Bpost Bank Trofee: Kevin Pauwels wins in the wind and rain of Essen as Nys slips up
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bpost Bank Trofee: Kevin Pauwels wins in the wind and rain of Essen as Nys slips up

by Ben Atkins at 10:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
Sanne Cant takes a three-way battle for the women’s race

kevin pauwelsKevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) soloed away from the rest to take his second victory in a week in the mud and rain of the GP Rouwmoer, in Essen, the fourth race in the Bpost Bank Trofee. The race had looked to be a demonstration of moddercross racing from Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) after a lapse of concentration from the World champion saw him crash just after the course’s two hurdles.

Pauwels was quick to capitalise as the chase group swarmed past Nys, and accelerated away. Once clear, the Sunweb-Napoleon Games never looked in trouble as he opened up what turned out to be a winning margin of 28 seconds.

Nys recovered from his fall, which had seen him bruise and scratch his right arm against the barriers, and jumped clear of the chasers on the final lap to take second place. Recovering from yet another unimpressive start, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) recovered enough to take third place, just six seconds behind the World champion.

The Essen course was to be one of the muddiest of the season so far, with continuing rain making several of even the flatter parts of the course unrideable. Pauwels and Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink) were the fastest starters, with the Dutchman taking an early lead around the first half of the opening lap.

It was Nys that soon took over, however, and immediately began to pull away from the others. Pauwels was leading the chase, along with Czech champion Zdeněk Štybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) - riding the first race of his short, sharp cross season - but the World champion looked to have the race sewn up even before the halfway point as his skills in the mud showed through.

Having bunny-hopped the two hurdles, however, Nys drifted too close to the right side of the course, clipped the barriers and came down. He was quickly on his feet, but the crash had unshipped his chain and he was passed by the chasing group.

Pauwels then began to accelerate, and didn’t look back as he began to open up a gap himself. With four laps to go Pauwels was 15 seconds ahead, and this had opened to 25 seconds in the space of the next lap, as Štybar led the chase behind him.

Van Amerongen and Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) then broke clear of the pack, with German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) just behind them, and Štybar, Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) and Nys in pursuit. The next group was made up of Albert, Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) and Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and, as the rain fell more heavily, the chase group began to come together.

Pauwels was edging further ahead though and, as the Sunweb-Napoleon Games rider began the penultimate lap, he was 30 seconds ahead of van Amerongen and Aernouts, with the rest at 41.

Nys then moved ahead and took the lead of the big chase group, quickly reducing the gap to the two riders ahead of him. Štybar, Albert and Peeters were in pursuit of the World champion, as he caught up with Aernouts and van Amerongen midway around the lap, but only Albert was able to join Nys as he made it across. Pauwels though, was 37 seconds clear as he took the bell.

A bike change for van Amerongen saw the Dutchman lose contact with the leaders, dropping back to behind Peeters, but those two were soon back up to the trio ahead. Nys had hit the front of the group and was trying to distance Albert. The five-man group strung out, but didn’t break, on the twisting midfield sections, and over the first of the course’s two bridges.

As the group hit the muddiest sections Nys ran clear, however, but faced a near-impossible task to catch Pauwels ahead of him.

Sure enough, Pauwels was now entering the finishing straight and, looking over his shoulder just to make sure, sat up and raised both arms to celebrate his second straight victory. Nys sprinted over just 28 seconds later, with Albert leading the rest over after 34.

With Pauwels having lost so much time in the earlier rounds of the Bpost Bank Trofee, however, Nys increased his overall lead over all the riders that mattered and now led Albert by a minute and six seconds.

Sanne Cant takes women’s race in a three-way fight

Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) came out on top of a three-way contest with European champion Helen Wyman (Kona) and British champion Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) to win the women’s race. Unable to distance one another around the muddy course, the three champions arrived at the finishing straight together, more than a minute clear of the next best riders, with Cant taking the sprint finish.

Wyman managed to get the better of her compatriot Harris to take second place, and maintained her overall lead in the Bpost Bank Trofee classification.

Result Elite Men
1. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
2. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-KDL
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
4. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
5. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink
6. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
7. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink
8. Zdeněk Štybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
9. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
10. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus

Result Elite Women
1. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
2. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing
3. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
4. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012
5. Githa Michiels (Bel)
6. Sabrina Stultiëns (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
7. Gabriella Durrin (GBr) Rapha-Focus
8. Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea
9. Maureen Bruno Roy (USA)
10. Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Sengers Ladies


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