Nys takes snow cross in Kalmthout
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nys takes snow cross in Kalmthout

by Bjorn Haake at 10:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results

Sven Nys won an exciting finale today against his eternal rivals Zdenek Stybar and Niels Albert. In heavy snow fall, a slip by Nys in the last lap reduced his three-second gap to zero, but he continued to lead. With superior technical skills he held the other two at bay and won the race with a slim margin of one second on the snow covered parcours in Kalmthout, the sixth of nine World Cup races.

Nys never gave up despite many problems. "You always have to believe - anything can happen until the last lap." A lot did happen to Nys, indeed. He fell, he lost his chain, he had to change bikes. But he also knew he could ride faster in the end. "It was hard to pass people earlier in the race. I tried it in the loose snow, but that was tough. Later in the race, there was more space."

He also attributed his technical skills to his win. "The last few corners I really rode fast. I saw that Stybar had more problems than I." Nys trailed almost the whole race, but used a timely attack with less than a lap to go to pass the Czech rider. "It was cold and snowy. This was cross at its highest level," Nys said on Belgian TV. "It is good to finally win my first World Cup race this season."

Stybar looked a bit sad at the finish. "I am not really satisfied. I had a bad start, but moved up well." Stybar took over the lead halfway through the race and looked like the winner. "The last two laps I made too many mistakes. The whole race I rode a good line, but in the end I took too many risks and changed my line."

He missed out on taking the World Cup lead as well, now tied on points with Albert. "I could have taken the leader's jersey today [with a win]. Well, I will have t wait until the next race..."

Albert will try to prevent that, but was still more thinking about today's race. "It was hard to pass here, but oh well, the race is over now. Sven was really strong today." He did see the snow to his disadvantage. "I came in third today and we were very close together. I think any of us could have won."

A white start

Vantornout had the best start on the snowy ground under heavy snow fall, followed by Nys and Radomir Simunek. Albert wasn't far, but Stybar was only around 14th position. Some riders tried pass in the deep snow, but that was not a good tactical move and cost a lot of strength.

On a small uphill Nys pass Vantornout on the inside and the two Belgians battled shoulder to shoulder. Nys slipped, his chain fell off and he lost a lot of time.

In the second lap Albert tried to pass Sven Vanthourenhout in the deep snow as well, but it didn't work for the World Champion, either.

Nys lost more time when he had a technical problem and needed to change bikes. He was already 25 seconds back going into lap three.

In lap four there was a drama for Simunek, who slipped before the stairs and fell down heavily. He had to abandon. In a first reaction he told Belgian TV that "I have a lot of pain on my left side, but I don't know what happened."

Stybar moved to the front and started to put time in the others. Nys caught up with the chasers, despite losing his chain one more time.

Going into lap seven, Stybar still held a lead of around a dozen seconds over Albert, Nys, Vantornout, Vanthourenhout and Bina. Aernouts started to lose time. He admitted before the race that "I am not a specialist for the snow, although Friday at the Scheldeprijs it went really well."

Nys used his technical skills to put some time into the others. After lap seven Stybar led Nys by eight seconds. Albert and the others were a further four seconds back.

Heading into the last lap, Nys and Stybar rode together and were three seconds ahead of Albert and Vantornout. Nys took some risks to pass Stybar, who was forced to ride in the deep snow for a bit. Nys then accelerated away, and only came into trouble when he fell with about one kilometer to go.

Results Elite men

1. Sven Nys
2. Zdenek Stybar
3. Niels Albert
4. Klaas Vantornout
5. Sven Vanthourenhout
6. Martin Bina
7. Bart Aernouts
8. Francis Mourey
9. Bart Wellens
10. Gerben de Knegt

Van Den Brand beats Vos

Daphny van den Brand beat Marianne Vos in the women's race. They had the same snowy conditions as the men, which made the steering hard. Van Den Brand took advantage of a couple of mistakes by Vos on the end to win the race. Kathy Compton came in third, ahead of Hanka Kupfernagel and Sanne Cant.

The junior race was won by David van der Poel. Tom Meeusen took the U23 race.



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