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After extremely bad start, the world champion rides his own pace throughout the entire race, passes riders from start to finish and finally beats Walsleben in a two-rider sprint to win his second race in just two days

Photo: John de John




17.11.2013 @ 16:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sven Nys proved what a classy cyclo-cross rider he is when he won today's Superprestige race in Gavere by beating Philip Walsleben in a 2-rider sprint. Having had a very bad start, the world champion rode his own pace throughout the entire race until he found himself in the lead with his German rival and launched a devastating acceleration on the final climb that led to the finish line.


Yesterday, Sven Nys defended his lead in the Bpost Bank Trofee series in the best possible way when he won the race in Hasselt. Today he extended his in the Superprestige series by taking a hugely impressive win, his second in just as many days.


After a few laps, it appeared as though Nys would have no chance to win the race and lose a good chunk of his lead in the Superprestige series when the world champion had been dropped by the main peloton and was desperately trying to rejoin the main group. Even more worrying for the world champion, some of his greatest rivals had escaped, with Klaas Vantornout, Niels Albert, Philip Walsleben and Lars van der Haahr making up a front quartet.


Nys didn't panic and while most riders ahead of him gradually paid the price for a long race, the world champion just kept his own pace. Gradually, he approached the front of the race until he finally caught up with the leaders who had already left Albert behind.


While Nys took a short moment to recover, Walsleben accelerated and quickly opened up a gap on his own. Nys went back to the front and continued his steady pace until he was finally riding in lone pursuit of the German champion.


Walsleben did a good job to stay away for a long time but Nys was simply too strong. The world champion finally closed the gap and was now the big favourite to take the win.


Most expected Nys to drop his companion at some point but the German champion was riding really well. Despite several attacks from Nys, the duo was still together when they hit the bottom of the final climb that led to the finish.


At this point, Nys proved that he has more in his legs than his younger rival and he made a fierce acceleration. Walsleben did his best to respond but ultimately had to settle for second behind a seemingly invincible Nys.


With the win, Nys extended his lead in the Superprestige series which he has already won 12 times in the past. He is 7 points ahead of Albert and Vantornout who are tied in 2nd.


The fifth race in the 8-race series takes place next Sunday in Gieten.


Van der Haahr and Meisen dominate the race from the beginning

As it is often the case, Lars van der Haahr won the opening sprint and took the front right from the beginning. Halfway through the lap, he was passed by Marcel Meisen and the duo opened a small gap on the peloton which was led by Klaas Vantornout ahead of Bart Aernouts, Kevin Pauwels and Niels Albert. Sve Nys had had a bad start and found himself in a group that had lost contact with the main peloton.


Van der Haahr and Meisen swapped turns on the front but Vantornout gradually brought the main group back to the front duo. Meanwhile, Albert was struggling in a middy section and dropped some places back in the peloton.


Bad start for Nys

At the first passage of the finish line, van der Haahr led the peloton across the line with Meisen, Vantornout, Julien Taramarcaz, Pauwels, Thijs van Amerongen and Rob Peeters on his wheel. Nys was leading another group which was 15 seconds behind.


Disaster had struck for Aernouts on the final part of the first lap as the Belgian had a mechanical and he was seen walking across the line with his bike over his shoulder, his race evidently over.


Vantornout applies the pressure

On the second lap, Vantornout took the front and the Belgian champion started to put his rivals under pressure. Meisen quickly fell far back in the main group while van der Haahr was digging deep in his quest to match Vantornout's acceleration.


The Belgian champion opened up a gap and was now alone in the lead. Meanwhile, van der Haahr was chasing hard in the main group, with Pauwels, Meisen and Philip Walsleben on his wheel. Albert was now in difficulty and was far back in the group while Nys was gradually getting closer to his main rivals.


Walsleben gets across

Walsleben launched an acceleration and quickly got clear from the main group. The German champion dug deep as he tried to get across to Vantornout and as he reached the pit, the junction was made. Van der Haahr was riding in lone pursuit while Taramarcaz had now taken the responsibility in the peloton.


Near the end of the second lap, Albert had recovered and he now showed his intentions by taking over the pace-setting in the peloton. He quickly brought van der Haahr back into the fold and as they passed the line, he had created a chase group that consisted of himself, van der Haahr, Peeters and Taramarcaz. Nys had rejoined the main group while Pauwels was now in difficulty and riding even further back.


Albert shows his cards

Vantornout was doing all the work in the front duo and Walsleben had to dig deep just to stay in contact. Meanwhile, Albert had separated himself from his small group and was gradually approaching the leaders.


Albert closed the gap halfway through the lap, with van der Haahr making contact a few moments later. A front quartet had now formed while Taramarcaz, Meeusen, Peeters, van Amerongen and Niels Wubben were their nearest chasers. Nys was riding a bit further back and appeared not to be on a good day.


Nys joins the chasers

Albert spent a few minutes recovering from his efforts before moving to the front on a small climb. Meanwhile, Meeusen accelerated in the chase group which saw Wubben lose contact with his companions.


Wubben fell back to Nys but the world champion brought the Dutchman back to the chase group. Immediately went to the front and at the passage of the line, he found his group 16 seconds behind the front quartet.


