Pauwels bested Stybar ad Nys to take his first win of the season. © Bart Hazen

Pauwels bested Stybar ad Nys to take his first win of the season. © Bart Hazen

by Bart Hazen

Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) crowned his excellent season form with his first win of this year’s campaign in Hasselt, Belgium, today. After an exciting battle he bested his teammate and world champion Zdenek Stybar and Belgian champion Sven Nys. The two Bart’s – Wellens and Aernouts – Niels Albert, Tom Meeusen, Radomir Simunek, Rob Peeters and Diether Vanthourenhout completed the top ten. Jonathan Page finished the race in 19th, two minutes down on the winner.

Organizers worked diligently to drain the the course in Hasselt after all of last week’s rain, leaving the course dry and fast. Under sunny weather conditions, Sunweb-Revor’s Klaas Vantornout had the best start of the field – probably too fast, as he missed the first corner and hit the deck. His teammates didn’t have much fortune either as Martin Zlamalik and Sven Vanthourehout crashed in the next corner as well. All three the riders didn’t finish the race.
World champion Zdenek Stybar, returning into competition after a knee injury, took to the front of the field, followed by Belgian champion Sven Nys, Niels Albert, Kevin Pauwels, Radomir Simunek, Bart Wellens and Dieter Vanthourenhout. Nys pulled through as he wanted to take the extra points for the GVA ranking in the intermediate sprint by the end of the second lap, but a mechanical problem derailed that plan, and Stybar came along to take the maximum points.

In the third lap it was Bart Wellens who forced the pace, but he couldn’t reduce the big leading group, which actually continued to build as Bart Aernouts, Rob Peeters, Thijs van Amerongen and Tom Meeusen were able to bridge up to the front as well. Sven Nys wasn’t pleased with the big group size and accelerated again, but Stybar jumped immediately on his back wheel. After that there was a kind of cease-fire among the big guns.

In the penultimate lap, six riders – Nys, Albert, Stybar, Pauwels, Aernouts and Wellens – were still together. On the technical sand sections and beyond Nys kept pressuring his competitors, resulting in Wellens, Albert and Aernouts losing contact. Nys and his Telenet-Fidea rivals Pauwels and Stybar turned into the final lap together. In a tactical game Nys tried to get rid off his companions, but without any luck.

In the final 100 meters of the race Pauwels created a small gap to take his first win of the season. For Pauwels it’s his first win in Hasselt after finishing second twice in previous editions. Stybar held off Nys for second, completing the Telenet-Fidea dominance.

“I had more speed in the pitlane and had a gap once I was over the bridge. I gave everything I had to hold off the others,” said Pauwels after the race. “The GVA ranking isn’t really a goal now after this win. I will take it race by race and see where I will finish in the end,” said the Telenet rider, who moved up to second overall in the GVA overall series ranking, four points down on leader Stybar. Nys moved up to third.

Stybar was happy with his podium place after his  recent knee tendinitis. “I didn’t felt any pain in my knee. I am very pleased with this result and I am back on track. I am very happy that my teammate has won; he deserves it. I really look forward to the next races.”

Sven Nys was not disappointed with his third place. “I have made the race today and with a bit of luck I could have won the race. Just before the pitlane both Pauwels and Stybar passed me. I wanted to stay on Pauwels’ wheel, but Stybar prevented that. Tomorrow another chance in Gavere.”

Wellens (4th) was also pleased with his result. “My legs felt really good today. I had the best legs of the whole season. This promises for tomorrow if I will recover well. I feel my best form is coming and that’s pleasing me”.

Jim Aernouts Wins Thrilling U23 Race over van der Haar
Belgian champion Jim Aernouts (BKCP-Powerplus) has won the U23 race after an thrilling race from European Champion Lars van der Haar. Belgian Vincent Baestaens completed the podium. Marcel Meisen, Corne van Kessel, Joeri Adams, Twan van den Brand, Micki van Empel, Vinnie Braet and Wietse Bosmans rounded off the top 10.

