Wellens dominates final cross race of the season
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wellens dominates final cross race of the season

by Bjorn Haake at 10:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results

Bart Wellens absolutely hammered his competitors in the final cross race of the season, the Sluitingsprijs in Oostmalle. Attacking in the second of nine laps, Wellens consistently increased the gap and won with almost a minute, ahead of his Fidea teammates Zdenek Stybar and Kevin Pauwels.

Klaas Vantornout was en route to a podium spot, but crashed with Stybar close to the finish. This allowed the dropped riders, including Sven Nys, to catch up. Stybar was quickly back on his feet and still managed to outsprint the others, but Vantornout was out of the running. Nys crossed the line in sixth and was celebrating the win in the GvA overall classification.

"This is what I wanted from today," Nys said to Sporza after the race. "I looked out for Stybar, as he was the most important competitor in the GvA standings [after Albert was dropped]. I also managed to get some points in the intermediate sprints," said Nys. He didn't sprint in the end. "I used my brain today. The overall was more important than the win today. I am happy with the season as I won 15 races."

Wellens was also quite a happy man, after a season where he missed several months due to a virus. "It is nice to end the season like that and to take this into the start of the next one," he said. Wellens also answered his critics today: "Some people had said I didn't deserve to go to the Worlds." Today he proved his worth.

Stybar had a very good start and immediately was solo off the front. Albert, on the other hand, slipped off his pedal when he tried to clip in and lost crucial spots.

After one lap Stybar had a gap of seven seconds over a larger group led by Nys, but Albert was already half a minute back.

Nys then bridged up and found himself against three Fideas: Stybar, Wellens and Pauwels. Wellens attacked and Stybar controlled the pace behind, which allowed his teammate to get a larger gap.

After three laps, Wellens was 24 seconds ahead of the chase group, with Albert finally about to catch on. Nys stretched things out again, which was bad news for Albert, who was simply trying to recover from his efforts.

With five laps to go Wellens had 36 seconds. He was followed by a group of about half a dozen riders, containing Vantornout, Stybar and Nys. But they never saw Wellens again, who entered the final lap with a massive lead of over one minute.

Results for the 2010 Sluijtingsprijs:

1. Bart Wellens
2. Zdenek Stybar
3. Kevin Pauwels
4. Klaas Vantornout

2010 GvA Trophee final standings

1. Sven Nys
2. Zdenek Stybar


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