Superprestige: Sven Nys wins under the lights for the fifth time
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Superprestige: Sven Nys wins under the lights for the fifth time

by Ben Atkins at 1:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
World champion pays tribute to his Colnago on his final race on the Italian marque

sven nysSven Nys (Crelan-KDL) took an emotional fifth victory in the traditional floodlit race around the streets and playing fields of Diegem, the sixth race in the Superprestige series. The World champion crossed the line with his Colnago bike aloft; the Italian marque that he had ridden for his entire career, before switching to American brand Trek in the New Year.

Nys had ridden almost the entire race from the front, pulling clear on the first lap, and had twice managed to distance the stubborn Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea), and crack the persistent Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), the winner of the previous four editions of the race.

Lars van der Haar (Rabobank) was the fastest away from the start, with his characteristic low sprinting style, with Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and Nys leading the way behind him. It was an acceleration from Meeusen, however, seized upon by Nys, that saw the break of the race form.

The two riders pulled clear of the others, with the World champion not looking back to the Telenet-Fidea behind him. Albert was leading the chase behind them, with Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah), Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea), van der Haar, German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) and Czech champion Zdeněk Štybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) lined up behind him.

Midway through lap two Nys looked behind him at Meeusen, and accelerated again. Grimacing, the younger rider just managed to hold onto the veteran World champion’s wheel, as both of them bunny-hopped the two hurdles.

In the chasing group, only van der Haar and Walsleben dismounted, as Bina took his turn to try to close down the leading pair.

Albert and Peeters pulled clear of the others, however, just as Nys was beginning to crack Meeusen up ahead. The Telenet-Fidea rider managed to regain contact just before they climbed the steps up to the finishing straight, and they crossed the line seven seconds ahead of Albert and Peeters; Walsleben was now at nine seconds, and the rest of the chasers at 12.

Having ridden strongly at the start, Vantornout was now running with his shouldered bike, having snapped off his rear derailleur.

Nys was still doing all he could to crack Meeusen and, at the top of a short rise, he finally managed it as Meeusen stuttered a little at the top. Meeusen was quickly caught by Albert, who had left Peeters behind, and the two of them were nine seconds behind Nys as he crossed the line to start lap three.

There was a problem in the pits for the chasing group as Štybar tangled with his mechanic as he handed him his new bike.

Nys was building a solid lead over the two chasers, but then slid off on a muddy corner, allowing Albert and Meeusen to close. With them right on his tail the World champion looked over his shoulder, seeming to allow them to catch up a little, before accelerating away on the rise where he had dropped Meeusen the previous lap.

Albert was gritting his teeth as he fought to close the gap to the visible Nys in front of him, but the World champion was holding him off. Once again, it was all that Meeusen could do to hold on. At the end of lap four, with four to go, Nys was just a few seconds clear of the duo, and Albert steadily pulled in the World champion on the early off road sections.

Peeters, meanwhile, was chasing not far behind the new leading trio, while Bina, Štybar and van der Haar were not much further back.

Nys kicked again on that short rise, which put Albert into trouble, but Meeusen was just able to hold onto the World champion again.

The two riders then took on their same formation as before, with Nys doing all the leading, and Meeusen fighting to stay on. They were several seconds clear of Albert across the line again, with three laps to go, and the BKCP-Powerplus rider was struggling to close the gap this time and visibly tiring.

Nys managed to manoeuvre Meeusen to the front, however, giving himself a little respite, and the slight drop in pace allowed Albert to close the gap a little. Meeusen himself then kicked a little on the short rise that Nys had attacked on, and momentarily gapped the World champion, but was soon pulled back.

As they exited the sandpit Nys kicked and passed Meeusen, but the Telenet-Fidea rider steadily clawed him back again. This was too much for Albert this time though, who began to drift backwards.

Nys gestured to Meeusen to come forward as they crossed the line with two to go, with Albert now at seven seconds. The Telenet-Fidea rider then led around the early off road corners but, as he passed through the pits to change his bike, Nys kicked and left him behind.

For the umpteenth time Meeusen managed to claw back Nys, and managed to stay with him as he kicked again on that short rise. Nys kept up the pressure through the woods though, and managed to gap Meeusen again, and this time there was no closing him down.

As he took the bell Nys was six seconds clear of Meeusen, and looking far the stronger of the two.

Looking over his shoulder for much of the final lap, Nys was nevertheless opening up his lead over the spent Meeusen, who was now slowly drifting back towards Albert. Forced to get off and run up the short rise for a final time, however, the four-time winner lost sight of the rider ahead of him.

The last off road straights of the course saw Nys wave to the crowd, pointing his finger in the air as he topped the bridge. As soon as he topped the steps and hit the finishing straight, the World champion waved his arms aloft until he neared the line, whereupon he dismounted and lifted his Colnago bike - the marque that he had ridden for his entire professional career, but was to switch to Trek for his next race - and kissed the frame as he took the victory.

Not to be outdone, Meeusen pulled a wheelie as he took second place, with Albert rolling over for third.

The victory allowed “Mr Superprestige” Nys to close the gap to Albert in the overall series, and now trailed by just six points with two races to go.

Sanne Cant beats a depleted field in the early women’s race

Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) took her second victory in the 2013/14 Superprestige series, as many in the women’s peloton choosing not to ride the normally early starting races. Leading for much of the race, Cant gradually managed to distance Italian champion Eva Lechner (Colnago-Südtirol), with Elle Anderson (California Giant) taking a best-European result of the season in third.

The race began with an acceleration from Ellen Van Loy (Telenet-Fidea), but the Belgian was soon passed by Lechner, with Cant just behind her. As Van Loy faded, Anderson moved forward to join the leaders but, as Cant accelerated, the American was distanced once again.

Lechner managed to hold on for longer, but the Belgian champion eventually managed to shake the Italian to take a solo victory. Anderson was gradually gaining on Lechner at the end of the final lap, but the Italian champion managed to hold on to take second place.

Result Elite Men
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-KDL
2. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
4. Zdeněk Štybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah
6. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team
7. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
8. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
9. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah
10. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games

Result Elite Women
1. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
2. Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago Südtirol
3. Elle Anderson (USA) California Giant Cycling Team
4. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team
5. Crystal Anthony (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
6. Gabriella Durrin (GBr) Rapha-Focus
7. Pavla Havlíková (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
8. Courtenay McFadden (USA) Bicycle Blue Book-HRS-Rock Lobster
9. Joilen Verschueren (Bel) Fietscomiteit Drogenboom
10. Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles

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