BAAL, Belgium—Unveiling the new Crelan-Vastgoedservice Cycling Team jersey, Wout van Aert stayed clear of any mud jams and all other mudders to dominate the GP Sven Nys today.
— PauwelsSauzen-VGS CT (@PS_VGS_CT) January 1, 2016
Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) took the holeshot and put on the initial pressure but it was Van Aert who stole the show, coming from around eighth position to take over the lead in the second lap.
Klaas Vantornout (Marlux-Napoleon Games) and teammate Gianni Vermeersch formed into the first chase group with the hometown favorite for whom the race is named, Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) trailing about 12 seconds behind.
Top contender Pauwels had a bad start, down about 20 second by the end of lap one.
Nys sensing he had do move up tried to connect with the duo of Vantornout and Vermeersch but slipped in a muddy, long, right-hand turn, falling into the barriers in the third round tearing his skinsuit before remounting to continue the chase.
By the end of round three Van Aert had distanced his rivals and was leading with an 18 second advantage over the chasers Vantornout, Vermeersch, Van der Haar an Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games).
Nys closed the gap soon after just as Vanthournhout made a push to break away. With two laps remaining Nys took over the reigns from Vanthornhout but by this time Van Aert’s advantage had increased to nearly a minute and a half.
Behind, Sven Nys, leading his Crelan-AA Drink team, gave sponsor Crelan another dose of publicity, outkicking all others for second in his own race.
— Wilfried Onkelinx (@Onkelinx) January 1, 2016
Nys said afterwards that second “feels like a victory.”
Tweede plaats met een gouden randje. Bedankt Baal, jullie waren fantastisch!
— Sven Nys (@sven_nys) January 1, 2016
Joining the chase group in the last round, Corne Van Kessel (Telenet Fidea) made a move to break away before being passed by Nys and Vanthornhout.
— 伟业 wei yuet (@wyuet) January 1, 2016
Telenet Fidea rider Toon Aerts got into the action in the eleventh hour as he joined Nys and Vanthornhout in the final lap. Aerts took the lead but lost positioning as he pitted, trailing Nys as they came into the sprint, conceding second place to the veteran.
“I made a stupid mistake there. But I’m first year pro and do not miss this experience. Those are things I can learn next year,” said Aerts post-race.
— GProctor (@CrossSportif) January 1, 2016
The solo victory by a 1:12 lead places Van Aert as the likely winner of the Bpost Bank Trofee series. One race remains with Van Aert nearly seven minutes ahead of his closest rival Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games).
Canadian Jeremy Martin was the lone North American racing today, finishing in 27th.
Not everyone was able to keep it all together:
— Jon Cannings (@jon_cannings) January 1, 2016
2016 GP Sven Nys Bpost Bank Trofee Race Video Highlights:
2016 Bpost Bank Trofee GP Sven Nys Results - Elite Men
|1||Wout VAN AERT||BEL||22||1:00:39||80|
|7||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||25||1:02:00||17|
|8||Corne VAN KESSEL||NED||25||1:02:15||15|
|16||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||30||1:03:46|
|19||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||27||1:04:50|
|DNF||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED||31|