Kevin Pauwels outsprints Nys to take the Soudal Scheldecross
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Kevin Pauwels outsprints Nys to take the Soudal Scheldecross

by Ben Atkins at 10:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
Belgian champion pulls foot out in the sprint; Katie Compton continues dominance in women’s race

kevin pauwelsKevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) took what was surprisingly only his second win of the 2012/13 season so far, as he sprinted to victory in the Soudal Scheldecross, just across the wide river from the city of Antwerp. The 28-year-old managed to overcome Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) in the dash for the line as the Belgian champion pulled his foot out of its pedal as he began to accelerate out of the final corner.

Wolrd champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) finished third, in what was one of the season’s first race-long battles between the three toppers of the sport.

Cold, dry weather in Belgium meant a fast, dry course where it crossed the fields, but the long sandy sections across the river beaches made for a tough, selective race.

Simon Zahner tries to take on the Belgians but team Nys takes control

Simon Zahner (EKZ) led the race off the tarmac start straight, but Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) immediately came past and tried to pull away. The field strung out behind him however, and teammate Nys tucked in behind him as they reached the sandy beach for the first time.

The two Landbouwkrediet-Euphony teammates began to pull a small group clear, with Zahner, and BKCP-Powerplus duo Radomir Simunek and Dieter Vanthourenhout with them. Nys then moved to the front and, increasing the pace further, opened the gap a little more. Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) was leading the large group of chasers, with most of the favourites right behind him.

As they arrived at the end of the first lap, Wietse Bosmans (BKCP-Powerplus) had jumped away from the chase group, and soon joined his two teammates up ahead. The group was now up to six, but only Simunek looked comfortable on Nys’ wheel.

The chase group was still just a few seconds back, however, and, as Nys continued to string out the leaders, Pauwels made his way across the gap. Simunek slipped on the steps, and came down, which allowed Nys to get clear with Dieter Vanthourenhout, Bosmans and Zahner; more and more riders managed to make contact with the rest of the lead group, including Albert and Bart Aernouts (AA Drink).

Nys was not waiting, however, and began to accelerate clear of his three companions on the third lap. Zahner managed to claw his way up to the Belgian champion just as they arrived at the sandy beach, but - as Bosmans, Dieter Vanthourenhout and Pauwels were also getting close - Nys jumped away again.

Gradually, in the course of the lap, the five riders came together, and Nys allowed Bosmans - the under-23 Belgian champion - to take the lead. Just a few seconds behind this group though, as they crossed the line at the race’s halfway point, Albert, and Bart and Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Revor) were chasing; they too, soon made contact, only for Pauwels to try to get clear.

Pauwels makes his move and only Nys and Albert can follow

The Sunweb-Revor rider quickly opened a gap, and Nys began to give chase; Zahner tried to follow, but was forced to let the Belgian champion go. Nys was soon up with Pauwels, and Albert was also trying to jump across, but the rest were now a long way behind.

With four to go the two leaders were seven seconds clear of the World champion, and the rest of the chasers were scattered a few seconds further back. Albert caught up on the sandy beach section, and was soon allowed to take the front of what was now a leading trio. With three laps to go they were just three seconds clear of the Bosmans-led chase group, however, and Jim Aernouts managed to jump across on the first sand section.

Having made the effort though, the 23-year-old was unable to respond as Albert accelerated again, and he began to drift back into the chase group behind him.

Nys began to lift the pace again a little, as the leaders crossed the line with two to go, which put Albert into a bit of difficulty. Pauwels clung doggedly to the Belgian champion’s wheel, but the World champion was beginning to drift backwards; Pauwels then came around to take the lead and the gap quickly widened.

Albert was nine seconds down as the leaders took the bell, and Nys came around Pauwels to begin what was to be his usual final lap surge. The younger rider was sticking to the Belgian champion again though, managing to stay right on his wheel as they took on the first beach section.

Nys spent the remainder of the lap trying to put Pauwels into difficulty, but he refused to budge; Albert too, was determined not to go down without a fight, and seemed to be gaining as they entered the closing sections.

It was all to come down to the final time over the hurdles again; where the two riders had come together in Hasselt three weeks before, which had caused Pauwels to crash. Nys hit them first, and rounded the final corner just ahead, but - as he began to open up his sprint - he pulled his foot out of his pedal.

As the Belgian champion paused to clip his shoe back in, Pauwels managed to sprint around him to take his first victory since the opening round of the World Cup, in Tabor, Czech Republic, way back in October. Albert held on for third place, ahead of a big group behind, which was led over the line by Pauwels’ Sunwe-Revor teammate Klaas Vantornout.

Katie Compton rides away in the sand to take women’s race

Katie Compton’s (Trek) dominant season continued in the women’s race as she rode away from her rivals to take a second straight Scheldecross victory. The US champion escaped a group of four riders early in the race, and steadily opened up a gap to take a comfortable win over Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea); Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) - having recovered from her crash in Roubaix the previous weekend - was third.

Cant led into the early laps, riding on her favourite surface, with Compton, Harris and Telenet-Fidea teammate Amy Dombroski right behind her. Compton soon found her way past the Belgian champion, however, and steadily began to pull away from the three others.

Cant continued to lead the chase, but Harris too came past, and set off in pursuit of Compton, but the US champion was well clear and still increasing her lead.

Result Elite Men
1. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
2. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
4. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
5. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink
6. Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus
7. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
8. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
9. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
10. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea

Result Elite Women
1. Katie Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective
2. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
3. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enerthem-BKCP
4. Amy Dombroski (USA) Telenet-Fidea
5. Ellen Van Looy (Bel) Melbotech Cycling Team
6. Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren
7. Nancy Bober (Bel) Style&Concept Cycling Team
8. Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Sengers Ladies
9. Evy Kuijpers (Ned) RTC Buitenlust
10. Githa Michiels (Bel) Trek-KMC Trade Team


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