to avoid a sprint against Lars”, stated Aernouts after the race. “I tried to surprise him in the sandbox but faltered. After the double bridge and the stairs section in the final part of the race I saw I created a small gap and gave everything I had. This is a very beautiful win”

European Champion Lars van der Haar was a little disappointed after the race. “Jim created a small gap after the stairs. In the right turn my backwheel slippedaway and I couldn’t bridge up. Normally I’m the faster in the sprint”.

Daniel Summerhill (22nd), Jerome Townsend (30th) and Jeremy Ferguson (34th) were the only Americans in the race.

Joeri Adams (sixth) stays in the overall lead of the GVA. Aernouts and van der Haar are second and third in the series, respectively.

The win in the youth races went to Diether Sweeck (Juniors) and Mathieu van der Poel (Beginners). Yannick Eckmann finished in 11th in the Juniors’ race.

Photo Gallery

Full Results:

Elite Men

1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team1:01:19
2Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:03
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:05
4Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:07
5Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team
6Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:20
7Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:25
8Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:29
9Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
10Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
11Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:00:41
12Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:00:45
13Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:47
14Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:00:49
15Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:00:51
16Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team0:01:35
17Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco – Revor Cycling Team0:01:47
18Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team
19Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike
20Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS0:01:51
21Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team0:02:32
22Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team
23Jan Verstraete
24Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)
25Tom Vannoppen (Bel)
26Marco Bianco (Ita)
27Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team
28Stijn Huys (Bel)0:03:46
29Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:03:51
30Kevin Cant (Bel)0:04:03
31Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem – Prorace0:04:13
32Patrick Gaudy (Bel)0:04:20
33Jo Pirotte0:04:55
34Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv
35Daan Bongers
36Rob Vangenechten
37Jorge Cantalicio
38Caballero Candelas
39Niels Vaes

U23 Men

1Jim Aernouts (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:49:50
2Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Rabo – Giant Offroad Team.
3Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:00:10
4Marcel Meisen (Ger) Team Kuota – Senges
5Corné Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team
6Joeri Adams (Bel) Rabo – Giant Offroad Team.
7Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) ZZPR.NL
8Micki van Empel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:00:27
9Vinnie Braet (Bel) Sunweb Revor0:00:35
10Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:02
11David Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:37
12Kristof Cop (Bel) APB cycling team0:01:40
13Jens Adams (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:51
14Ritchie Denolf (Bel) Baboco – Revor Cycling Team0:01:59
15Tijmen Eising (Ned) Sunweb Revor
16Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb Revor
17Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) APB cycling team
18Matteo Trentin (Ita)0:02:29
19Sonny Volders (Bel) APB cycling team
20Floris De Tier (Bel) Baboco – Revor Cycling Team0:03:13
21Kobus Hereygers (Ned) ZZPR.NL
22Daniel Summerhill (USA) Holowesko Partners/Felt/Garmin
23Niels Koyen (Bel) APB cycling team
24Jonatan Bervoets (Bel) APB cycling team
25Stijn Mortelmans (Bel) Palmans-Cras0:04:00
26Jeffrey Mellemans (Bel) Heylen Meubelcentrale Zlwc St.Truiden0:04:18
27Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW
28Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) KDL Trans
29Sieën Veestraeten (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg
30Jerome Townsend (USA)0:04:52
31Bart Barkhuis (Ned)0:05:29
32Dario Stauble (Swi)
33Jelle Cant (Bel) Van Goethem – Prorace – cycling team0:07:05
34Zeb Veestraeten (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg
35Jeremy Ferguson (USA)
36Matthias Boetens (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team
37Vincent Van Hooste (Bel) Asfra Racing Team
38Bert Vermeiren (Bel) Revor Cycling Team
39Dennis Coenen (Bel)
40Allan Veenstra (Bel)
41Mike Van Aken (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW
42Niels Dirikx (Bel)
43John De Schutter (Bel)
44Kenn Vanoppen (Bel)
45Nick Van Overbeke (Bel)
46Joachim Janssens (Bel) Cyclocrossteam Freddy Sport Dilbeek
47Ruben Van Dingenen (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg
48Robin Delanghe (Bel) Kon. Balen B.C. V.Z.W.
49Yves Jeurissen (Bel)
50Sander Maes (Bel)
51Gregory Van Gansen (Bel)


1Diether Sweeck (Bel) KDL Trans0:39:21
2Laurens Sweeck (Bel) KDL Trans0:00:08
3Toon Aerts (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW0:00:17
4Maxim Panis (Bel) Bodysol- Lotto Cycling Team Menen Vzw0:00:29
5Daan Hoeyberghs (Bel) Kon. Balen B.C. V.Z.W.0:00:36
6Jorn Claes (Bel) UCS Crabbé- Performance
7Jeroen Meijers (Ned) A.Sp.Loisirs Hautevilloi
8Pjotr Van Beek (Ned)0:01:18
9Twan Brusselman (Ned)0:01:39
10Niels Ooms (Bel)0:01:43
11Yannick Eckmann (Ger)0:02:01
12Jelto Veroft (Bel) K.W.C. Heist Zuiderkempen V.Z.W.0:02:29
13Joni Geeraerts (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg0:02:33
14Timo Verschueren (Bel) WSC Hand In Hand Baal0:02:39
15Sibe Smets (Bel)0:02:42
16Gillian Veestraeten (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg0:02:48
17Gertjan Bervoets (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg0:03:11
18Jeffrey Jansegers (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW0:03:20
19Toon Wouters (Bel) Isorex Cycling Team0:03:30
20Hugo Robinson (GBr)0:03:38
21Tijs Huygen (Bel) K.W.C. Heist Zuiderkempen V.Z.W.0:04:02
22Onno Verheyen (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW0:04:11
23Lorenzo Pepermans (Bel) De Dijlespurters V.V. Mechelen
24Stig Callay (Bel)0:04:48
25Jorne Kockaerts (Bel) Cycling Team 99 V.Z.W. Schriek
26Glenn Vissers (Bel) DCM-GB Vorselaar Cycling team VZW0:05:07
27Kenneth Van Dessel (Bel) K.W.C. Heist Zuiderkempen V.Z.W.0:05:32
28Alexander Hanquet (Bel)
29Birger Vandael (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg0:05:39
30Nicholas De Laet (Bel) Isorex Cycling Team0:05:59
31Jago Goedefroy (Bel) KSC Dendersteek Labiekes
32Alexander Verslegers (Bel) WSC Hand In Hand Baal
33Bavo Haemels (Bel) De Dijlespurters V.V. Mechelen
34Neals De Graef (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW
35Wouter Nuyes (Bel) Kempens Wielerverbond- Turnhout V.Z.W.
36Nicki Thomas (Can)
37Tom Vandikkelen (Bel) Heylen Meubelcentrale Zlwc St.Truiden