Dwars door Vlaanderen: Nick Nuyens returns to the top step of a Classics podium with victory in Waregem
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dwars door Vlaanderen: Nick Nuyens returns to the top step of a Classics podium with victory in Waregem

by Jered Gruber at 5:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Saxo Bank rider and Geraint Thomas battle it out for the victory with the field just meters behind

Nick Nuyens assumed his place back amid the top Classics riders today in Waregem with a powerful display of defiance. The Belgian went clear with just over 20 kilometers of racing to go with Geraint Thomas in tow. Nuyens bridged across to the remnants of the day's early break, Frederic Amorison and Rob Goris.

The initial quartet, which soon became a trio, following the loss of a done for Goris, never got more than 30 seconds on the chasers, but the tenacious effort of a clearly strong Nuyens, a game Geraint Thomas, coupled with some disorganization in the field behind and in the end, a chase simply left a little too late - gave the duo a chance to battle out for glory on the finishing straight in Waregem.

When the field looked to finally have the duo in hand within the final kilometer, Nuyens attacked one last time, only to find Thomas scrambling back on, and then going straight by. Unfortunately, the British champion found himself in a big too large of a gear, so his acceleration was easily followed, and Nuyens got a crucial moment to catch his breath, whereupon he opened up his sprint with 200 meters to go and though Thomas gave it a good go, Nuyens was the better man.

Just a hand clap behind the two was the seething field led home by Garmin-Cervelo's Tyler Farrar.

Following his joyous salute crossing the line, Nuyens glowed in the post-race melee. While waiting to take the podium, his wife met him in the staging area for an emotional embrace, a happy moment for a couple who have waited a long time between gulps from the Classics goblet.

Nuyens spoke to his Saxo Bank team afterwards, and what seemed apparent on the television was confirmed: Nuyens was on fire Wednesday afternoon.

"I felt really strong from the start, and when the race kind of stalled, I put in a counter-attack and created the crucial gap. At the end of the race, I wasn't sure whether the others in the break didn't want to or simply couldn't help, but I put in everything and won. I'm really happy about the team's effort. Everyone has believed in me and this gives me morale and energy for the next races."

Bjarne Riis has made a name for himself as a manager that can resurrect a wayward career. When the brooding Danish manager picked up Nick Nuyens at the end of the 2010 season following two lackluster campaigns with the Dutch squad, Nuyens became the latest in a long run of riders who have gone to the former Tour de France winner's team in hopes of getting their careers back on track. On Wednesday, it could be said that Nuyens did just that.

Unsurprisingly, Riis was proud of his new Classics star.

"Nick truly shows what he is made of today and the way he wins is a strong proof that we're doing the right things on the team. I've noticed that Nick was getting stronger and stronger, but it also takes a lot of guts and tactical cunningness to take all the way, and today, Nick demonstrates that he has still got it all, and I'm obviously proud of his and the team's efforts."

From The Beginning
Nick Nuyens has long been a rider many have characterized as an underachiever or of the second rung of classics stars. The former winner of the U23 Tour of Flanders, the Omloop Het Volk ,and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Nuyens also has a runner-up finish at the Tour of Flanders to his name.

Despite that pedigree, he has never been seen as a major Classics threat. Even this morning, a rival team manager dismissed Nuyens.

Speaking with Het Laatste Nieuws before the start of the day's race, Katusha sports director, Jef Braeckevelt lambasted Nuyens as a "second class rider inflated by the media."

Nuyens would have the last laugh a little over four and a half hours later.

A sunny, relatively breeze-free day made for a long introduction to the racing on Wednesday. The day's break did not go clear until 60 kilometers into the stage, upon the first passage of the finish in Waregem.

Frederic Amorison (Landbouwkrediet), Rob Goris (Verandas Willems-Accent), Tom Veelers (Skil-Shimano), and Dries Hollanders (AN Post-Sean Kelly) comprised the group of escapees. Thirty kilometers later, the quartet had four minutes as the race hit the day's first major obstacle, the New Kwaremont - the main road, which parallels the legendary Oude Kwaremont.

The next fifty kilometers were marked by some light attacking and the break hitting its maximum gap of six minutes. Garmin-Cervelo began to show its interest at the front of the race, as Johan Van Summeren took up his spot and earned his day's pay.

The race ignited in earnest on the Eikenberg after 140 kilometers. It was none other than Tom Boonen who opened up the finale of the race with a monster effort up the tough climb. Boonen wrenched clear to a bit of free space between he and the rest of the field along with Sky's Matt Hayman, but it was just not going to happen so early in the race.

Ahead, the break lost the service of Hollanders, and behind, Leopard Trek flexed their muscles a bit as the race headed back toward the Kwaremont, this time for a date with the main road's bumpy, elder cousin, the Oude Kwaremont.

