Sven Nys takes Koksijde World Cup in disputed sprint over Kevin Pauwels
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sven Nys takes Koksijde World Cup in disputed sprint over Kevin Pauwels

by Ben Atkins at 10:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
Kannibaal closes the door after the Belgian dunes fail to separate the World’s top two

sven nysSven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) won his fifth edition of the Duinencross – the third round of the in Koksijde, Belgium in a disputed sprint finish over Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor). With the two riders locked together over the final two laps of the race, Nys attacked around the final corner and hit the finishing straight first. As Pauwels tried to come around the Lanbouwkrediet rider, the latter moved towards the barriers and closed the gap; he sat up in protest as Nys crossed the line, but his team's official appeal to the race jury was rejected and the result was allowed to stand.

Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant) took third place, just six seconds behind the disputed sprint, to complete an all-Belgian podium, after leaving World champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) behind on the penultimate lap.

“It was a sprint on the ragged edge,” Nys told the Sporza TV cameras. “Because of my soft tyres I almost flew off the road near the sprint, but I managed to hold it.

“What happened in the sprint?” he asked. “I closed the door within the rules while Kevin was behind me. If he’d been alongside me I wouldn’t have done, because then he might have crashed.

“I’m very happy with my victory,” he added of his fifth in the Duinencross. “I built quietly and had the race under control.”

Pauwels was less satisfied that Nys’ sprint was legal; “Nys started his sprint on the left and finished on the right,” he said to the Sporza cameras.

“I was almost alongside him but I had no way of getting past,” he explained. “I think I would have crashed if I’d kept sprinting. It’s a pity because besides that I could have won.

“Nys was a bit stronger in the sand,” Pauwels admitted, “but on the straights I was able to come back. Maybe I was the strongest."

With the usual wet weather still refusing to arrive in Belgium, the race was run over a dry course once more. Unlike in the majority of races though, which are run over mostly muddy courses, the sand of the Koksijde dunes was enough to force a number of selections early on. Before long the four-man group of Nys, Pauwels, Aernouts and Stybar had formed, which was reduced to just the first two with two laps to go.

The final fifteen minutes of racing saw a fascinating battle between the wily experience and sand-riding skill of Nys, and the near-unstoppable form of Pauwels. In what could be a dress-rehearsal for next year’s World championships, which will be run on the same course at the end of January, it took a tight sprint to separate them.

Pauwels gets the hole shot as the dunes break the field early

The usual frantic start saw World Cup leader Pauwels get the hole shot and, since he and Stybar were the only ones to get up the first short climb on their bikes, the pair of them pulled away in an early lead. The two former teammates were steadily pulled back by a long line of chasers though, led by Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea).

Nys was caught in traffic and frequently forced to dismount, but was steadily making his way forward.

Pauwels, Stybar, Meeusen and Aernouts were now away, with French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) and Klaas Vantournout (Sunweb-Revor) trying hard to latch on.

Behind them a group, led by Nys’ Landbouwkrediteammate Sven Vanthourenhout was chasing hard; at the end of lap one the gap between them was eight seconds, which Nys made short work of closing as the race hit the sand dunes for the second time.

The two groups were briefly one as Nys bridged, but accelerations at the front meant that the original group of four broke clear once more. Mourey and Nys were fighting hard to regain contact, with Vantournout chasing hard behind, but the rest of the field was now far behind.

As the four leaders slowed to look at one another across the finish line – with two laps down and seven to go – the three chasers managed to make contact. However a stumble from Stybar on the first steep dune saw Pauwels, Meeusen and Aernouts briefly clear.

On the long sand section, where riders had to shoulder their bikes, Nys suddenly accelerated past the others to assume the lead of the race. Pauwels immediately stuck himself to his big rival’s wheel and the two of them began to work clear of the rest; the rest of the group was chasing frantically though, with Meeusen, then Stybar, Aernouts, Mourey and Vantournout making contact.

