Meeusen wins Superprestige Gieten after exciting last lap
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meeusen wins Superprestige Gieten after exciting last lap

by Bjorn Haake at 10:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
Nys jogs home after breaking pedal on finishing straight

Tom Meeusen of the Fidea team won his first ever Superprestige race, when he prevailed in Gieten, Netherlands, today. In freezing temperatures on the hard-packed, icy parcours, Meeusen took the race out of a four-man group, beating Radomir Simunek, Dieter Vanthourenhout and Sven Nys. Nys held on to his Superprestige lead, 12 points ahead of Kevin Pauwels, who came in fifth.

Nys had already unclipped three times in the final lap, but when he made his move in the finishing straight, his left pedal broke. The puzzled Belgian had to jog in to catch fourth place. "I was in an ideal position when my pedal broke," a disappointed Nys said on Belgian TV after the race. "That shouldn't happen but it did." When the pedal broke, Nys fell forward, catching his weight and amazingly stayed upright. "I was lucky that I didn't crash really hard." He tried to ride home with his right pedal, but his chain had slipped off, so he was forced to run the final meters.

Meeusen had ridden a tactically perfect last lap, trading the lead with Simunek several times. He made it it onto the finishing straight in first place, ahead of Nys. Oblivious to the tragedy behind, he sprinted all out to victory. "I didn't do the first two rounds of the Superprestige," Meeusen explained about his overall non-chances.

The race was named the Radomir Simunek Memorial race. The son, also named Radomir, was quite emotional after the race. "I am very content. I fought for my dad today and rode 110 percent." A memorial race isn't a regular race for someone who lost his father only a few months ago. "It is difficult for the head," Simunek junior admitted. "It is hard to describe and very sad that my papa isn't there anymore."

Simunek's teammate Dieter Vanthourenhout made his first ever Superprestige podium. "I wanted to have a top five, so a four-man group was ideal. I made some mistakes in the final lap, but Sven was very unlucky."

Nys was skeptical before the start. "I thought ahead of the race that the parcours would be harder." The icy and fast conditions are less to Nys's liking. He managed to keep his lead in the overall of the Superprestige. "But I would have preferred [some] more points." The sportsmanlike Belgian praised the winner, though. "Tom was really strong today."

Several riders were well below expectations. Bart Wellens abandoned after a crash, Niels Albert stepped off the bike when he was too far back and Zdenek Stybar finished more than a minute adrift.

The Czech rider said it was a pity. "I made small mistakes and I slipped on the ice. Then I had to change my bike." The change was less than ideal and he lost six positions. "On such a parcours I can't close the gap by myself. I just want to sleep now."

Four dominate race

The beginning of the race was dominated by the BKPC Powerplus team - minus Niels Albert, who had another dismal start. He was 22 seconds back after two laps. In the third lap, Tom Meeusen (Fidea) accelerated. Nys continued to sit in a perfect place, always in the top five. Albert slowly moved up from the back, but in the front, a four-man group separated in lap four: Meeusen, Nys, Radomir Simunek and Dieter Vanthourenhout.

Stybar was chasing hard behind, but a bad bike change put him far back. He trailed with over 30 seconds with six laps to go. Albert was even farther behind, 53 seconds. Wellens had other problems, as he crashed hard in lap six. Wellens was in obvious pain, but within a minute stood up, walked across and hopped back on his bike.

With five to go the leading quartet had eighteen seconds. Stybar was 48 seconds behind, while Wellens had to abandon due to his crash injuries. A lap later, the chase group of more than half a dozen riders, including Gerben de Knegt, Kevin Pauwels and Marius Gil was 28 seconds back. Stybar at almost a minute and Albert at 1'40 showed that they weren't going well today. Albert abandoned shortly thereafter.

Nys and Meeusen jumped the obstacles, while Vanthourenhout and Simunek had to dismount. Simunek looked in trouble for the most part, often hanging some five meters back. In the next to last lap, Simunek made one desperate attempt to escape. But he was closely marked by Nys and the latter was again in then lead as they entered the last lap.

The chase was 40 seconds back. Stybar was at 1'15. The most beautiful scene of the race was when the four leaders cleared two 40-centimeter high obstacles. They were virtually side-by-side, with Nys and Neeusen jumping and Vanthourenhout and Simunek getting off and running.

Results SP Gieten

1. Tom Meeusen (Fidea)
2. Radomir Simunek (BKPC Powerplus)
3. Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKPC Powerplus)
4. Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet)
5. Kevin Pauwels (Fidea)
6 Eddi van Lizendoorn
7. Bart Aernouts (Rabobank)
8. Gerben de Knegt (Rabobank)
9. Marius Gil
10 Enrico Francoi (BKPC Powerplus)

Superprestige Standings

1. Sven Nys 68 points
2. Kevin Pauwels 56
3. Zdenek Stybar 51
4. Bart Aernouts 49
5. Niels Albert 46
6. Bart Wellens 45
7. Tom Meeusen 39
8. Klaas Vantornout 35


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