The rapid lead-in to the famed ascent saw the main field following into pieces. The same could be said for the breakaway, as Amorison bid adieu to his erstwhile mates and set off alone.

The quick 1-2 of the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg saw the race's main action. Nuyens showed his cards for the first time on the Kwaremont with a thundering effort that drew the favorites out of the comforting confines of the rapidly dwindling main field. Most of the main contenders were able to come to terms with Nuyens and over the top of the Kwaremont, the group was more or less together, ready for the twisty, fast run to the Paterberg.

Alone at the front, Frederic Amorison's gap was tumbling down, while Rob Goris chased behind, trying to close the gap to get on terms with Amorison.

In the chasing field behind, Boonen returned to the fore on the Paterberg and drove the pace up the left hand gutter, enjoying that which the racers won't get on April 3rd: access to the gutter. While his effort didn't detach any contenders or pull himself clear, it did set up the moves that were about to come.

Over the top of the Paterberg, Garmin-Cervelo took the front in earnest. Andreas Klier and Heinrich Haussler were prominent on the front from this point onward, with Klier doing the job of two men en route to the finish in Waregem.

The efforts of Garmin along with Leopard Trek saw the field begin to shred bit by bit, with a split occurring in the moments following the Paterberg. It would eventually come back together, but it was evident that the throttle was wide open.

The split encouraged the riders at the front and a brief flurry of activity at the front saw Fabian Cancellara in a familiar position: putting in a monster pull at the Dwars Door Vlaanderen only to see another rider come over the top of him and ride away.

Last year, it was his teammate Matti Breschel who followed a mammoth Cancellara effort. Today, it was another Saxo Bank rider, Nick Nuyens. This time of course, Cancellara wasn't riding for Saxo Bank.

Nuyens leapt out of the field with Geraint Thomas on his wheel and quickly bridged up to Frederic Amorison…and Rob Goris. Goris had only moments before made the juncture with his erstwhile companion and after waving his hands around for a moment in irritation with Amorison, settled back into his breakaway work.

The addition of Thomas and Nuyens gave the doomed break a major boost, and though they would never get a significant gap en route to the finish, it turned out to be just enough.

Soon after the four riders converged to form a leading foursome, Goris was finally dispatched in entirety.

Behind, Garmin-Cervelo were in control of the front of the race, rotating all four of their riders at one point: Haussler, Klier, Farrar, and Vanmarcke.

There were plenty of attacks, but Garmin did an excellent job neutralizing the efforts while continuing a more or less steady chase. While it was an ultimately unsuccessful chase, it showed that the Garmin team does in fact have a lot of ammunition to burn in the big one day races. 

The well executed chase just didn't come to terms with the break in time. They nearly gobbled the duo in perfect fashion, but of course, nearly doesn't quite cut it. In the end, it was Geraint Thomas and the Bomb from Bevel, Nuyens, who battled out for the win. Sure, Farrar took the field sprint just meters behind the duo, but it was surely a frustrating few meters to lose by.



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Dwars Door Vlaanderen / A Travers La Flandre (1.1) Results, 201 km:

