Amazing Stybar takes Vorselaar cross and Superprestige overall
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Amazing Stybar takes Vorselaar cross and Superprestige overall

by Bjorn Haake at 10:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 

Zdenek Stybar won the exciting final Superprestige cross race in Vorselaar, Belgium, ahead of Niels Albert. This also gave Stybar the Superprestige overall ahead of Albert, since both had started the day equal on points. On the very icy, slippery parcours, the two were left alone, after the final rivals - Sven Nys and Radomir Simunek - were eliminated through crashes. In a true mano-a-mano in the final lap, Albert and Stybar passed each other several times, before Stybar used his experience on the snow to come out ahead of Albert.

Stybar's win wasn't without incident, as he had a mechanical with two laps to go. "I had to change bikes and lost about seven seconds," Stybar told Belgian TV after the race. "So on the last two laps I took all the risks. I raced all or nothing." Despite some smaller slips, Stybar managed to catch Albert with half a lap to go.

Albert still was happy, as the race took place on conditions not to the Belgian's liking. "The second place feels like a win for me. I am content to finish second on this parcours." With the ice and snow. Stybar used his experience in the end. "That is his specialty and he is better suited to this than I," Albert said.

Nys was fuming at the finish about Albert's teammate Simunek. "Simunek really wanted to keep second place, so when I was trying to pass him, he took the biggest risks," Nys said. Before a right-left combination, Simunek's front wheel slipped away and the Czech rider crashed. Nys, who was in the process of passing, couldn't do anything and fell as well. He tapped Simunek on the shoulder as if to apologize, but had more candid words in the finish. "This was not fair behavior," he said.

A somber start

Before the race there was a minute of silence for Belgian mountain biker Davy Coenen, who died last Tuesday due to a brain tumor he was battling since last year.

Despite the icy patches on the asphalt section, the start itself was without incident, and all the favorites were in good shape. Stybar quickly took the lead, but Sven Vanthourenhout replaced him quickly and rode solo at the front.

Christian Heule and Klass Vantornout were chasing but were caught when Heule crashed and Vantornout slid into the Swiss rider. At this point, BKCP put on the pressure, pitting three riders (including Albert) against Stybar.

Stybar was put on the defensive but with the help of Nys recovered. After four laps, it was Sven Vanthourenhout, Simunek, Dieter Vanthourenhout, Albert, Nys and Stybar on the front. Page and Vantornout followed about 100m later.

Simunek went to the front, but Albert's teammate became the carrot for Stybar, who passed Albert halfway through the race. The gaps were small, but Albert was under pressure. It wasn't until Simunek crashed in lap six, though, that Stybar was able to catch up.

With three laps to go, Stybar was leading with Simunek, while Albert and Dieter Vanthourenhout were two seconds behind. Nys was a couple of bike lengths further down the road.

In the seventh lap, Stybar had a mechanical and the required trip to the pit put him back into fourth spot. Simunek, Albert and Nys were leading, seven seconds ahead of Stybar and Dieter Vanthourenhout.

Simunek crashed and took out Nys as well, so in the front it was now Stybar versus Albert for the Superprestige win. The advantage was only three seconds when they entered the final lap. In the tight battle, Stybar used his technical expertise to beat Albert by a couple of seconds.

Meeusen dominates U23 again

Tom Meeusen dominated the U23 race on the slippery course and won solo, ahead of Vincent Bastaens and Jim Aernouts. On icy sections, the young riders crashed frequently. This was mostly without consequences, but Kasper Szczepaniak, silver medalist at the Worlds, had to abandon after he went down just before a section of stairs.

Meeusen made the right choice today. "I was thinking about starting in the elite race today, but eventually decided to race in the U23. He had a commanding lead in the Superprestige and would have taken that win even when not starting today. But a win is a win and Meeusen smiled happily after the race.

Results

1 Zdenek Stybar (Fidea)
2 Niels Albert (BKCP Power Plus)
3 Radomir Simunek (BKCP Power Plus)
4 Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet)
5 Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP Power Plus)
6 Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb)
7 Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)
8 Christian Heule
9 Marius Gil
10 Bart Wellens (Fidea)

Superprestige final standings

1 Zdenek Stybar (Fidea) 110 points
2 Niels Albert (BKCP Power Plus) 109
3 Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) 98
4 Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb) 88
5 Kevin Pauwels (Fidea) 77
6 Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) 61
7 Radomir Simunek (BKCP Power Plus) 57
8 Erwin Vervecken 50
9 Gerben de Knegt (Rabobank) 47
10 Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb) 30

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