Sven Nys takes Bpost Bank Trofee lead with GP Mario De Clercq victory
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sven Nys takes Bpost Bank Trofee lead with GP Mario De Clercq victory

by Ben Atkins at 11:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
Nikki Harris wins for Amy Dombroski in women’s race

sven nysSven Nys (Crelan-KDL) showed his strength in the mud yet again as he rode clear of the rest to take the 2013 edition of the GP Mario De Clercq, in Ronse, Belgium, the first roind of the Bpost Bank Trofee. The World champion accelerated away with two laps of the slippery circuit remaining and, although he was not able to get more than 20 seconds clear, ran out a comfortable winner by the time he crossed the finish line.

Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah), having been one of the most aggressive riders early on, took second place, 17 seconds behind Nys, after having dropped former World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the final lap. Albert was just unable to pull back the Czech rider in the final metres, and crossed the line another three seconds back.

"My start was not so good, but I felt that I could move up,” Nys told the Sporza cameras afterwards. “I looked a bit a cat out of a tree, but crashed because of a steering error."

"I was able to connect quickly and have was subsequently able to force the pace,” Nys continued. “I felt that I was the strongest. I played all or nothing. At the finish I was spent. I was really crawling, especially in the running sections.

"I have to like conditions like this,” he added. “This is quite pleasant weather for ‘cross, but I am also shivering here. You can’t wear too many clothes, because everything is wet and heavy. Anyway this is a good omen."

The early pace was set by Marcel Meisen (Kwadro-Stannah) and Sunweb-Napoleon Games) duo Klaas Vantornout and Kevin Pauwels. Pauwels slid out on a steep off-camber descent, however, and took several seconds to rejoin the course. Lars van der Haar (Rabobank) then led into the end of the lap, stretching out the lead group, but there was still a dozen riders at the front of the race as they started lap two.

Meisen then messed up a small, slippery bump at the beginning of the lap, coming down and losing contact with the leaders. Van der Haar continued to try to stretch the group, but the Dutch champion was unable to break clear on the heavy course. Van der Haar took the bonus sprint in the middle of the lap, however, before Bina broke clear. Van der Haar chased his compatriot down before the end of the lap, with the lead group now down to just eight riders.

The group was made up of Philipp Walsleben and Niels Albert (both BKCP-Powerplus), van der Haar, Nys, Vantornout, Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink), Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea).

Nys slips up but then slips away

Nys then slid off on a muddy corner, losing contact with the rear of the group, just as van der Haar accelerated again. The Dutch champion pulled Vantornout, Walsleben and Albert clear, but Nys was soon chasing across with van Amerongen on his wheel. The World champion was just a few seconds behind as they began the next lap, but Albert was none too keen to allow his big rival to regain contact.

Despite this, Nys was back with the leaders mid lap, only for Albert to take his turn to slip over on a technical set of off-camber switchbacks.

Quickly making his way back up to the front of the group, Albert began to increase the pace, which split the group into three. Initially, only Vantornout could follow, but Nys soon pulled across with Walsleben, while van der Haar was not far behind. He and Bina managed to rejoin as the lap ended, with the Czech rider leading across the line.

Nys then struggled a little on the off-camber switchbacks again, causing Bina to come off, and the World champion pulled away with Vantornout in tow. Nys allowed Vantornout to stay with him for just a few moments, however, before accelerating once again and leaving him behind.

The group reformed behind Vantornout, but Nys was holding his advantage. Albert broke clear of the other chasers, and was just three seconds behind the World champion was as he began the penultimate lap. The impetus had gone from the rest of the group, however, which was now 22 seconds behind.

Nys was not waiting for Albert, however, and accelerated away on the wettest parts of the lap, riding around some of the muddiest parts where Albert was forced to dismount and run. Bina too had jumped away from the chase group, and was gaining on Albert as the former World champion passed through the pits to change his bike.

The muddy descent that had claimed Pauwels in the first lap then saw Meeusen come down in the chase group behind. The Telenet-Fidea rider slid under the barriers without his bike, which remained in the middle of the course and momentarily blocked the rest.

Bina had caught up with Albert by now, but the duo was now 13 seconds behind Nys, who was approaching the bell that would start the final lap.

This gap was up to 19 seconds as they crossed the line, and as Albert was tiring, Bina began pulling away. Nys was his usual meticulous self on the final lap, making no mistakes as he calmly made his way around the slippery surface, and sat up to salute the crowd as he crossed the line to take victory; his rainbow jersey almost unrecognisable from the mud.

Bina came in alone 17 seconds later, with Albert another three seconds back. Vantornout won the sprint for fourth place, ahead of Meisen and van Amerongen, after 1’08”.

Having suffered his first lap crash, Pauwels crossed the line 4’34” behind Nys, with any chance of taking the overall 2013/14 classification gone.

Nikki Harris takes one for Amy Dombroski

Making the shape of a letter 'A' with her fingers as she crossed the line, British champion Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) remembered teammate Amy Dombroski as she won the earlier women’s race, which was run under arguably worse conditions than the men’s. Harris took the victory alone, dedicating it to her teammate, who was tragically killed while out training ten days before.

Relishing the conditions, Harris rode clear of the field early on, as the three-rider chase group of European champion Helen Wyman (Kona), Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) and Dutchwoman Sabrina Stultiëns (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) formed behind her.

Wyman’s strength began to tell in the chase, as she gradually left the others behind, taking second place, to make a British one-two in the race. Cant had managed to leave Stultiëns behind and took third place.

Result Elite Women
1. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
2. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing
3. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
4. Sabrina Stultiëns (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
5. Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea
6. Ellen van Looy (Bel) DNCS/PRO 2012 Cycling Team
7. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
8. Githa Michels (Bel)
9. Lotte Eikelenboom (Ned)
10. Bianca van den Hoek (Ned)

Result Elite Men
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-KDL Cycling Team
2. Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team
4. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team
5. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team
6. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink
7. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team
8. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team
9. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea


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