  Click on the arrowsat the top of the column to sort the race results.
Country Result Name Team Time
bel BEL 1 Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) 04:39:55
gbr GBR 2 Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) s.t.
usa USA 3 Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
aus AUS 4 Mathew Hayman (Team Sky) s.t.
aus AUS 5 Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s.t.
ita ITA 6 Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) s.t.
bel BEL 7 Leif Hoste (Katusha) s.t.
ned NED 8 Tom Leezer (Rabobank) s.t.
bel BEL 9 Tom Boonen (Quick Step) s.t.
can CAN 10 Dominique Rollin (Française Des Jeux) s.t.
fra FRA 11 Cyril Gautier (Europcar) s.t.
bel BEL 12 Kristof Goddaert (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.
bel BEL 13 Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) s.t.
bel BEL 14 Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
ned NED 15 Tom Veelers (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
fra FRA 16 Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.
bel BEL 17 Staf Scheirlinckx (Veranda's Willems - Accent) s.t.
sui SUI 18 Martin Elmiger (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.
ned NED 19 Koen De Kort (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
can CAN 20 Svein Tuft (SpiderTech powered by C10) s.t.
fra FRA 21 Yoann Offredo (Française Des Jeux) s.t.
bel BEL 22 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) s.t.
bel BEL 23 Maarten Wynants (Rabobank) s.t.
bel BEL 24 Geert Verheyen (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
gbr GBR 25 Ian Stannard (Team Sky) s.t.
ger GER 26 Gerald Ciolek (Quick Step) s.t.
fra FRA 27 Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) s.t.
ned NED 28 Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) s.t.
ned NED 29 Dennis Van Winden (Rabobank) s.t.
ned NED 30 Niki Terpstra (Quick Step) s.t.
ned NED 31 Joost Posthuma (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
ger GER 32 Marcel Sieberg (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
esp ESP 33 Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) 00:00:05
ned NED 34 Lars Boom (Rabobank) s.t.
bel BEL 35 Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) s.t.
sui SUI 36 Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
bel BEL 37 Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) 00:00:11
bel BEL 38 Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) s.t.
bel BEL 39 Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervelo) 00:00:14
ger GER 40 Andreas Klier (Garmin-Cervelo) 00:00:17
ita ITA 41 Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) 00:00:21
bel BEL 42 Frédéric Amorison (Landbouwkrediet) 00:00:32
aus AUS 43 Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) 00:01:29
rus RUS 44 Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) 00:01:42
swe SWE 45 Gustav Erik Larsson (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s.t.
col COL 46 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Cofidis) s.t.
bel BEL 47 Jan Ghyselinck (HTC-Highroad) s.t.
aus AUS 48 Stuart O' Grady (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
sui SUI 49 Michael Schar (BMC Racing) s.t.
fra FRA 50 Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) s.t.
ger GER 51 John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) s.t.
fra FRA 52 Alexandre Pichot (Europcar) s.t.
bel BEL 53 Jens Keukeleire (Cofidis) s.t.
bel BEL 54 Kevin Van Impe (Quick Step) s.t.
bel BEL 55 Rob Goris (Veranda's Willems - Accent) s.t.
aus AUS 56 Christopher Sutton (Team Sky) s.t.
bel BEL 57 Wouter Weylandt (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
fra FRA 58 Stéphane Poulhies (Saur-Sojasun) 00:10:20
fra FRA 59 Cyril Lemoine (Saur-Sojasun) s.t.
bel BEL 60 Bert De Backer (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
bel BEL 61 Stijn Neirynck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
bel BEL 62 Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
bel BEL 63 Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
bel BEL 64 Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) s.t.
rus RUS 65 Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) s.t.
ned NED 66 Stefan Van Dijk (Veranda's Willems - Accent) s.t.
ned NED 67 Roy Curvers (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
bel BEL 68 Maxime Vantomme (Katusha) s.t.
bel BEL 69 Niko Eeckhout (An Post-M. Donnelly-Grant Thornton - S...) s.t.
bel BEL 70 James Vanlandschoot (Veranda's Willems - Accent) s.t.
fra FRA 71 Sébastien Hinault (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.
pol POL 72 Jaroslaw Marycz (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s.t.
nor NOR 73 Gabriel Rasch (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
gbr GBR 74 Roger Hammond (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
fra FRA 75 Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) s.t.
bel BEL 76 Maarten Neyens (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
rus RUS 77 Nikolay Trusov (Katusha) s.t.
den DEN 78 Martin Mortensen (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
bel BEL 79 Romain Zingle (Cofidis) s.t.
bel BEL 80 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
ger GER 81 Bert Grabsch (HTC-Highroad) s.t.
can CAN 82 Michael Barry (Team Sky) s.t.
ned NED 83 Tom Stamsnijder (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
fra FRA 84 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.
ned NED 85 Jos Van Emden (Rabobank) s.t.
bel BEL 86 Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) s.t.
blr BLR 87 Yauheni Hutarovich (Française Des Jeux) s.t.
rus RUS 88 Vladimir Isaychev (Katusha) s.t.
ger GER 89 Andreas Schillinger (Team Netapp) s.t.
aus AUS 90 Luke Roberts (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s.t.
bel BEL 91 Kevyn Ista (Cofidis) s.t.
den DEN 92 Kasper Larsen Klostergaard (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s.t.
bel BEL 93 Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
bel BEL 94 Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
fra FRA 95 Matthieu Ladagnous (Française Des Jeux) s.t.
uzb UZB 96 Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil-DCM) s.t.
slo SLO 97 Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil-DCM) s.t.
bel BEL 98 Jurgen Van De Walle (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
bel BEL 99 Bert De Waele (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
fra FRA 100 Anthony Geslin (Française Des Jeux) s.t.
fra FRA 101 Vincent Jerome (Europcar) s.t.
fra FRA 102 Sébastien Chavanel (Europcar) s.t.
fra FRA 103 Yohann Gene (Europcar) s.t.
fra FRA 104 Rony Martias (Saur-Sojasun) s.t.
fra FRA 105 Saïd Haddou (Europcar) s.t.
gbr GBR 106 Jeremy Hunt (Team Sky) s.t.
bel BEL 107 Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
ger GER 108 Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
sui SUI 109 Simon Zahner (BMC Racing) 00:10:51
bel BEL 110 Koen Barbe (Landbouwkrediet) 00:11:27
fra FRA 111 David Boucher (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
nor NOR 112 Alexander Kristoff (BMC Racing) s.t.
bel BEL 113 Johan Coenen (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
den DEN 114 Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s.t.
pol POL 115 Sylvester Janiszewski (Ccc - Polsat - Polkowice) s.t.
gbr GBR 116 Russell Downing (Team Sky) s.t.
fra FRA 117 Steve Houanard (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.

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