The podium with (from L. to R. ): Niels Albert, Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels.  © Bart Hazen

The podium with (from L. to R. ): Niels Albert, Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels. © Bart Hazen

By David Evans

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) won Friday’s Jamaarktcross in a Niel builders’ yard, his fourth win in seven years at this race. The unusual course, full of ruts, sharp inclines and sandbag-lined chicanes, produced a race that rewarded Nys’s well timed efforts and punished the minor misfortunes of Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus).

French racer Arnaud Jouffroy (Telenet-Fidea) took the hole shot, with teammate Tom Meeusen stalking him a mere bike length back. The twisty course allowed for riders near the front to test the elastic of the 38-rider long strung-out pack. Eventually Matthieu Boulo (Roubaix Lille Metropole) and Marcel Meisen (Eddy Merckx-Indeland) shot off the front, forging a gap that hovered around seven seconds. A short-lived chase group of five riders, including Sven Nys, gained five bike lengths on the rest of the race, but were consumed back into the pack as it became clear the Boulo and Meisen’s move would stick. The pack relaxed, riding four abreast on the cobbled back straightaway.

Niels Albert, heading the chase, developed a mechanical problem. This caused him to hesitate, allowing two riders around him to push past him during the transition between the builders’ yard and off-cambered field of hairpin turns. Albert was forced into a bike change, and rejoined the race in a fairly anonymous position.

The advantage of the leading pair quickly rose to above 20 seconds, before Meisen began flagging and Boulo found himself alone at the head of the race. After 25 minutes of racing, Nys attacked from the chase. Within the first three quarters of the fourth lap he had chewed up Buolo’s lead, and the race behind intensified accordingly.

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) seemed animated on the more technical sections of the race, building a gap of just a few bike lengths to Nys and the valiant but tired Buolo. Niels Albert, having worked his way through the pack after his bike change, worked hard to attach himself to Pauwels’ wheel.

Buolo, having worked relentlessly from the first lap of the race, lost contact with Nys, who was now free to defend his 20 second advantage for the remainder of the race. Pauwels, obviously the fresher rider in his partnership with Albert, attempted several short digs before making one stick. He passed Buolo, by now dipping his shoulders as he tried to hold on to the fruits of his earlier labors, but had no realistic chance of catching Nys.

Buolo was eventually passed by Albert as well as the race entered the last two laps. A sense of the race being over came over the riders: Nys cruised to the finish, Pauwels began waving to the crowd with a few corners left and Albert looked dejected, having ridden the hardest race of all due to his early mechanical and need to work his way through the pack for only the lowest step of the podium.

Other notable parts of the race include two giant bunnyhops by Telenet-Fidea’s Tom Meeusen that allowed him to clear a rut in a field in unique style, despite doubts over the efficiency of the move, and Rob Peeters (Telenet Fidea) rolling a tubular on seemingly flat and straight part of the course.

Results follow gallery

Gallery by Bart Hazen:


1 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:58:08
2 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:22
3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb Revor 0:00:38
4 Mathieu Boulo (Fra) 0:00:49
5 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:01:05
6 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco – Revor Cycling Team
7 Aurélien Duval (Fra)
8 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:01:12
9 Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus 0:01:25
10 Tom Van den Bosch (Bel)
11 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink/ Pro 0:01:36
12 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:01:56
13 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabo – Giant Offroad Team.
14 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:02:00
15 Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team
16 Martin Zlamalik (Cze) KDL-Landbouwkrediet
17 Micki van Empel (Ned)
18 Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team
19 Laurens Sweeck (Bel) 0:02:56
20 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team
21 Kevin Cant (Bel) 0:03:34
22 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb Revor
23 Geert Wellens (Bel)
-1lap Yannick Mayer (Ger)
-1lap Dries Pauwels (Bel) Van Goethem – Prorace – cycling team
-2laps Emil Olsen (Den)
-3laps Stijn Mortelmans (Bel)
-3laps Rudy Kowalsky (Fra)
-4laps Camille Dubois (Fra)