The form men put pressure on the flat before Nys, the sand-master, takes control

On the next hard sandy section though, Meeusen stumbled as Nys accelerated and the Kannibaal suddenly opened up a wide gap. Meeusen was leading the chase once more, but another stumble at the top of a dune saw Pauwels and Stybar pass; across the line with six to go Nys led the two of them by four seconds, with Aernouts and Meeusen just behind.

On the fast rolling mud section of the course Stybar pulled Pauwels and Aernouts across to Nys; as the race hit the sand once more though the four-time winner reapplied the pressure and it was all the rest could do to hang on. Meeusen was having real problems on the sand now and was drifting backwards, away from the four leaders.

As Nys put the pressure once more, on yet another steep dune, it was Stybar’s turn to have problems and the World champion was briefly distanced. Pauwels took his turn at the front as Nys took his foot off the gas for a moment, and the four were all together across the finish line once again.

As the World Cup leader began to apply the pressure Nys found himself dropping back to Stybar, but the four leaders were together once more as they carried their bikes across the long, soft sand section. Meeusen was still fighting alone, ten seconds behind the group; neither making nor losing ground on them.

Aernouts took his turn on the front and the Rabobank-Giant rider managed to put Stybar under pressure once more. Meanwhile, behind the still-chasing Meeusen, his Telenet-Fidea captain Bart Wellens was leading Mourey and Vantournout across.

As the leading four reached the end of the lap, with four to go, Nys accelerated and took the front of the group; Stybar led into the dunes though, with the four riders seemingly inseparable.

Perhaps in advance of anticipated problems on the soft sand, Stybar opened a gap in the fast mud section. Nys was on him as they carried their bikes across the dunes, and the four left the sand together once more; the difference this time though was that the World champion was on the front, instead of chasing off the back.

The Quick Step rider continued to apply the pressure, particularly on the faster sections of the course, but Nys, Pauwels and Aernouts – constantly in that order – refused to be shaken. Meeusen was still in no man’s land between the two groups, but a problem for Mourey delayed the chasing three behind him, making his fifth place a little safer.

Across the line with three to go Meeusen had closed the gap by a few seconds; as Stybar accelerated on the front once more though, there seemed little chance of the 23-year-old catching up.

Nys shows his dominance on the dunes but Pauwels’ power is a match for him

Nys accelerated on the soft dune section of the lap, managing to stay on his bike where the others shouldered theirs, and he was away alone once more. Pauwels saw him go and accelerated away from the other two in pursuit, managing to catch the Kannibaal before the next big sandy part of the course. However Nys is a master of this surface, and Pauwels was unable to hold on to his wheel as he accelerated through the next soft section.

Behind the two leaders Aernouts was leading Stybar in pursuit, but the gap was already looking un-closable.

Pauwels led over the line with two to go, with the two chasers six seconds back. Just as Stybar had done before him, the Sunweb-Revor rider tried to put pressure on Nys on the fast mud section but, as soon as they hit the sand once more, the veteran racer came past.

Suddenly Nys accelerated on the firm section himself, then a mistake from Pauwels at the top of a short, steep dune saw his lead open further. Both were tiring now though, and mistakes from both, as the sand made traction and balance difficult, saw them back together once more as they approached the bell.

The two leaders all-but freewheeled across the line to start the last lap, as Aernouts fought to catch up, some ten seconds behind. They were seemingly glued together over the first steep dune, as Pauwels stuck himself to Nys’ back wheel.

It was Nys’ turn to have trouble on the sand this time, but he was skilful enough to stop Pauwels from taking advantage; as they looked at one another again, Aernouts was edging ever closer.

The fast mud track saw another attack from Pauwels and he managed to open a small gap; as they hit the sand once more though, Nys managed to claw him back and they were locked together once more. Pauwels led through the sand again, meaning Nys was unable to use his superior skill over the surface.

With Aernouts gaining on them at the final corner, Nys opened up his sprint. The Landbouwkrediet rider had a clear lead as they entered the finishing straight but, as Pauwels tried to go between him and the barriers, he moved over and closed the gap.

Pauwels sat up, waving his arms in protest at Nys’ line, as the Kannibaal crossed the Koksijde finish line first for the fifth time. The Sunweb-Revor team officially protested, but the race jury ruled that Nys had done nothing wrong and the result was confirmed.