Dutch Tijmen Eising had the best start, but it was his compatriot Lars van der Haar who took the lead halfway through the first lap. The Rabobankrider was joined by Belgians Jim Aernouts and Vincent Baestaens. Baestaens couldn’t handle the pace one lap further along and fell back in a chasing group with Corne van Kessel, Micki van Empel, Joeri Adams, Marcel Meisen, Twan van den Brand, Wietse Bosmans and Vinnie Braet.

Halfway through the race van der Haar misjudged a corner and crashed. He quickly jumped on the bike again and rejoined Aernouts in the penultimate lap. Aernouts didn’t want to wait for the sprint and kept the pressure on for the final lap. Turning onto the asphalt section towards the finish, van der Haar’s backwheel slipped away and he wasn’t able to bridge up to the Belgian again. Baestaens was the best in the sprint of the chasing group for third over Meisen and van Kessel.

“I wanted to avoid a sprint against Lars”, stated Aernouts after the race. “I tried to surprise him in the sandbox but faltered. After the double bridge and the stairs section in the final part of the race I saw I created a small gap and gave everything I had. This is a very beautiful win”

European Champion Lars van der Haar was a little disappointed after the race. “Jim created a small gap after the stairs. In the right turn my backwheel slippedaway and I couldn’t bridge up. Normally I’m the faster in the sprint”.

Daniel Summerhill (22nd), Jerome Townsend (30th) and Jeremy Ferguson (34th) were the only Americans in the race.

Joeri Adams (sixth) stays in the overall lead of the GVA. Aernouts and van der Haar are second and third in the series, respectively.

The win in the youth races went to Diether Sweeck (Juniors) and Mathieu van der Poel (Beginners). Yannick Eckmann finished in 11th in the Juniors’ race.

Photo Gallery

Full Results:

Elite Men

1 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team 1:01:19
2 Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:03
3 Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:00:05
4 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:07
5 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team
6 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:20
7 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:25
8 Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:29
9 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
10 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
11 Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team 0:00:41
12 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team 0:00:45
13 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:47
14 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus 0:00:49
15 Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team 0:00:51
16 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Rendement Hypo Cycling Team 0:01:35
17 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco – Revor Cycling Team 0:01:47
18 Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team
19 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike
20 Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS 0:01:51
21 Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team 0:02:32
22 Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team
23 Jan Verstraete
24 Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)
25 Tom Vannoppen (Bel)
26 Marco Bianco (Ita)
27 Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team
28 Stijn Huys (Bel) 0:03:46
29 Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team 0:03:51
30 Kevin Cant (Bel) 0:04:03
31 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem – Prorace 0:04:13
32 Patrick Gaudy (Bel) 0:04:20
33 Jo Pirotte 0:04:55
34 Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv
35 Daan Bongers
36 Rob Vangenechten
37 Jorge Cantalicio
38 Caballero Candelas
39 Niels Vaes

U23 Men

1 Jim Aernouts (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:49:50
2 Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Rabo – Giant Offroad Team.
3 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:10
4 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Team Kuota – Senges
5 Corné Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team
6 Joeri Adams (Bel) Rabo – Giant Offroad Team.
7 Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) ZZPR.NL
8 Micki van Empel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:27
9 Vinnie Braet (Bel) Sunweb Revor 0:00:35
10 Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:01:02
11 David Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus 0:01:37
12 Kristof Cop (Bel) APB cycling team 0:01:40
13 Jens Adams (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus 0:01:51
14 Ritchie Denolf (Bel) Baboco – Revor Cycling Team 0:01:59
15 Tijmen Eising (Ned) Sunweb Revor
16 Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb Revor
17 Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) APB cycling team
18 Matteo Trentin (Ita) 0:02:29
19 Sonny Volders (Bel) APB cycling team
20 Floris De Tier (Bel) Baboco – Revor Cycling Team 0:03:13
21 Kobus Hereygers (Ned) ZZPR.NL
22 Daniel Summerhill (USA) Holowesko Partners/Felt/Garmin
23 Niels Koyen (Bel) APB cycling team
24 Jonatan Bervoets (Bel) APB cycling team
25 Stijn Mortelmans (Bel) Palmans-Cras 0:04:00
26 Jeffrey Mellemans (Bel) Heylen Meubelcentrale Zlwc St.Truiden 0:04:18
27 Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW
28 Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) KDL Trans
29 Sieën Veestraeten (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg
30 Jerome Townsend (USA) 0:04:52
31 Bart Barkhuis (Ned) 0:05:29
32 Dario Stauble (Swi)
33 Jelle Cant (Bel) Van Goethem – Prorace – cycling team 0:07:05
34 Zeb Veestraeten (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg
35 Jeremy Ferguson (USA)
36 Matthias Boetens (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team
37 Vincent Van Hooste (Bel) Asfra Racing Team
38 Bert Vermeiren (Bel) Revor Cycling Team
39 Dennis Coenen (Bel)
40 Allan Veenstra (Bel)
41 Mike Van Aken (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW
42 Niels Dirikx (Bel)
43 John De Schutter (Bel)
44 Kenn Vanoppen (Bel)
45 Nick Van Overbeke (Bel)
46 Joachim Janssens (Bel) Cyclocrossteam Freddy Sport Dilbeek
47 Ruben Van Dingenen (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg
48 Robin Delanghe (Bel) Kon. Balen B.C. V.Z.W.
49 Yves Jeurissen (Bel)
50 Sander Maes (Bel)
51 Gregory Van Gansen (Bel)


