Sven Nys wins Cauberg Cyclocross from the front
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sven Nys wins Cauberg Cyclocross from the front

by Ben Atkins at 11:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
Belgian champion rides away from the field as two punctures foil World champion Niels Albert; Marianne Vos wins yet again

sven nysSven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) took victory number fifteen of the season in his classic solo style in the second edition of the Cauberg Cyclocross, in Valkenburg, Netherlands. The Belgian champion rode away from the rest of the field on the muddy course, to finish several seconds clear of Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor), who took his best result of the year.

The race could have been very different, had it not been for two punctures in quick succession for World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus). Albert was challenging Nys when the first one struck, and was making his way back through the field once again as he was hit by the second. The late season form - which saw him take his second rainbow jersey in Koksijde two weeks before - showed though, as Albert fought back to take second place, ahead of Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor).

"It was a technical and treacherous course", said Nys at the finish, according to Sporza. "Any mistake was made worse; I had good rhythm.

"Niels twice had a puncture at a bad time, otherwise we probably would have had a different race,” he admitted. “He was strong."

Fifteen victories this season for Nys is a far cry from his heyday in the middle of the previous decade; for the 35-year-old it has been a success however, and he has wrapped up an incredible eleventh overall victory in the season-long Superprestige series.

"I wanted to win at least one classification this year and that has been successful,” said the Kannibaal. “In the other rankings [World Cup and GvA Trofee - ed] I’m on the podium.

“Moreover, I have a nice Belgian jersey,” he added, in reference to his eighth national title. “The World Championships was a disappointment, but I'm very happy with my season"

Nys hit the front early, and steadily rode the rest of the field off his wheel. The only rider seeming able to compete with the Belgian champion was Albert but, just as he had fought his way almost to the Belgian champion’s wheel, the World champion suffered the first of his punctures; he was a long way from the pits, and drifted back to the chasing pack as he lost traction in the sticky mud.

Having collected a new bike from the pits - as many riders were doing every lap - Albert was beginning to close in on the long Nys once more; a second flat knocked him back again though, effectively ending his challenge.

Vantornout emerged from the pack as the biggest challenger, but never looked like catching up with Nys, who was reveling in the conditions of one of the few truly muddy races of the season. Pauwels, meanwhile, had pulled clear of the rest, but he too was being hunted down by a clearly in-form Albert.

The World champion caught up with Pauwels just before the final lap, and managed to leave him behind as he sought to catch up with Vantornout.

There was a brief scare for Vantornout, as he slid off in the mud on the final lap; the incident only proved to widen the gap to Nys a little, and narrow the one to Albert, but the lanky Sunweb-Revor rider was in no real danger of losing his position.

Nys, all alone and out of danger in the lead, crossed the line in familiar fashion, to take yet another victory, with Vantornout taking his best result of the season behind him. Albert, having passed Pauwels, managed to hold off “the rider of the year” to take the final step on the podium.

Women’s race plays host to yet another Marianne Vos show

Victory in the women’s event was win number seventeen out of eighteen races this season for World champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank), who yet again came out on top over soon-to-retire compatriot Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink-Leontien.nl). Taking yet another podium place this season was Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea), whose maiden international victory is surely not far away.

Like most of Vos’ races this season, the World champion got away early and rode alone to the finish, 1’33” ahead of the rest, to successfully defend her Cauberg title; behind her though, it was a much closer battle. Harris was the best of the rest for much of the race, spending most of the time as the second-placed rider on the course, ahead of van den Brand. In the final lap though, the British number two faded a little, allowing van den Brand to come past to take yet another second place behind the World champion.

Result Cauberg Cyclocross Elite Men
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
2. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
4. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
5. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
6. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl
7. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
8. Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team
9. Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team
10. Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team

Result Cauberg Cyclocross Elite Women
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank
2. Daphny van den Brand (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl
3. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
4. Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Brainwash Wielerploeg
5. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing
6. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
7. Sabrina Stultiëns (Ned) Brainwash Wielerploeg
8. Sanne Cant (Bel) Boxx Veldritacademie
9. Arenda Grimberg (Ned) Netherlands
10. Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren

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