Superprestige Hoogstraten: Sven Nys takes win number 60 after a long battle in the mud
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Superprestige Hoogstraten: Sven Nys takes win number 60 after a long battle in the mud

by Ben Atkins at 10:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
World champion confirms “Mr Superprestige” title ahead of Klaas Vantornout

sven nysSven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) proved once again that he is “Mr Superprestige” as he took his 60th victory in the season-long series in Hoogstraten, Belgium, close to the border with the Netherlands. The World champion took the race in a sprint finish over Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) after the pair of them had battled together, mano a mano, for most of the eight lap race.

Despite numerous attacks from both riders in the closing stages of the race, neither was able to get clear, and it was Nys’ far superior sprint that was to make the difference at the finish. Nys’ 60th victory in the Superprestige series was his fifth of the 2012/13 season, and further increased his lead as he headed towards his 12th overall title.

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) recovered from a bad start, and a fall in the pits, to finish in third place ahead of Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) and Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus).

The Czechs make the early running but the Belgians soon take over

Following a recent return to winter in Belgium, there was some recently fallen snow on the ground, but most had melted on the course itself. This made a wet slushy layer on top of the otherwise firm mud, meaning that most riders changed bikes on virtually every lap.

Radomír Šimunek (Kwadro-Stannah) was first away from the start, with Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink) on his wheel, and the two of them led onto the muddy course. Bina took the lead soon afterwards but, as the Czech changed his bike, van Amerongen moved ahead once more.

Rob Peeters moved up alongside the Dutchman and gradually the two of them eased clear; Vantornout was leading the chase, however, with Hoogerheide World Cup winner Martin Bina (CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor), Nys, Šimunek, Julien Taramarcaz (BMC Racing), Philipp Walsleben and Marcel Meisen (both BKCP-Powerplus), and the group came together as they ended the first lap.

Vantornout then took the front and began to stretch out the group, which saw Taramarcaz drop off the back, and very soon the group was reduced to just the Belgian champion, Bina, Nys and Walsleben. Peeters was chasing hard, and was nine seconds behind at the end of the second lap, with van Amerongen and AA Drink teammate Bart Aernouts, Meisen, and US champion Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) at 30 seconds.

Vantornout accelerated again into lap three, which put Walsleben in trouble, but the German was with the group again as they reached the finish line at the end of the lap. The Belgian champion accelerated again into lap four, and this time only Nys could follow him; Bina appeared to be having problems, and he slipped out of contention, but Walsleben was still battling to keep the two champions in sight.

Vantornout and Nys shake off the rest but can’t get rid of each other

Vantornout and Nys were steadily opening up their lead over the others, while Bina was beginning to gain on Walsleben again, and Peeters was chasing down the Czech rider. The three chasers were just a few metres apart as they crossed the line at the end of the lap, but were now almost 30 seconds behind.

Having spent very little time on the front until this point, Nys moved up ahead of Vantornout and began to put pressure on the Belgian champion. Vantornout was not to be dictated to, however, and he eased himself past the World champion again and began to accelerate himself.

Neither was able to make any impression on the other as they fought their way around the slushy course, and both were still locked together as they crossed the line with two to go. The chase group was now more than 30 seconds behind them, with Kevin Pauwels having caught up with Walsleben and Peeters; there was little urgency in the chase, however, as Pauwels looked around at the other two, to see if they wanted to come forward to work.

Up ahead Nys had decided that the time was right to act and, as Vantornout dismounted to run up a slippery rise, the World champion stamped on his pedals and pulled away. The Belgian champion regained contact as Nys changed his bike, however, and pushed himself forward again, but Nys was seemingly heading towards his usual late charge.

The two leaders spent much of the rest of the lap sparring with one another, and testing the other’s acceleration; Nys continually opened up small gaps, only for Vantornout to close them again, and both riders passed through the pits to change their bikes in preparation for the final lap.

The battle continues in the final lap and goes right to the finishing straight

Nys led across the line as they took the bell, but Vantornout took the lead as they left the tarmac. Pauwels was still leading the chase group behind them, but sat up across the line and allowed Walsleben and Peeters to rejoin him.

Vantornout was still leading up ahead but, in the same spot that had seen him accelerate the lap before, Nys squeezed past and moved a little way ahead. The Belgian champion refused to surrender though, and caught up with the World champion; taking the lead himself as they headed into the most technical part of the lap.

Nys was looking stronger on the short climbs, but couldn’t get past Vantornout to take advantage of this; both riders remounted side by side after a long run up, but Nys seemed content to take up his position on Vantornout’s wheel again.

Now it was Vantornout’s turn to accelerate on the flatter, playing field section of the course, but Nys closed him down quickly, just as he had done himself on the previous lap. Nys pushed past as they hit the final short climbs and accelerated again, but still Vantornout refused to yield.

Nys jumped again as Vantornout was slowly going around a flat corner, but again Vantornout responded. The Belgian champion led onto the tarmac finishing straight but, as Nys accelerated past, he had no response and “Mr Superprestige” sprinted to his 60th victory.

Having shed Walsleben and Peeters - who had been little more than passengers on his wheel for the previous two laps - Pauwels cruised in to take third place, with Peeters leading the German champion several seconds later; former World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), having ridden an anonymous race after his victory the previous day, rolled over the line in sixth.

Sanne Cant imposes herself in women’s race

Sanne Cant (Enerthem-BKCP) continued her own strong weekend, having been only narrowly been beaten by Marianne Vos the previous day, with a solo victory in the women’s event. The Belgian champion finished the 40-minute race alone, with a 40-second advantage over compatriot Ellen Van Loy (Melbotech), with Sabrina Stultiëns (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) in third.

Cant led around the first lap in the company of Van Loy and Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank-Liv/Giant), with Stultiëns a little way behind, but the Belgian champion soon accelerated clear of the group and rode to the finish alone.

Result Superprestige Hoogstraten Elite Men
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
2. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
3. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
4. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
5. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
6. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
7. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink
8. Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
9. Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team
10. Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike

Result Superprestige Hoogstraten Elite Women
1. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
2. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Melbotech Cycling Team
3. Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
4. Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
5. Amy Dombroski (USA) Telenet-Fidea
6. Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren
7. Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team
8. Lana Verberne (Ned) RTC Buitenlust
9. Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)
10. Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)

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