Sven Nys puts on a demonstration in the mud to win the Niel Jaarmarktcross
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Sven Nys puts on a demonstration in the mud to win the Niel Jaarmarktcross

by Ben Atkins at 10:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
World champion recovers from a poor start to take annual Armistice Day race

sven nysSven Nys (Crelan-KDL) overcame a poor start to win his sixth edition of the Jaarmarktcross, in Niel, to the south of Antwerp, after a weekend of rain had turned the normally muddy course into one of the toughest of the season so far. The World champion managed to break clear of a substantial pack of riders just before the halfway point of the eight-lap race, catching and passing the early move from Wout Van Aert (Telenet-Fidea).

The 19-year-old managed to keep Nys in sight in the final laps, and held on to take second place, just 20 seconds back. Van Aerts’ Telenet-Fidea teammate Rob Peeters was the best of the chasing pack, taking third place just ahead of Bart Aernouts (AA Drink), 1’14” behind the winner.

"It was a very beautiful ‘cross, with lots of variety,” Nys told the Sporza cameras afterwards. “There were run sections, and parts where you had to use your power.

"Van Aert had a nice lead,” Nys explained. “He could push through the wall for the whole race just on adrenalin. It took a lot of strength to close the gap, then I had to really push to drop him and even then he stayed just short distance behind.

"Wout had a very good ‘cross,” the World champion added generously. “I rode here in 2005 still look around with another 19-year-old [future World champion Niels Albert - ed]. That was half a life time ago, and now the next generation is here, but I can still win and that is beautiful.”

German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) was the first rider away, with the normally fast-starting Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) just behind him. Swiss champion Julien Taramarcaz (BMC) then took the lead for most of the rest of lap one, but it was Van Aert that escaped just before they reached the finish line.

Van Aert spent most of the second lap opening up a lead over the substantial chase group, and was 30 seconds clear as he began lap three. Nys accelerated away from the rest, however, and Walsleben was quickly on the World champion’s tail, and they began to inch their way across the gap to the 19-year-old leader, while Peeters led Aernouts just behind them.

The next time across the line, Nys and Walsleben had closed in to just 20 seconds, with Peeters and Aernouts not far behind. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) was closing in on this second trio, having suffered yet another bad start to the race, with Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) just behind him.

Nys then broke clear of his companion, closing in on Van Aert as they passed through the tarmac section between pallet-loads of the race sponsor’s products, and eventually made contact as they both bunny-hopped over the second set of hurdles. Peeters and Aernouts were simultaneously catching Walsleben behind them, with Albert, Pauwels and Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink) also managing to join. As the World champion then led over the line to start the fourth lap though, the leading duo was 34 seconds clear.

Vantornout led another substantial group over the line after more than a minute, now seemingly out of the race. Van Aert clung doggedly to Nys’ wheel for the whole of the next lap but, as the World champion accelerated again, he was unable to hold the pace.

In the chase group behind, accelerations from the two AA Drink riders - first van Amerongen, then Aernouts - put Pauwels into difficultly, while a slip from Albert saw the previous day’s Superprestige winner drop back. The former World champion was now clearly struggling and was seemingly resigned to losing the group.

With two laps to go Van Aert had managed to limit his losses to Nys to just 11 seconds, while Peeters and Aernouts - having broken away from the the rest of the chasers - were now 1’18” behind. Nys then lifted his pace again, riding up a short, sharp ramp that almost everybody else was having to run up, and his lead began to open up.

Having changed his bike, Albert made contact with the chase group again, but was still clearly not happy.

Peeters was now fighting to drop Aernouts, as the rest of the chase group split into individuals behind them. Walsleben was in fifth place on the course, but was just metres ahead of van Amerongen, while Pauwels and Albert were both lagging behind.

Nys’ lead was up to 20 seconds at the bell, but Van Aert was virtually guaranteed second place, and the best result of his career to date, since the chase group was still a minute behind him.

Changing his bike one last time, Nys kept the pressure on for the final lap and, although he was clearly tiring from his efforts in the two previous laps, was able to keep the gap constant all the way to the finish. Taking his time to sit up and celebrate his victory, Nys took his sixth Jaarmarktcross - moving clear of a pack of five-time winners - with Van Aert taking second just 20 seconds back.

Peeters had not managed to shake Aernouts, but managed to keep the AA Drink rider at bay on the final straight to finish five seconds ahead; 1’14” behind Nys.

Sanne Cant overcomes an on-form Nikki Harris to take women’s race

Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) managed to overcome on-form British champion Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) to take the women’s event at the Jaarmarktcross after the two riders battle mano a mano for much of the race. Just managing to break clear on the final lap, Cant sprinted clear of Harris on the final, flat muddy section of the course, to finish just seconds clear, while Sabrina Stultiëns (Rabobank-Giant) took third place.

Harris took the initiative early on, as an elite group began to move clear of the others. As Cant took the lead, however, Harris’ Telenet-Fidea teammate Sophie de Boer surged ahead of the Belgian champion on a sharp bump, but came down heavily on the other side. The 22-year-old Dutchwoman winded herself badly as she landed on her handlebars; she was able to continue for a while, but dropped out soon afterwards.

Meanwhile, the race was becoming a two-rider battle between Cant and Harris, as the two national champions fought to try to distance one another. Finally, Cant managed to shake off Harris in the mud, and held off the chase from the British rider at the finish.

Result Elite Men
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-KDL
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
3. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
4. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink
5. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink
6. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
7. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
8. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
9. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah
10. Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team

Result Elite Women
1. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
2. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
3. Sabrina Stultiëns (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team
4. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) DNCS Pro 2012 Cycling Team
5. Pavla Havlíková (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
6. Loes Sels (Bel) DNCS Pro 2012 Cycling Team
7. Githa Michiels (Bel)
8. Karen Verhestraeten (Ned)
9. Margriet Kloppenberg (Den)
10. Stephanie De Croock (Bel)

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