Nys takes explosive winter cross in Antwerp
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Nys takes explosive winter cross in Antwerp

by Bjorn Haake at 10:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results

Sven Nys dominated the Scheldecross in Antwerp today. Riding away in lap two, he held off his chasers, led home by Tom Meeusen and Zdenek Stybar. A grenade found near the course delayed the start by over 40 minutes.

Nys took an early lead when Simunek slid out on the slippery, frozen course. The Belgian champion never relinquished the lead on a sunny but extremely cold day. The win over the open area near the Schelde river and the low temperatures below freezing kept riders honest.

The revelation of the race was Meeusen, who rode a courageous race and left his elite group close to the end to finish second. "I have super from right now, he said on Belgian TV after the race. "I am extremely happy, especially after all the bad luck I had last year." He didn't want to predict too much what is still possible. "Right now I am content with how things are going."

Nys was a little anxious before the start. "I wasn't sure if I could get my motor going quickly and Simunek had a good start. I knew he was going to be dangerous in these conditions," he admitted after the race.

But Nys used his experience to dominate the race. "I took the right lines and I had good legs today," he said. "The loose snow made things a bit difficult, though." The racers had to deal with changing conditions. The hardpacked frozen sections made steering difficult, the deep sand was hard to ride through and some loose snow added to the challenge.

Stybar was happy to be third. "It' great to have two Fidea riders on the podium, I am really happy for Tom. Nys had a very fast second lap, he was really going great today." Stybar found the course challenging for the conditions today. "You can make a lot of mistakes in just one lap here."

Delayed start

The start was delayed by over 40 minutes as a grenade was found just as the elite men were about to head out.

Organizer Luc Mattens handled the incident calmly. "Everybody was lined up and we were about ready to start the race when we found the explosives. But I am really happy with how the police and the fire department handled this."

The riders were all lined up already and eager to escape the freezing temperatures, but eventually they were given back their jackets. They then started to leave their bikes behind and run around the start area in order to stay warm.

Nys spoke to TV during that time. "It's great how they look out for our safety. But I hope we can start the race, as all the spectators had come out to see us." There was brief talk of canceling the race, but shortly after 15:40, the starter announced "two more minutes." Albert impatiently gestured to the organizers to get the race going and so less than a minute later, the start gun went off.

Despite his eagerness, Albert had a very bad start and was 15th in the first turn. Nys quickly took over the lead on the frozen parcours. The frozen tire tracks made steering difficult and Simunek was one of the first ones to fall down, beginning of the second lap.

Nys accelerated away and despite slipping and falling in a tight turn he kept increasing his lead on his way to a deserved solo win.

Van Den Brand warms up for Sunday

Daphny van den Brand won the women's race ahead of Sanne Cant and Sanne van Paassen. World Champion Marianne Vos had to forfeit due to sickness, but she hopes to be able to ride on Sunday in the World Cup race in Kalmthout.

Results men

1. Sven Nys
2. Tom Meeusen
3. Zdenek Stybar
4. Radomir Simunek
5. Gerben de Knegt
6. Kevin Pauwels
7. Niels Albert
8. Bart Arnouts
9. Enrico Franzoi
10. Dieter Vanthourenhout

Results Women

1. Daphny van den Brand
2. Sanne Cant
3. Sanne van Paassen


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