by Bart Hazen of The Daily Peloton

The Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee (GVA Trophy Series) continued in Essen (December 13) with the fourth race of this prestigious series. In the cold but dry weather conditions it was Belgian Sven Nys who was once again the best. Czech Zdenek Stybar, who stayed with Nys until the final lap, finished second. Dutch Thijs Al rounded off the podium. With the win Nys increased his lead in the Gazet van Antwerpen trofee on his competitors.
The Dutch riders Thijs Al and World Champion Lars Boom, who returned in competition after illness and a training camp on Lanzarote, had the best start. At the end of the first lap twelve riders were up front.

As the group was too big Nys attacked and on one of the small hills in the woods, many of the other riders made a mistake and had to dismount. Quickly Nys was a few seconds ahead on the first chasers Bart Wellens, Lars Boom, Sven Vanthourenhout, Zdenek Stybar and DieterVanthourenhout. At the end of the second lap Bart Wellens, second in the GVA trofee, crashed and lost some places in the battle for the GVA sprint.

Sven Nys took the intermediate sprint and the three points for the ranking ahead of Zdenek Stybar and Lars Boom. Stybar attacked with the chasers and over halfway the third lap Stybar bridged across to Nys. At the end of the third lap both Nys and Stybar had a lead of ten seconds on Boom, Simunek and Sven Vanthourenhout followed by Wellens, Dieter Vanthourenhout, Bart Aernouts and Gerben de Knegt at 22 seconds. Kevin Pauwels and Richard Groenendaal were 30 seconds behind.

Lap by lap Nys and Stybar increased their lap on the chasing group and with six of nine laps, were already up to 40 seconds on eight chasers including Wellens, Boom and Vanthourenhout.

In the penultimate lap, Thijs Al and Bart Aernouts attacked out of the chasing group to battle for the third place. But up front the leading two stayed together until halfway through the final lap when Stybar made a little mistake on one of the hills in the woods. Nys immediately accelerated, gaining a few seconds which was all he needed. Stybar, who lives in Essen, finished second on his home soil, and Thijs Al finished as a surprising third. The win by Nys is a historical one as he won for the fifth time in his career in Essen. Wellens missed his chance of making the same record as he also had won the race in Essen four times previously.

The U23 race was won by German Philipp Walsleben. Walsleben attacked in the final to win the race solo. His opponents Jim Aernouts and Kenneth van Compernolle completed the podium. Danny van Poppel won the race in the beginners category and Wietse Bosmans won in the junior category.

The GVA will continue in Loenhout on December 30.

Result Elite Men
1 Sven Nys Landbouwkrediet
2 Zdenek Stybar Fidea Cycling Team
3 Thijs Al Be One
4 Bart Aernouts Rabobank Continental Team
5 Kevin Pauwels Fidea Cycling Team
6 Bart Wellens Fidea Cycling Team
7 Sven Vanthourenhout Sunweb Projob
8 Dieter Vanthourenhout Palmans-Cras
9 Lars Boom Rabobank Continental Team
10 Richard Groenendaal AA Cycling Team
11 Gerben De Knegt Rabobank Continental Team
12 Radomir Simunek Palmans-Cras
13 Rob Peeters Landbouwkrediet
14 Tom Van Den Bosch Rendementhypo Cycling Team
15 Ben Berden Revor Cycling Team
16 Mariusz Gil
17 Petr Dlask Fidea Cycling Team
18 David Willemsens Revor Cycling Team
19 Marek Cichosz
20 Patrick Van Leeuwen
21 Wilant Van Gils ZZPR.NL
22 Jan Verstraeten Sunweb Projob
23 Thijs Van Amerongen Van Vliet – EBH advocaten – Elshof
24 Marco Bianco
25 Tim Heemskerk
26 Andre Sutton
27 Steven De Schoesitter Rudyco Cycling Team
28 Freddy De Meester Rijschool AH – Gentse VS

Result U23 (top 20)
1 Philipp Walsleben Palmans-Cras
2 Jim Aernouts Palmans-Cras
3 Kenneth Van Compernolle Sunweb Projob
4 Vincent Baestaens Fidea Cycling Team
5 Lukas Kloucek Sunweb ProJob
6 Mitchell Huenders Asito Cycling Team
7 Ramon Sinkeldam Rabobank
8 Twan Van Den Brand
9 Jan Van Dael Sunweb ProJob
10 Tom Meeusen Fidea Cycling Team
11 Jan Denuwelaere Rendementhypo Cycling Team
12 Quentin Bertholet Fidea Cycling Team
13 Stef Boden AA Cycling Team
14 Boy Van Poppel Rabobank
15 Sven Verboven Palmans-Cras
16 Tomasz Repinski
17 Gianni Denolf Palmans-Cras
18 Kevin Cant AVB Cycling Team
19 Bart Bruyndonckx
20 Dave De Cleyn Scott USA Cycling Team