HEERLAN, HOLLAND – The late season races continued on Sunday, with some of the biggest names in the sport testing their post-World Championship form at the GP Heuts. On the tough, muddy course, the Elite men didn’t seem phased by Saturday’s race at Middelkerke, with Kevin Pauwels, Philip Walsleben and newly re-crowned World Champion Zdenek Stybar all taking pulls at the front and distancing themselves from the rest. The three-man break brought things down to the wire with a sprint that saw Pauwels repeat his impressive drive at Lille and take the win on the line. The win by Pauwels continues a string of impressive results and has us excited for the GvA Trofee throwdown next week between him and Sven Nys for the overall standings. American Jonathan Page continues to ride strong and show he is worth his new sponsorship, coming in fourth only seven seconds off the leaders and well ahead of Bart Aernouts and Francis Mourey.
In the women’s race, British National Champion Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) appeared fully recovered from an earlier bout with bronchitis and celebrated victory at the end of the race. On the particularly heavy course, Helen moved away from the chasing riders with ease over the five laps and finished more than a minute ahead of World Cup Winner Sanne van Paassen.
It was Nikki Harris that took on the early pace and lead the race into the first descent on the course. Behind her there was a crash, holding up several riders and causing some damage to Nikki’s bike in the process. Everyone was back up and running (Apart from Arenda Grimberg and Linda van Rijen, who needed almost two minutes to untangle their bikes) quickly and it was Helen who led through the first pits with five seconds over Harris, with a chase pack a few seconds further back.
It was a different story by the second pit, where Wyman had stretched her lead to 22 seconds, and she never looked back. Van Paassen was the best of the rest, getting herself clear of the chasing pack of five to solo into second place.
“I’ve never ridden here before but I heard it was pretty heavy going,” said Wyman. “I knew I’d have reasonable form as I haven’t been able to stress my body since well before Worlds. This last week I’ve been able to training hard and I’ve recovered really well. I tried to just stay out of trouble at the start; I didn’t really fancy setting the pace of the race up the first couple of straights. That played well into my hands, as at the bottom the first decent I could hear some carnage going on behind me.”
“This is my sixth win of the season,” she continued. “I’m really pleased with it and it’s really good to have a result near the end of the season. It’s also my first win in Holland. Koppenberg was my first in Belgium. So it’s been a season of firsts for me. I think it’s also the most wins I’ve had in a season and I’ve still got three more races to go.”
“I’m more motivated than ever and it’s pretty sad the season is coming to an end. But I’ve got a lot of new things planned for the summer, so hope to be racing at an even higher level next season and maybe get another first, a World Cup win.”
Full Results — Men
|7||Gerben DE KNEGT||NED||1:03:13|
|9||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||1:04:19|
|11||Egoitz MURGOITIO REKALDE||ESP||1:05:10|
|12||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||1:05:23|
|14||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED||1:06:14|
|19||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||1:07:08|
|20||Micki VAN EMPEL||NED||1:07:17|
|22||David VAN DER POEL||NED||1:08:17|
|23||Corne VAN KESSEL||NED|
|24||Wilant VAN GILS||NED|
|25||Roy VAN HEESWIJK||NED|
|27||Geert VAN DER HORST||NED|
Full Results — Women
|2||Sanne VAN PAASSEN||NED||41:01:22|
|4||Daphny VAN DEN BRAND||NED||41:02:37|
|9||Tessa VAN NIEUWPOORT||NED|
|14||Linda VAN RIJEN||NED|
|17||Marianne ALLELEIJN-TEN HAAF||NED|