Tom Meeusen takes his “most beautiful” victory in a Koppenbergcross sprint finish
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Tom Meeusen takes his “most beautiful” victory in a Koppenbergcross sprint finish

by Ben Atkins at 3:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
Helen Wyman leads from the front to take a third cobblestone in women’s race

tom meeusenTom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) took what he described as his “most beautiful” victory in the 2013 edition of the Koppenbergcross, on the eponymous Flemish climb in the village of Melden, just outside Oudenaarde. As by far the fastest of a group of three that arrived at the finishing straight together, the 24-year-old from the Antwerp province was easily able to outpace the Sunweb-Napoleon Games duo of Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout, and had more time than he realised to sit up and celebrate the win.

Pauwels, the 2011 race winner took second as Belgian champion Vantornout sat up, looking over his shoulder to make sure that he was well clear of the battle for fourth place. German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) managed to outsprint World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) as the De Koning van de Koppenberg missed out on a tenth victory in what he hails as his favourite race.

"I’ve had a very strong start to the season with two nice victories, but these were by regarded many people as small victories," Meeusen told the Sporza cameras after the race.

"Last week I did what I could with my health problems and wasn’t able to put my stamp in it. Today all my problems were solved and I could definitely do it. If a race comes down to a sprint then I'm always there.

"I have now won a number of beautiful ‘crosses, but isn't this the most beautiful,” Meeusen added. “If you know that Nys calls this his World Championship, it is a great honour to win here.”

With a dry day providing fast, but sticky conditions for the riders, it was British champion Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) that surprised the big names as he escaped on the opening lap with 24-year-old neo-pro Joeri Adams (Telenet-Fidea) in pursuit. With the favourites marking one another behind him, the 24-year-old from Ashford, Kent, was able to open up a healthy lead before being eventually hunted down.

Adams eventually managed to make it up to Field, along with Telenet-Fidea teammate Rob Peeters. Peeters then attacked himself but, with everybody playing a waiting game on the faster-than-usual course behind them, he was unable to stay clear.

Field drifted backwards and punctured shortly afterwards, and was to eventually finish an unlucky 13th.

Meeusen then accelerated as the pack climbed the Koppenberg for the final time, which pulled Vantornout clear. Seeing that Nys was unable to follow, the Belgian champion tried to go for glory himself, but Meeusen was refusing to be dropped.

The two of them were soon joined by Pauwels, but Nys and Walsleben were just a tantalising distance away and unable to close those last few seconds. As the lead trio rounded the final corner Meeusen kicked and, seeing that neither had any chance of victory, Pauwels and Vantornout watched him go.

After his dominant display in the previous round, in Ronse, just a few kilometres to the south, Nys retained his overall lead in the BPost Bank Trofee, with Niels Albert’s eighth place good enough to lift him to second overall, still 45 seconds behind the World champion.

Helen Wyman takes a third Koppenbergcross in unbeatable style

European champion Helen Wyman (Kona) took her second straight victory in the women’s event, and her third in all, after a dominant display that saw her lead the equally fast race almost from the gun. Wyman took the front on the first climb of the Koppenberg, and didn’t look back as her rivals were scattered on the course behind her.

Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) took second place, just eight seconds behind Wyman, having been able to hold onto the locally-based Briton for some of the earlier laps, while British champion Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) took third place, 18 seconds down; the expected repeat of her 2012 mano a mano battle with Wyman failing to materialise.

A final lap bike change for Wyman, on a very slow Koppenberg pit lane, saw Cant able to close the gap to its more threatening margin, but the Oudenaarde resident never looked in danger as she closed in on her third cobblestone.

Like Nys, Harris’ victory in Ronse was enough to keep the Derby rider in the lead of the BPost Bank Trofee classification, but Wyman had now cut the gap to her compatriot and rival to just 29 seconds.

Result Elite Men
1. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
2. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
3. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
4. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
5. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-KDL
6. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
7. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea
8. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
9. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink
10. Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team

Result Elite Women
1. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing
2. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
3. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
4. Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea
5. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team
6. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
7. Githa Michiels (Bel)
8. Gabriella Durrin (GBr) Rapha-Focus
9. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra)
10. Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team


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