Cyclocross World Cup: Sven Nys wins on the Roubaix track with a late late attack
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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Cyclocross World Cup: Sven Nys wins on the Roubaix track with a late late attack

by Ben Atkins at 10:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
Belgian champion best of a four-man lead group; Katie Compton crashes but wins women’s race

sven nysSven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) powered away from a four-man leading group on the final technical sections of the final lap to win the Roubaix, France, round of the cyclocross World Cup. Recovering from a less-than-brilliant start, the Belgian champion made it up to the lead group, which was steadily whittled down to just himself, World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) and Swiss champion Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Racing).

On the fast, firm course, the four riders rode a cagey final few laps of the race, with nobody able to escape the rest, until a powerful move from Nys on the technical section of the course - above the iconic velodrome’s banking - managed to force a little daylight between himself and Albert. Once clear, Nys kept the pressure on all the way to the line, to finish just two seconds clear of Pauwels - who overtook the struggling Albert - with the World champion finishing third.

Victory for Nys saw him close the gap to Albert in the overall World Cup, with the World champion on 280 to Nys’ 265.

Making its return to the World Cup after a two-season absence, conditions in the Roubaix race made could hardly have been more different to the previous occaision, which had been taken by Zdeněk Štybar as he prepared to take his first World title. The thick mud of January 2010 was far drier and firmer this time, making it almost impossible for anybody to assert themselves over the rest.

The Dutch and Swiss try to take the early initiative but the Belgians are soon in control

Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Giant) led the race off the famous track and onto the playing fields; Simon Zahner (EKZ) then took over the lead, pulling Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Taramarcaz, but the rest of the field was strung out in one long peloton behind them on the firm surface.

Taramarcaz was clear and alone at the end of the first lap, with Meeusen leading the first group nine seconds behind him. With Nys back in the second group, Albert took control of the first one, but the two packs came together as the Swiss champion continued to lead.

At the start of lap three, a group made it across to Taramarcaz, which included Albert, Pauwels, van der Haar and Meeusen, but crucially not Nys, who was battling to regain contact with his rivals. By the end of the lap, this lead group had split into two, with Taramarcaz, Albert, Pauwels and Meeusen pulling away, with Nys leading the third group, with Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) more than ten seconds behind; they made contact during the course of the lap, but were now 12 seconds behind as they crossed the line.

Bunny-hopping the hurdles at the head of the chase group, Nys struck out alone in an effort to cross the gap. Radomir Simunek and Dieter Vanthourenhout (both BKCP-Powerplus) clawed the Belgian champion back, but the gap appeared to be closing; up front Meeusen was struggling to hang on as Albert forced the pace.

As Meeusen dropped off the back of the lead group at the end of lap five, however, the gap was still 11 seconds; Nys had the bit between his teeth now though, and - leaving the two BKCP-Powerplus riders behind - was closing in on Meeusen. He soon caught and passed him, but Albert was continuing to push the pace at the head of the race and the Belgian champion was only slowly closing.

Nys makes it up to the leaders and the race begins to take shape

The gap was still six seconds across the finish line, but was getting lower as the leaders hit the hurdles again; on the twisting corners of the backfield, Albert saw that they were about to be caught and eased up, allowing both Nys and Meeusen to join.

As Meeusen took over the lead, Simunek and Vanthourenhout joined the back of the group, which was now up to seven as they neared the end of another lap; Peeters was also gaining on the leaders, with van der Haar and Twan van den Brand (Orange Babies), with French champion Aurelien Duval and many others not far behind.

Nys then hit the front, forcing the pace, and began to split things up again. Taramarcaz and Pauwels followed, but Albert was beginning to struggle behind them; the World champion looking less than sure of himself on some of the technical descents that had seen him crash in the previous Roubaix race almost three years before. Pauwels then hit the front on the back section of the course, putting the other two into a bit of trouble.

Despite the Sunweb-Revor rider’s pressure, the three leaders were still together as they arrived on the track again, and Albert regained contact as they crossed the line with three to go. The lap that followed was a cagey affair, with Pauwels and then Taramarcaz leading, as the four riders composed themselves for the final confrontation.

Van der Haar was leading the chase group behind the leading four and - as the pace at the front eased a little, the Dutch under-23 World champion was beginning to close in. With two laps to go, the six-man group - with Meeusen, Peeters, Simunek, Vanthourenhout and van den Brand - was just ten seconds behind.

A tactical finale sees Nys finally force himself clear

Nys then took over the front of the four-man lead group, but still seemed to be biding his time. At the top of the steps on the technical top section of the course though, he stamped on the pedals and began to put the others under pressure; Nys managed to force a little gap, which Taramarcaz and Pauwels quickly closed, but Albert was in trouble again.

The World champion rejoined as the leaders arrived on the track again, and the group was four again as they hit the bell. Albert forced his way to the front, trying to accelerate away after the hurdles, but the others were quickly upon him. The World champion continued to lead onto the track banking section, but Nys forced his way past on the steps.

As he had done on the previous lap, Nys tried to force his way clear again and, with Albert leading the rest, he managed to open a little daylight between them. The Belgian champion was just a few metres clear as he arrived back on the track but, continuing to sprint, he managed to hold on to take the victory.

Pauwels overtook Albert to take second place, with Taramarcaz taking fourth; van der Haar won the sprint for fifth just nine seconds behind the winner.

Katie Compton overcomes crashes to win again and strengthens overall lead

Katie Compton (Trek) won her third straight race in the 2012/13 World Cup, but it was a far from straightforward victory for the US champion. A number of crashes, and a technical problem, in the course of the race saw Compton overhaul Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank Giant) only in the final part of the final lap. Swiss champion Jasmin Achermann (Rapha-Focus) finished third in one of the closest races of the season so far.

Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea) led into the first lap, with van Paassen, as Helen Wyman crashed on the exit of the sandpit, also bringing down French champion Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (BH - SR Suntour), and Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Sabrina Stultjens (both Rabobank). The European champion had damaged her bike in the fall, and had to run for the rest of the lap, which effectively ended her race.

A more serious crash, as van Paassen and Havlikova were pulling clear, when Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) came down with Compton at the foot of a steep drop off; the Belgian champion was forced to withdraw with an injured knee, and was stretchered off to hospital.

Compton was steadily making her way forward, but a broken spoke from her crash saw her drift back again as van Paassen moved ahead alone. Harris and Achermann were chasing the Dutchwoman, ahead of Christel Ferrier-Bruneau and Compton; in the course of laps three and four the US champion passed all the chasers, however, and was on the verge of catching van Paassen when she came down again.

There were just seconds between the two riders though, as the race entered its closing stages, and Compton finally caught up in the first half of the final lap. After taking the lead in the sandpit, Compton then fought to drop the Dutchwoman; van Paassen fought back, but Compton finally escaped on the technical final section above the velodrome banking, and powered onto the track to win by eight seconds.

Compton’s victory saw her World Cup points total rise to 230, increasing her lead over van Paassen to 50 points.

Result Elite Men
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
2. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Poweplus
4. Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Racing Team
5. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team
6. Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus
7. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
8. Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team
9. Dieter Vanthouernhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea

Result Elite Women
1. Katie Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective
2. Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team
3. Jasmin Achermann (Swi) Rapha-Focus
4. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
5. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Hitec Products-Mistral Home
6. Gabriella Day (GBr) Rapha-Focus
7. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
8. Ellen Van Loy (Bel)
9. Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago-Sutirol
10. Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)

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