While we were thrilled to see an American land on the podium in the Elite Women’s race at Diegem, the racing action for the men was equally intense as Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) powered to the win over Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus).
Nys put the pressure on from the start, moving to the front of the race in lap one. By the second lap Nys had managed a gap with Meeusen latched on to his rear wheel. Picking up the chase was a group of eight including Albert, Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah), Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea), Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team), Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) and Zdenek Stybar (Omega-Pharma Quick Step).
Albert and Peeters broke free of the chase the next time around and it looked as if the front of the race might grow to four. But high pace forced Peeters to drop back, while simultaneously Meeusen also began to show the signs of fatigue from matching Nys’ tempo.
By lap four Meeusen had dropped back to Albert, tactically allowing Albert to do the chasing work. Once contact to Nys had been made, Meeusen once again moved into second position, while Albert, now tired from the effort, began to loose ground.
Through it all, Nys appeared to be the case study in composure, signaling the visibly strained Meeusen several times to take up the pacemaking before taking control once again and distancing Meeusen towards the end of the penultimate lap. Albert pressed on but was unable to catch the pair.
Nys began his victory celebration several turns before the finishing stretch, dismounting at the line to give his bike a kiss before holding it high in the air in respect to his 15 years with Colnago, just days before his switch to Trek bikes. His mechanics also gave thanks to Colnago, saying it was a pleasure to work with the Italian company all these years.
Het was een plezier voor de mecaniciens van Sven Nys om zoveel jaren met Colnago fietsen te mogen werken ! pic.twitter.com/BxAtNWbeh1
— Jos Van Mellaert (@vm_jos) December 29, 2013
Shortly after, an elated Meeusen wheelied across the finish line to take second. Albert finished third with Stybar and Bina rounding out the top five.
“My best legs of the season came at the right time,” said Nys after the finish. “For the first time this season, everything worked exactly as I had planned.”
American Jonathan Page started strong, and was just outside the top ten at the start of the race, but dropped out due to lingering pain from his crash at Loenhout.
Too much pain. Quit. Sorry all. 2 days to recover before Baal.
— Jonathan Page (@thejonathanpage) December 29, 2013
Niels Albert retains the series lead, finishing on his fourth Superprestige podium this season, while Nys has finished in either second or first in the five events he finished afterdropping out in Gieten after a crash and jammed chain.
2013 Superprestige Diegem Elite Men's Results
|6||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||1:03:59|
|14||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||1:05:54|
|15||Micki VAN EMPEL||NED||1:05:59|
|18||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL||1:06:12|
|19||Dave DE CLEYN||BEL||1:06:53|
|21||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED||1:07:07|