Aernouts crossed the line six seconds back, to take a hard-fought third place, with Stybar following him 45 seconds back. Meeusen managed to hold off a challenge from Vantournout to finish just six seconds behind the World champion in fifth.

Pauwels holds on to his World Cup lead, with a new total of 220 points, but Nys is now just five points behind in second place. Nys’ now has two victories in the three races of the series so far, but the younger man’s greater consistency sees him hold on to the jersey.


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Koksijde World Cup Results:

  Click on the arrowsat the top of the column to sort the race results.
Country Result Name Team Time
bel BEL 1 Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
bel BEL 2 Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Revor) s.t.
bel BEL 3 Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) s.t.
cze CZE 4 Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) s.t.
bel BEL 5 Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team) s.t.
bel BEL 6 Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb - Revor) s.t.
fra FRA 7 Francis Mourey (Française Des Jeux) s.t.
bel BEL 8 Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team) s.t.
bel BEL 9 Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
fra FRA 10 Nicolas Bazin (Big Mat - Auber 93) s.t.
ned NED 11 Thijs Van Amerongen (AA Cycling Team) s.t.
pol POL 12 Mariusz Gil () s.t.
ita ITA 13 Enrico Franzoi (BKCP-Powerplus) s.t.
ned NED 14 Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) s.t.
bel BEL 15 Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus) s.t.
esp ESP 16 Egoitz Murgoitio () s.t.
fra FRA 17 Matthieu Boulo (Roubaix-Dalkia) s.t.
ned NED 18 Niels Wubben (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) s.t.
fra FRA 19 Steve Chainel (Française Des Jeux) s.t.
ned NED 20 Mitchell Huenders (Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam ) s.t.
ita ITA 21 Marco Bianco () s.t.
gbr GBR 22 Ian Field () s.t.
sui SUI 23 Simon Zahner (BMC Racing) s.t.
ned NED 24 Thijs Al (ZWC D.T.S. Zaandam) s.t.
ger GER 25 Christoph Pfingsten (Cycling Team De Rijke) s.t.
fra FRA 26 Aurelien Duval () s.t.
cze CZE 27 Vladimir Kyzivat () s.t.
ned NED 28 Twan Van Den Brand (Orange Babies) s.t.
ita ITA 29 Christian Cominelli () s.t.
sui SUI 30 Christian Heule () s.t.
sui SUI 31 Marcel Wildhaber () s.t.
usa USA 32 Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly Presented By Kenda) s.t.
ger GER 33 Marcel Meisen (Eddy Merckx - Indeland ) s.t.
fra FRA 34 Guillaume Perrot () s.t.
ned NED 35 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Orange Babies) s.t.
sui SUI 36 Julien Taramarcaz () s.t.
cze CZE 37 Jiri Polnicky (Sunweb - Revor) s.t.
swe SWE 38 Magnus Darvell () s.t.
bel BEL 39 Joeri Adams (Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team) s.t.
cze CZE 40 Martin Zlamalik (Sunweb - Revor) s.t.
ned NED 41 Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Orange Babies) s.t.
cze CZE 42 David Kasek () s.t.
ger GER 43 Johannes Sickmuller () s.t.
fra FRA 44 Jérome Chevalier () s.t.
pol POL 45 Marek Cichosz (Legia - Felt) s.t.
svk SVK 46 Milan Barenyi () s.t.
esp ESP 47 Isaac Suarez () s.t.
svk SVK 48 Robert Gavenda (Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team) s.t.
sui SUI 49 Rene Lang () s.t.
svk SVK 50 Martin Haring () s.t.
can CAN 51 Craig Richey () s.t.
lux LUX 52 Gusty Bausch () s.t.
esp ESP 53 Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez () s.t.
ger GER 54 Fabian Brzezinski () s.t.
den DEN 55 Joachim Parbo () s.t.
esp ESP 56 Agustin Navarro Vidal () s.t.
svk SVK 57 Robert Glajza () s.t.
lat LAT 58 Dmitriy Sorokin () s.t.
lat LAT 59 Sigvard Kukk () s.t.

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