Sven Nys wins his fifth Superprestige Zonhoven over Niels Albert again
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sven Nys wins his fifth Superprestige Zonhoven over Niels Albert again

by Ben Atkins at 10:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
World champion is Mr Superprestige once more in a final lap duel with big rival

sven nysSven Nys (Crelan-KDL) took a repeat of his previous year’s victory to over the sand of Zonhoven, to take his fifth edition of the Superprestige race in the east Flanders province of Limburg. The World champion once again managed to overcome big rival Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the final lap, as both of them recovered from less than perfect starts.

Belgian Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) took third place, just a few seconds behind the battle for victory, having led around most of the race with Lars van der Haar (Rabobank). The young Netherlands champion was unable to follow the blistering final lap acceleration from Albert, and was forced to settle for fourth.

Vantornout got away first in his accustomed fast start, and led around most of the first lap. Having got down the first steep sandy descent cleanly, Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) then crashed on the approach to the climb back up, with the on-form German champion drifting several riders back as he quickly got back to his feet.

Up ahead, Vantornout was pulling a group clear, with van der Haar, AA Drink duo Bart Aernouts and Thijs van Amerongen, and Marcel Meisen (Kwadro-Stannah). The relatively dry course meant that Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) was able to drag a large string of riders back up to the lead group, however.

Vantornout then sped away on the longest sandy section - which featured an almost dead-stop switchback (where Albert and Nys had done battle in 2012) and a long leg-sapping drag - as vdH struggled a little. Meisen stopped and delayed the rest, leaving just three chasers in pursuit of the Belgian champion, who was eight seconds clear at the end of the lap.

Julien Taramarcaz (BMC) then crashed on the first sandy descent, disrupting the main group’s rhythm, as van der Haar closed in on Vantornout up ahead. Albert had fought his way up through the chasers, and was now dragging Aernouts across the gap.

Van de Haar and Vantornout were four seconds clear at the line, with Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), van Amerongen and Walsleben were 12 seconds back, while Nys was now at 17 seconds.

Albert and Aernouts made contact with the leaders on the long sandy section, but van der Haar was finding it less easy than Vantornout and the Belgian champion pulled away again. Albert led the Netherlands champion back up at the start of lap three, as Walsleben, Pauwels and Nys caught Aernouts just a few seconds behind and the group gradually came together again.

Vantornout pulled Albert clear on the long sandy section this time, but van der Haar and Walsleben came across at the beginning of the next lap. Nys and Pauwels were chasing hard but were still 10 seconds behind at the race’s halfway point, but the World champion closed in on the first dune descent

Van der Haar broke clear on the climb back out of the sandpit, but almost lost it on second descent. He managed to jump off his bike rather than crash, but this allowed the others to rejoin him. Nys kept chasing and, as they hit the long sandy section again, the group was back up to six, but only Vantornout and van der Haar were able to ride it this time and the two champions broke clear yet again.

With four laps to go they were just a few seconds clear of Albert, with Nys and Walsleben a further few seconds back, and Pauwels now seemingly struggling. Nys was soon up to Albert, and the two of them began to close the gap to the two leaders. Van der Haar was accelerating at the front, however, with Vantornout clinging to his back wheel, and the two riders were having trouble making their way across and it was still six seconds with three laps to go.

Having allowed Albert to do the lion’s share of the chasing, Nys then broke clear and jumped most of the way across the gap on the two dune descents. The World champion was soon up with the Netherlands and Belgian champions, but Albert was now the one who seemed to be struggling.

Vantornout then stumbled on the sand section where he had been so dominant before, forcing Nys to dismount and allowing Albert to get closer. Across the line with three laps to go the four riders were within just five seconds of one another; Nys was soon up to the leaders, and Albert able to close the gap on the first descent.

Nys muscled his way past Vantornout on the long sandy section but had to dismount and the others caught up. Albert then led over the line to take the bell and, having looked to be struggling just minutes before, put in a burst of acceleration that saw him move clear. Nys gave chase, with Vantornout, and it was van der Haar’s turn to struggle as the three Belgians moved away from him on the sandy run ups.

Steadily, the World champion made his way across to the former rainbow jersey, and was with him as they arrived on the long sandy section. Both managed to ride all the way up, which distanced Vantornout, and the two of them were seemingly headed for a sprint for the line.

Nys positioned himself on Albert’s wheel as the finish approached, but managed to move around in the final corners. Once Nys accelerated for the line Albert, who had shot his bolt with his final lap attack, couldn’t respond and the World champion punched the air with both fists as he took his 61st Superprestige victory.

The win saw Nys take over the lead in the Superprestige series from Ruddervoorde winner Vantornout.

1. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-KDL
2. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
3. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
4. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team
5. Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink
6. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
7. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
8. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
9. Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team
10. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games


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