1 Diether Sweeck (Bel) KDL Trans 0:39:21
2 Laurens Sweeck (Bel) KDL Trans 0:00:08
3 Toon Aerts (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW 0:00:17
4 Maxim Panis (Bel) Bodysol- Lotto Cycling Team Menen Vzw 0:00:29
5 Daan Hoeyberghs (Bel) Kon. Balen B.C. V.Z.W. 0:00:36
6 Jorn Claes (Bel) UCS Crabbé- Performance
7 Jeroen Meijers (Ned) A.Sp.Loisirs Hautevilloi
8 Pjotr Van Beek (Ned) 0:01:18
9 Twan Brusselman (Ned) 0:01:39
10 Niels Ooms (Bel) 0:01:43
11 Yannick Eckmann (Ger) 0:02:01
12 Jelto Veroft (Bel) K.W.C. Heist Zuiderkempen V.Z.W. 0:02:29
13 Joni Geeraerts (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg 0:02:33
14 Timo Verschueren (Bel) WSC Hand In Hand Baal 0:02:39
15 Sibe Smets (Bel) 0:02:42
16 Gillian Veestraeten (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg 0:02:48
17 Gertjan Bervoets (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg 0:03:11
18 Jeffrey Jansegers (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW 0:03:20
19 Toon Wouters (Bel) Isorex Cycling Team 0:03:30
20 Hugo Robinson (GBr) 0:03:38
21 Tijs Huygen (Bel) K.W.C. Heist Zuiderkempen V.Z.W. 0:04:02
22 Onno Verheyen (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW 0:04:11
23 Lorenzo Pepermans (Bel) De Dijlespurters V.V. Mechelen
24 Stig Callay (Bel) 0:04:48
25 Jorne Kockaerts (Bel) Cycling Team 99 V.Z.W. Schriek
26 Glenn Vissers (Bel) DCM-GB Vorselaar Cycling team VZW 0:05:07
27 Kenneth Van Dessel (Bel) K.W.C. Heist Zuiderkempen V.Z.W. 0:05:32
28 Alexander Hanquet (Bel)
29 Birger Vandael (Bel) Sport En Steun – Leopoldsburg 0:05:39
30 Nicholas De Laet (Bel) Isorex Cycling Team 0:05:59
31 Jago Goedefroy (Bel) KSC Dendersteek Labiekes
32 Alexander Verslegers (Bel) WSC Hand In Hand Baal
33 Bavo Haemels (Bel) De Dijlespurters V.V. Mechelen
34 Neals De Graef (Bel) Koninklijke Hoboken W.A.C. VZW
35 Wouter Nuyes (Bel) Kempens Wielerverbond- Turnhout V.Z.W.
36 Nicki Thomas (Can)
37 Tom Vandikkelen (Bel) Heylen Meubelcentrale Zlwc St.Truiden