Sven Nys gives a cyclocross masterclass to take the Hamme-Zogge Superprestige
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sven Nys gives a cyclocross masterclass to take the Hamme-Zogge Superprestige

by Ben Atkins at 10:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
Belgian champion rides most of the race alone to take his seventh Bollekescross

sven nysSven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) gave the rest of the field a cyclocross masterclass in the Bollekescross, the third round of the 2012/13 Superprestige in Hamme-Zogge, Belgium. The Belgian champion escaped from a select group partway around the third lap of the race and, never looking back, managed to ride the rest of the race alone to take his 58th race victory in the season-long series.

Behind Nys, a four-man group of Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), Lars van der Haar (Rabobank-Giant), Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) and Bart Aernouts (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) did its best to close down “Mr Superprestige”, but his lead grew steadily with every lap.

As Pauwels suffered a mechanical problem, then Aernouts found himself dropped, the battle for second came down to just Albert and van der Haar; a final lap surge from Albert, the elite World champion, saw him take it from van der Haar, the under-23 one.

The mud of the previous day’s Jaarmarktcross - won by Albert - had gone, with the going mostly firm on the largely flat Hamme-Zogge course. Bike changes were few and far between, but technical issues were to have their say in deciding the podium places.

Van der Haar was first out of the blocks and led the race off the tarmac and onto the muddy fields with Sunweb-Revor duo Klaas Vantornout and Pauwels at the front of the pack behind him. Vantornout soon moved ahead of the young Dutchman, taking up his usual early front position, with Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) also managing to push his way through. The rest of the field was lined up behind Vantornout however, as he led over the race’s unique double-height bridge.

Into the second half of the lap van der Haar retook the lead , and his acceleration pulled a large group clear; all the big names were present, and Peeters led across the line to start lap two.

Shortly before they hit the big bridge for a second time, Nys manoeuvred his way to the front of what was a long string of riders and began to lift the pace. Peeters followed, with Pauwels just behind him, but the Telenet-Fidea rider was forced to yield and allow the Belgian champion to pull a small group clear.

Pauwels managed to go with Nys, with van der Haar and Aernouts behind them. This foursome began to edge clear; World champion Albert was still in traffic - having had problems at the start - and was a long way down the strung out line of the chasing pack.

Pauwels then took control at the front, which proved too much for Aernouts; Nys and van der Haar stuck close to the Sunweb-Revor captain however, while Aernouts - showing the tenacity that had seen him take second in the Jaarmarktcross the day before - clawed his way back up to them as they finished the lap.

Van der Haar falters, Nys is away and Mr Superprestige never looks back

Nys then took control and, as van der Haar stumbled at the top of a small drop off, the Belgian champion was able to move clear. Pauwels was leading the chase but, as he crossed the line at the end of lap three, Mr Superprestige was six seconds clear and showing no signs of slowing.

Another near-flawless lap from Nys saw his lead edge out to ten seconds as, behind him, Aernouts did all he could to hold on to Pauwels and van der Haar. Albert meanwhile, had broken clear of the traffic and - after a huge chase across the gap - was about to make contact with the rear of the three-man group.

Van der Haar looked to be moving away at the front, so Albert came around Pauwels and Aernouts to close down the World under-23 champion. Suddenly the elite World champion’s arm came down to beat his bars in frustration as he suffered a puncture; despite it no being far from the pits, Albert was forced to let the group go, and faced another hard chase to make it up again.

By the end of the lap Nys’ lead was up to 15 seconds, with Albert another five seconds back. Throughout the course of the next lap, the World champion managed to fight his way back up again, but the effort meant that he was to struggle to hold on to the three others as they did what they could to close the gap on Nys.

The gap had risen to 27 seconds by the time the Belgian champion crossed the line however.

As van der Haar took the front again, it was to be Pauwels’ turn to suffer a mechanical problem, as his chain came off in the short, lumpy, wooded section. Van der Haar pulled Albert away, as Aernouts began to struggle again, but the race looked to be over for Pauwels as his chain forced him to stop again.

With Nys’ lead growing - as he seemingly rode to his third straight Superprestige victory of the season - van der Haar was behind him trying to deny Albert a third straight second place. The 21-year-old continually edged his way clear of the elite World champion, who had put so much into his two chases earlier in the race; behind them, Pauwels had caught up with Aernouts, but neither looked like they were going to be able to influence the race podium.

Albert found his second wind into the penultimate lap, and it was his turn to put pressure on van der Haar. The young Dutchman clung to the Belgian’s rear wheel though, and the two World champions appeared as though they were heading towards a sprint for second place.

On the final lap, a big surge from Albert managed to finally see van der Haar dropped, but Nys was cruising to victory a long way ahead by now. The Belgian champion had plenty of time to sit up and calmly punch the sky, as he took yet another victory in the series that all-but belongs to him.

Albert rolled over the line behind Nys, with van der Haar sprinting up to him to make the margin of defeat a little smaller, while a long sprint between Aernouts and Pauwels saw the AA Drink-Leontien.nl rider take fourth.

Sanne van Paassen resumes early-season domination in women’s race

Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank Giant) bounced back from her defeats in the two previous weekend - in the Plzeň World Cup and European championships - to take victory in the women’s race. The 24-year-old Dutchwoman managed to come out on top at the end of a long battle with Czech Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea) and take her fourth victory of the the season so far.

Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) managed to win her own battle for third place over the previous day’s Soudal Jaarmarktcross victor, Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea), as the British rider - who was the only front runner to have started the Niel race - feeling the aftereffects of her win on the tough, muddy course.

Result Elite Men
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
2. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
3. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team
4. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink-Leontien.nl
5. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
6. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
7. Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
8. Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus
9. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
10. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus

Result Elite Women
1. Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team
2. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
3. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
4. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
5. Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team
6. Ellen van Loy (Bel) Kriekel Cycling Team Tessenderlo
7. Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren
8. Amy Dombroski (USA) Telenet-Fidea
9. Lana Verberne (Ned) RTC Buitenlust
10. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Fra) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team

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