Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) loves the Koppenberg race, and as he describes in our Issue 4 interview, he considers the first stop of the GVA Trophy series one of his favorite races of the season. Today he showed fans and competitors alike why he likes it so much: he won it for the fifth straight time, and the sixth time of his career.

The USA men had a decent showing, with Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) finishing in 17th after overcoming a poor starting position. US Junior National Champ Luke Keough finished strongly in the junior race in 7th, and Bjorn Selander finished in 11th.

The biggest surprise of the day may have been Danny Sumerhill, who rode in the lead of the espoir race before a flat tire sent him packing for the day.

2008 Koppenbergcross: One for the Ages

Nys’ teammate Rob Peeters got the early hole shot, but by the first climb, the race’s strong men had surfaced at the front, with Niels Albert (Palmans Cras) moving to the front at the top of the Koppenberg climb, bring Nys and Lars Boom (Rabobank) with him.  Boom quickly took control, with Nys content to follow, and Albert chasing.

The young Belgian was strong on the climbs, and caught the two leaders but on the downhill, he and Boom crashed, and Nys couldn’t avoid the fallen riders and hit the mud as well. Boom and Nys were quickest to get back on their bikes, but Albert would have to chase hard to rejoin. All three would crash again later in the race, as the ankle-deep mud and off-camber descents proved tricky even for the world’s best.

After Albert rejoined, he went down again on the downhill after choosing a poor line while trying to avoid a lapped rider, and Nys and Boom were gone for good. Meanwhile, Bart Wellens (Fidea) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb Projob) were chasing hard but losing ground.

Nys appeared most confident in the sloppy conditions, and after noticing his advantage in the long, muddy sections, he attacked Boom on the last lap on a downhill. Nys accelerated while riding at the very edge of the spectator barriers, seeking any available grass not covered in mud, and leaving Boom gasping behind. With a five second gap in hand, Nys survived a last lap downhill crash on an off camber hairpin turn, staying in front of Boom, as the young Dutch World Champion  went down in the same spot seconds later, cementing the final gap. The riders finished covered in mud, jersey colors and sponsors were completely covered.

Watch the race below.

2008 Koppenbergcross Elite Men’s Full Race Video:

2008 Koppenbergcross U23 – Summerhill Hits the Front

Former Junior National Champion Danny Summerhill may start bringing two pit bikes to the big races. After breaking his shifter in warm ups, he started the race with just one bike, hoping that would be enough. And when Philipp Walsleben of Germany quickly moved to the front, and Summerhill was the only one to follow, a chance of winning the famous Koppenberg race depending on that one bike.  But after two laps of leading the race with Walseben, Summerhill’s rear tire started to soften, and the untimely flat and lack of a back up bike caused the American to throw in the towel. Current Espoir National Champion Bjorn Selander rode strongly to finish 11th, three minutes behind the leader.

2008 Koppenbergcross Full Results – Elite Men:

1. Sven Nys (Bel) in 56:25
2. Lars Boom (Ned) op 0:05
3. Niels Albert (Bel) 0:42
4. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) 1:07
5. Bart Wellens (Bel) 1:15
6. Rob Peeters (Bel) 1:23
7. Bart Aernouts (Bel)
8. Petr Dlask (Cze)
9. Zdenek Stybar (Cze)
10. Jan Soetens (Bel) 1:43
11. Enrico Franzoi (Ita) 2:16
12. Thijs Al (Ned) 2:33
13. Christian Heule (Swi) 2:37
14. Richard Groenendaal (Ned) 2:47
15. Wilant van Gils (Ned) 2:50
16. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) 3:09
17. Jonathan Page (USA) 3:35
18. Gerben de Knegt (Ned) 3:54
19. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) 4:09
20. Wesley Van Der Linden (Bel) 4:25
21. Ben Berden (Bel) 4:47
22. Davy Commeyne (Bel) 4:54
23. Marco Bianco (Ita) 5:05
24. Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) 5:35
25. Martin Zlamalik (Cze) 5:43
26. Jan Verstraeten (Bel) 5:50
27. Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) 7:40
28. Stijn Huys (Bel) 7:54
29. Ian Field (GBr) 7:59
30. Gusty Bausch (Lux) 8:33.
31. Kendrick Van Grembergen (Bel) 9:27
32. Jimmy Tielens (Bel) 1 lap
33. Steven De Schoesitter (Bel) 3 laps
34. Dries Cauwelier (Bel) 5 laps
35. Jan-Willem Kamphof (Ned)

2008 Koppenbergcross Full Results – U23 Men:

1 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) 49:23
2 Sven Verboven (Bel)  0:31
3 Kevin Cant (Bel)   1:03
4 Marcel Meisen (Ger)  1:33
5 Dave De Cleyn (Bel)  1:47
6 Jan Denuwelaere (Bel)  1:58
7 Stef Boden (Bel)   2:31
8 Dries Dewit (Bel)  2:48
9 Robert Gavenda (Svk) 2:55
10 Rudy Kowalski (Fra) 3:00
11 Bjorn Selander (USA)  3:12
12 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel)  3:17
13 Gianni Denolf (Bel) 3:35
14 Michiel Dieleman (Bel)  3:40
15 Kaj Slenter (Ned) 4:00
16 Sven Beelen (Bel) 4:01
17 Kristof Cop (Bel) 4:14
18 Jan Van Zeebroeck (Bel) 4:36
19 Mauro Gonzalez (Spa)  4:52
20 Marco Minnaard (Ned)  5:00
21 Kristof Zegers (Bel)  5:11
22 Robby Cobbaert (Bel)  5:34
23 Arnaud Van den Abeele (Bel) 5:55
24 Jonatan Bervoets (Bel)  6:10
25 Mark Smit (Ned) 6:24
26 Dries Pauwels (Bel) 6:36
27 Bart Hermans (Bel)
28 Dennis Verhoeven (Bel)  6:45
29 Jeffrey Depuydt (Bel) 6:49
30 Henryk Cardoen (Bel)  7:20
31 Simon Geets (Bel) 7:32
32 Laurent Moulin (Bel)  7:39
33 Jelle Brackman (Bel)  7:55
34 Tom Desmet (Bel)  8:30
35 Dimitri Stevens (Bel) 8:58
36 Bart Barkhuis (Ned) 9:09
37 Jonas De Boey (Bel) 9:21
38 Thomas Boeckx (Bel)  10:35
39 Dany Lacroix (Bel)
40 Cristian Izquierdo (Bel)  (1 lap)
41 Cees de Ridder (Ned)  (1 lap)
42 Laurens Libbrecht (Bel) (1 lap)
43 Amadeusz Rodzinski (Pol)  (1 lap)
44 Kenneth Speltinckx (Bel)  (1 lap)
45 Lorenzo Messine (Bel) (1 lap)
46 Mateusz Chmurzewski (Pol) (1 lap)
47 Jordan Becquet (Bel)  (1 lap)
48 Sonny Vangerven (Bel) (1 lap)
49 Jean-Baptiste Taleux: (Bel) (1 lap)