Nys Wins Again in Neerpelt, Van Paassen Takes Women’s Race – UPDATED: Video

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Koksijde Elite Men World Cup 11/28/2009 ©Bart Hazen

Sven Nys, shown here in Koksijde, used his sand skills to great effect ©Bart Hazen

Neerpelt, Belgium – Despite a weekend of heavy rain in Belgium, the skies cleared for the Fidea Grote Prijs in Neerpelt as the European cyclocross season entered its second week. Even with the rain, the good drainage on the sandy, wooded course meant a tacky, rather than muddy, track, dominated by a series of steep, loose climbs. And the UCI’s newly relaxed rules about the use of synthetic obstacles like sand pits meant race organizers were free to convert a beach volleyball court into a final test just before the race hit the road for the last lap.

Mathiew van der Poel Takes Third Season Win, Sweeck Takes First

In the Beginners category, Mathieu van der Poel won his third race of the season. The youngest son of former world champion Adrie van der Poel dominated from the start. His compatriot Stan Wijkel finished second with Belgian champion Quinten Hermans in third. Hermans had an inauspicious start with two crashes, but rode a strong race to end up on the podium.

Meanwhile, Junior racer Laurens Sweeck continued to show his growing talent by opening his season account in his first race of the season. From the start it looked like he was going to put on a show with his brother Diether, but the latter one missed a turn and fell back into the field to finish the race in sixth. Michael Vanthourenhout and Daan Hoeyberghs completed the podium.

Van Paassen Rounds Out Perfect Weekend

In a women’s race notable as much for who wasn’t present as who was, with world champion Marianne Vos in Australia for the Road World Championships and Katie Compton making her season debut in the United States, Sanne van Paassen showed that her early season form is for real, taking her second victory in as many days.

The 21 year-old Netherlander rode away from two national champions, the Netherlands’ Daphny van den Brand and Belgium’s Sanne Cant, to take victory.  But van Paassen was able to use the sand, and some improved technical skills, to her advantage throughout the race. Cant fell off the pace after a second lap bobble in the sand, and van den Brand simply couldn’t match van Paassen, who went clear near the race’s midpoint.

“Last year I came up a little short in the big ’crosses,” said Van Paassen afterwards. “Especially technically, I was often a little below the top. But I’ve trained hard to [rectify that], and here I made the difference on a technical hill.”

Van Paassen told reporters that she’s hopeful that this will be a breakout season for her. “Starting the season with two wins is great,” she said, “but there’s still important work to do. My hope is to win a World Cup race this season and finish high in that classification.”

Nys Stretches Win Streak to Two

With Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) sidelined by a knee injury and world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) racing at home in the Czech Republic, Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) stood alone as the clear favorite coming into the race after starting the season with a decisive victory last weekend. For Nys, who struggled throughout the first month of racing in 2009, the race also represented a chance to reestablish himself at the top of the sport.

From the gun Nys made it clear he intended to do just that, grabbing the lead and setting a blistering pace that cracked all but four other riders by the end of the first lap. By the time they hit the pavement, only Bart Aernouts (Rabobank), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) and Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea), remained at the head of the race, while Vantornout’s Sunweb teammate Sven Vanthourenhout dangled several meters back.

Behind the leaders, Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) had emerged at the front of the chase effort to bring the race back together, but a major bobble just before the road derailed him, and within seconds he had lost nearly 10 places. The former world champion would never recover from the mistake, despite a valiant solo attempt that brought him to within 15 seconds of the leaders with four laps to go. Wellens, a crowd favorite whose chase injected a bit of drama into an otherwise routine day at the races, would eventually finish fifth.

Meanwhile, up front the four leaders engaged in a mostly tactical battle, each firing shots that wouldn’t stick. Despite the series of short, steep, sandy climbs and the course’s final sandy flourish, the course didn’t appear to pose much of a technical challenge to the four-man lead group; power and endurance were center stage.

Finally, with three laps to go, Sven Nys made the first serious bid to break up the leaders, drilling the pace through the woods and over the little hills, stretching the group farther than anyone yet had. But it wasn’t enough, and the race came back together in time for the riders to see the two laps to go card.

In the end, it was Klaas Vantornout who made the decisive move, running his way to the front on the first climb of the final lap while Nys, either as the result of a minor bobble or just being caught in the wrong gear, struggled to pedal to the top. Vantornout immediately hit the gas and again stretched the lead group briefly. But Vantornout surged a moment too early, and Nys was able to sneak around him on a short, narrow stretch of pavement just ahead of the final trip through the sand.

Even as it happened, the move looked decisive, and Nys pounded it home by stretching his lead to 10 meters in the sand. He rolled across the line alone to score his second consecutive victory of the season, while a visibly frustrated Vantornout had to settle for second, just ahead of Aernouts. Pauwels, who had dangled behind the leaders off and on for much of the second half of the race, couldn’t respond to Nys’ final surge and finished several seconds back in fourth.