Vantornout tries again

On the next lap, van der Haahr moved to the front at a time when he appeared to have been struggling. Nys, van Amerongen, Peeters, Meeusen, Taramarcaz and Wubben made up the chasers at this point of the race.


Halfway through the lap, Vantornout decided it was time to test his rivals and he launched a fierce acceleration. Surprisingly, the only victim was Albert who lost contact with the leaders on a climb. Clearly on his limit, he made a mistake on the descent and lost plenty of time due to the incident.


Albert in difficulty

Albert fell back to Nys who had opened up a gap on his fellow chasers. The two archrivals were being chased by Meeusen and Peeters while van Amerongen, Taramarcaz and Wubben were even further behind.


Albert was clearly struggling and as they hit the next climb, he was dropped by Nys. Meeusen passed the former world champion while Vantornout continued his pace-setting in the front group.


Three national champions make up the front trio

At the next passage of the line, Nys had reduced the gap to 4 seconds. Peeters and Meeusen had combined forces a little further back while Albert was now on his own. Van Amerongen, Taramarcaz and Wubben made up the next group on the circuit.


On the first main climb, Vantornout made another acceleration as he tried to get rid of his companions but he was unable to shake Walsleben and van der Haahr. The three national champions stayed together while Meeusen did well to almost close the gap to Nys.


Nys joins the leaders

As Vantornout slowed down and allowed Walsleben to take the front, Nys, Meeusen and later Peeters closed the gap. With less than 4 laps remaining, a front sextet had formed, with Albert riding in lone pursuit.


On the next climb, Walsleben accelerated and only Vantornout struggled to keep up with him. At the top, the German champion was alone in the lead, with Vantornout being his nearest chaser a few seconds behind. Nys was next, with the world champion being joined by van der Haahr and Peeters.


Nys splits the group

At the passage of the line, Walsleben was 9 seconds ahead of Vantornout who had been caught by the Nys trio. Albert and Meeusen were 14 seconds further adrift.


On the next lap, Nys just continued at his pace-setting and this created a split in the group. Only Vantornout could stay in his wheel while Peeters and van der Haahr both lost contact.


Nys in lone pursuit

Finally, Nys also managed to get rid of Vantornout and he was now approaching Walsleben on his own. The Belgian champion had fallen back to Peeters and van der Haahr and the trio combined forces as they tried to get back to the two riders in front of them. Albert was still riding for the overall classification and so hadn't given up, putting Meeusen in difficulty on a hard climb.


Just before the finish line, Nys closed the gap to Walsleben and the duo started the penultimate lap with a 13-second gap over Peeters, Vantornout and van der Haahr. Albert was 10 seconds further behind.


Nys applies the pressure

Nys didn't need long time to catch his breath. He went to the front as soon as he started the next lap, trying to put Walsleben in difficulty right from the beginning.


While the front duo was battling for the win, van der Haahr was starting to tire at the end of the hard race. The Dutch champion lost contact with Peeters and Vantornout and fell out of podium contention.


Walsleben responds to the attacks

Nys created a small gap to Walsleben on a climb but the German champion - clearly on his limit - managed to close it on the descent. Meanwhile, Peeters launched an attack on the final podium spot and left Vantornout in his wake.


Shortly after the pits, Walsleben appeared to have cracked when Nys launched another acceleration on a small climb. However, the German champion still had something in reserve and he managed to fight his way back to the world champion. A littler further behind, Vantornout had rejoined Peeters.


Walsleben sets the pace

As they started the final lap, Nys asked Walsleben to hit the front and the duo passed the line with a 18-second gap over Peeters and Vantornout. Albert Had caught van der Haahr but the duo were now 27 seconds behind the front duo.


Nys allowed Walsleben to set the pace for most of the final lap and the German champion made several attempts to get rid of the veteran. When the Walsleben had technical problems at the bottom of a muddy climb, Nys tried to make a decisive attack and quickly opened up a gap. Impressively, Walsleben closed it on the ascent and immediately passed the world champion. At the top, the duo was riding together while Vantornout was now in along in 3rd.


Nys makes the decisive attack

On the final climb, Nys tried to make his lethal attack and again, he opened up a small gap. At the top, he entered the finishing straight 1 second ahead of Walsleben. The German champion did his best to close it down on the uphill asphalt section but admitted defeat, allowing the world champion to take another win.


Vantornout rolled across the line in 3rd while Peeters managed to hold off Albert to take 4th. Van der Haahr took 6th while Meeusen had faded back into 7th. Van Amerongen, Pauwels and Wubben rounded out the top 10.



1. Sven Nys

2. Philip Walsleben

3. Klaas Vantornout

4. Rob Peeters

5. Niels Albert

6. Lars van der Haahr

7. Tom Meeusen

8. Thijs van Amerongen

9. Kevin Pauwels

10. Niels Wubben


Overall standings:

1. Sven Nys 58

2. Niels Albert 51

3. Klaas Vantornout 51

4. Philip Walsleben 41

5. Lars van der Haahr 39

6. Tom Meeusen 31

7. Kevin Pauwels 28

8. Rob Peeters 28

9. Bart Aernouts 25

10. Thijs van Amerongen 23



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