By Andrew Davis
On a clear, brisk day at Ruddervoorde, Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) stayed true to his Mr. Superprestige title by taking the win ahead of Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) after the two commandeered the race in the early laps. Echoing last weekend at Kalmthout, the race turned predictable as it looked to come down to a two-up sprint. The only change in the script was Nys’ catching Albert out in the final, technical turns, and opening just enough of a gap to make his surge for the line a solo affair. Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor), unable to hold on to the two champions in the deep sand, nonetheless rode strongly for third, soloing in ahead of Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor), Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea), Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus), and Lars van der Haar (Rabobank-Giant), the last of whom was the final rider to be shed by the two champions at the head of the race.
Sven Nys continues his Superprestige domination with his 56th win in the series. ©Bart Hazen
In the women’s race, Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) took an early lead ahead of Amy Dombroski (Telenet-Fidea), Sanne Cant (BOXX), and Sophie De Boer (Telenet-Fidea). Once established, Harris never relinquished her lead, soloing in well ahead of second place De Boer. “I just wanted to go hard from the start,” said Harris. “After one lap I realized I had a gap, so I wanted to keep going. But yeah, it was hard work.”
The U23 race took a similar pattern to the women’s, with Mike Teunissen (Rabobank) taking the early lead and holding it to the end.
Elite Men: Nys and Albert again stand above the rest
The first round of the 2012-13 Superprestige Series kicked off to blue skies and tacky conditions on the twisty and technical Ruddervoorde course. U23 world champion Lars van der Haar, already starting on the front row in his first Elite season, launched off the front for the hole-shot in the dicey, narrow first corner. Tom Meeusen and Kevin Pauwels quickly took to the front in the first lap and created a small group containing Klaas Vantornout and Bart Aernouts. These leaders had a slim gap over a large chase group driven by Albert, Nys and van der Haar, who were a few seconds back going into the second lap.
Albert moved smoothly up the field with Nys in tow, and after closing to the lead group, made a hard acceleration that only Nys and van der Haar could cover. For a short moment it looked as if the youngest talent would spar against the legendary one, but Albert and Nys’ pace through the sand and around the technical parts of the course proved too quick, and van der Haar dropped off the lead.
Pauwels, however, began to show his form as he picked up the young Rabobank rider as he clawed his way back to Nys and Albert a lap later. But the Belgian and World Champions had no intention of making it a four-horse race, and used the long, deep sand section to strip first van der Haar, and then Pauwels, of their chances at the top podium spot. Heading into the sand, Pauwels was less than three seconds behind; by the end of the section, he had lost ten. The gap only continued to grow for the remainder of the race.
As Pauwels made a solo chase behind, Albert and Nys spent the remainder of the race attacking and counter attacking each other, with neither gaining a clear advantage going into the last lap. Recent history has shown that when the pair come together to the line, it is Nys that has the afterburners to take the sprint – would Albert be able to shake him before that happened?
Though Albert did his best, the answer was a resounding no, as Nys, always the tactician, made the move of the race in the technical penultimate corner, opening up just enough of a gap that Albert couldn’t draft as Nys hit the pavement first and accelerated uncontested to the line.
Arm in the air, finger to the sky, Sven Nys opened his account on the 2012/13 Superprestige season, taking his his 56th victory in the series and the first win of what could be his 12th series title.
Albert came in just behind, followed nearly half a minute later by Pauwels, then Klaas Vantornout, Meeusen, Dieter Vanthourenhout, van der Haar, Wellens, and Aernouts.
Bart Hazen Photo Gallery:
|7||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||1:05:22|
|10||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||1:06:04|
|24||Gerben DE KNEGT||NED||1:07:42|
|26||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL||1:08:06|
|27||Micki VAN EMPEL||NED||1:08:12|
|28||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED||1:08:16|
|29||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||1:08:34|
|31||Dave DE CLEYN||BEL||1:09:15|
|34||Eddy VAN IJZENDOORN||NED||1:10:35|
|35||Steven DE DECKER||BEL||1:10:45|
|37||Tom VAN DEN BOSCH||BEL||1:11:08|
|2||Sophie DE BOER||NED||44:07:00|
|5||Ellen VAN LOY||BEL||44:42:00|
|8||Kim VAN DE STEENE||BEL||45:39:00|
|19||Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURG||DEN||50:49:00|
|23||Caitlyn LA HAYE||BEL|
|5||Wout VAN AERT||BEL||52:34:00|
|13||Corne VAN KESSEL||NED||53:28:00|
|16||David VAN DER POEL||NED||54:08:00|
|24||Matthias VAN DE VELDE||BEL||55:30:00|
|28||Yorben VAN TICHELT||BEL||56:13:00|
|33||Pjotr VAN BEEK||NED||57:18:00|
|34||Tim DE SCHUYTER||BEL||57:39:00|