After the race, Nys told reporters that he had planned to attack the race from the start. “It was my intention to take control of the race from the beginning”, said Nys. “Due to these efforts you only get better in this part of the season. Last week I was not able to do this. This is how I want to be at this point of the season, but I hope to improve in the next weeks. The sand section was ideal for me. Because of that I could avoid the sprint and made the difference with my technique and power. I think I can say that I rode the perfect ’cross.”

Men’s Highlight Video:

Elite Women – Full Results

Rank Name Nat. Result
1 Sanne VAN PAASSEN NED 39:39:00
2 Daphny VAN DEN BRAND NED 40:12:00
3 Sanne CANT BEL 40:43:00
4 Pavla HAVLIKOVA CZE 41:07:00
5 Sophie DE BOER NED 41:45:00
6 Reza HORMES NED 42:01:00
7 Helen WYMAN GBR 42:29:00
8 Arenda GRIMBERG NED 42:45:00
9 Joyce VANDERBEKEN BEL 43:14:00
10 Nikki HARRIS GBR 43:46:00
11 Katrien AERTS BEL 44:33:00
12 Gertie WILLEMS BEL 44:57:00
13 Nancy BOBER BEL 45:02:00
14 Nicole DE BIE – LEYTEN BEL 45:07:00
15 Ellen VAN LOY BEL 45:49:00
16 Christine VARDAROS USA 46:25:00
17 Anja NOBUS BEL 47:33:00
18 Katrien THIJS BEL
19 Anja GELDHOF BEL
20 Nathalie NIJNS BEL
21 Katrien VERMEIREN BEL
22 Kim BANGA NED
23 Steffy VAN DEN HAUTE BEL
24 Valerie BOONEN BEL
25 Marijke DE PAUW BEL

Elite Men – Full Results

Rank Name Nat. Result
1 Sven NYS BEL 01:01:32
2 Klaas VANTORNOUT BEL 01:01:36
3 Bart AERNOUTS BEL 01:01:36
4 Kevin PAUWELS BEL 01:01:43
5 Bart WELLENS BEL 01:02:29
6 Tom MEEUSEN BEL 01:02:45
7 Enrico FRANZOI ITA 01:02:52
8 Dieter VANTHOURENHOUT BEL 01:03:03
9 Jim AERNOUTS BEL 01:03:06
10 Rob PEETERS BEL 01:03:28
11 Thijs VAN AMERONGEN NED 01:03:44
12 Arnaud JOUFFROY FRA 01:04:00
13 Philipp WALSLEBEN GER 01:04:33
14 Vincent BAESTAENS BEL 01:04:45
15 Patrick VAN LEEUWEN NED 01:04:56
16 Marco BIANCO ITA 01:04:59
17 Marcel WILDHABER SUI 01:04:59
18 Martin ZLAMALIK CZE 01:05:05
19 Mariusz GIL POL 01:05:09
20 Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE BEL 01:05:09
21 Jan DENUWELAERE BEL 01:05:09
22 Tom VAN DEN BOSCH BEL 01:05:19
23 Thijs AL NED 01:05:26
24 Ben BERDEN BEL 01:05:40
25 Wietse BOSMANS BEL 01:05:57
26 Micki VAN EMPEL NED 01:06:05
27 Ian FIELD GBR 01:06:31
28 Karel HNIK CZE 01:06:51
29 Christoph PFINGSTEN GER 01:06:51
30 Jan VERSTRAETEN BEL
31 Kevin CANT BEL
32 Arnaud GRAND SUI
33 David VAN DER POEL NED
34 Romain VILLA FRA
35 Dave DE CLEYN BEL
36 Bram SCHMITZ NED
37 Gianni DENOLF BEL
38 Michael (JR) SCHWEIZER GER
39 Egoitz MURGOITIO REKALDE ESP
40 Tommy NIELSEN DEN
41 Ole QUAST GER
42 Kenneth HANSEN DEN
43 Ritchie DENOLF BEL
44 Jonas Schau GUDDAL DEN
45 Xabier GARCÍA ESP
46 Daniel RUIZ ECHEANDIA ESP
47 Mattia ROSSI ITA
48 Daan BONGERS NED
49 Roman SEDLMEIER GER
50 Inigo GOMEZ ELORRIAGA ESP
51 Jon GOMEZ ELORRIAGA ESP
52 ALBERTO CANDELAS CABALLERO ESP
53 Wout VERBEEK BEL
54 Matthew DENBY GBR
55 Christophe DELVAUX BEL

Brief Results – Beginners

1. Mathiew Van Der Poel (Ned)
2. Stan Wijkel (Ned)
3. Quinten Hermans (Bel)
4. Gianni Van Donink (Bel)
5. Massimo Vanderaerden (Bel)

Brief Results – Juniors

1. Laurens Sweeck (Bel)
2. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel)
3. Daan Hoeyberghs (Bel)
4. Daan Soete (Bel)
5. Quentin Jauregui (Ned)

 

 

Cyclocross Magazine, Issue 22, Print and digital subscriptionsHave you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!
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