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World champion benefits from mistake from Vantornout to open a small gap with less than half a lap to go and stays away all the way to the finish to take his fourth consecutive win in the race in Overijse

Photo: John de Jong

KEVIN PAUWELS

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NEWS

LARS VAN DER HAAR

NEWS
08.12.2013 @ 18:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After three straight wins for Niels Albert, Sven Nys was back on the top step of the podium at the Druivencross in Ovrijse today. While his archrival was in chase mode throughout the entire race, the world champion rode a smart race and benefited from a small mistake from Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout to take his fourth consecutive win in the race.

 

When Sven Nys won the races in Hasselt and Gavere three weeks ago, the world champion appeared to be almost unstoppable. However, that run of success only preceded a frustrating time for the veteran who saw his archrival Niels Albert take over his dominant position in the weeks that followed, with the former world champion winning three major races in a row.

 

On Saturday, Albert was unbeatable in the Scheldecross while Nys finished a disappointing 9th but when it was time for the revenge match in today's Druivencross, the roles were reversed. While Albert got a bad start and chased for the entire race without ever making it back to the front, Nys rode a smart race that allowed him to find back to his winning ways.

 

The world champion stayed towards the back of the main peloton for most of the early part of the race but when the race reached its crucial point, he knew that it was time to kick into action. His fierce acceleration created the decisive 4-rider group as he was joined by Klaas Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels and Lars van der Haahr in the move that proved to be the winning one.

 

The four riders observed a ceasefire for a few laps until the war broke out on the final lap. Vantornout tried to break his rivals but as he had no success in his mission, Nys knew that it was time to apply the pressure.

 

The world champion made a fierce acceleration and his pace was fast enough to force Vantornout to make a mistake in second position. This forced van der Haahr and a struggling Pauwels to slow down and that proved to be decisive. No one ever saw Nys again and the world champion could safely cross the line to take his fourth consecutive win in the race. Van der Haahr beat Pauwels in the sprint for second while Albert rolled across the line in a disappointing 8th.

 

While all the major series have a small break in their calendars,  the best cyclo-cross racers will be back in action next Sunday in the race in Kalmthout.

 

Pauwels with a fast start

Unsually, Kevin Pauwels won the opening sprint and he led the peloton onto the cobbled section for the first time. He was quickly overtaken by Lubomir Petrus who was responsible for the pace-setting for most of the first lap until Pauwels again hit the front.

 

An incident that brought down to riders saw Pauwels open a gap on the main peloton and he crossed the line with a 9-second advantage over his chasers. Meanwhile, Niels Albert had had his usual bad start and crossed the line 24 seconds later then Pauwels.

 

Van Amerongen leads the chase

On the second lap, Thijs van Amerongen was responsible set the pace in the peloton which was now splintering on the tough course in Overijse. Klaas Vantornout and Philipp Walsleben were riding in the next positions while Albert was now gradually moving back towards the front.

 

Walsleeben hit the front and his acceleration was enough to create a chase trio that consisted of the German champion, Vantornout and van Amerongen. The trio started to close the gap to Pauwels while Marcel Meisen took over the pace-setting in the peloton.

 

A bigger front group is formed

The trio joined forces with Walsleben to form a front quartet. Vantornout hit the front and the Belgian champion set the time for most of the lap. However, Meisen gradually brought things back together and as they crossed the line a 10-rider front group was formed.

 

Van Amerongen led the peloton during the first part of the lap while disaster struck for Walsleben as the Belgian dropped his chain and lost contact with his group. He was even passed by Albert who was still in chase mode as he tried to get back to the front group.

 

Nys makes his first acceleration

Pauwels and van Amerongen got a small gap but as they passed the line to start the next line, Nys showed his strength for the first time. The world champion closed the gap and splintered the group as only Meisen, Lars van der Haahr and Vantornout were able to match his speed.

 

Nys hit the front and set the pace for most of the lap while Meisen was struggling to stay in contact. Bart Aernouts was the nearest chaser while Albert was now riding on his own in 8th position.

 

Meisen is dropped

Nys’ pace was too much for Meisen who was dropped and as they passed the line, the German had fallen back to Aernouts and Albert who were 7 seconds behind the 5 leaders. Dieter Vanthourenhout was in 9th position.

 

Nys upped the pace as soon as they started the 6th lap and this put van Amerongen into difficulty. Meanwhile, Albert had dropped his companions and was now chasing on his own.

 

Albert has a mechanical

Nys continued his fierce pace with Vantornout, van der Haahr and Pauwels on his wheel, with the latter clearly struggling to keep up with the world champion. Albert had been rejoined by Aernouts and Meisen and the former world champion lost a bit of ground due to a mechanical and had to change his bike in the pits.

 

Nys had no intentions of slowing down and led the peloton across the line to start the 7th lap. Meanwhile, Albert had realized that his winning streak had come to an end and was riding on his own, clearly with no motivation to continue his battle.

 

Van der Haahr rides strongly

Van der Haahr passed Vantornout to move into second position and that was a wise decision. The Belgian champion was clearly struggling to keep up with Nys but the tiny Dutchman was glued to the world champion’s wheel.

 

Nys stepped aside to allow van der Haahr to take over the pace-setting duties and the Dutchman led the front quartet for the second half of the lap. The world champion moved into third position, with Pauwels staying at the back of the front group.

 

Ceasefire in the front group

Van der Haahr was not riding full gas and the four leaders were clearly saving some energy for the finale. As they crossed the line to start the final lap, they looked at each other, with Vantornout hitting the front. Van Amerongen, Meisen and Aernouts crossed the line 16 seconds behind the front quartet.

 

Vantornout tried to apply the pressure with Nys on his wheel but the Belgian champion failed to trouble his companions. However, he was passed by Nys when they were halfway through the lap and this proved to be the decisive action.

 

The decisive action

The world champion accelerated furiously and when Vantornout made a mistake, van der Haahr was briefly forced to slow down. Nys opened up a gap on his chasers and despite van der Haahr’s best attempt to close it down, he was unable to do so.

 

Nys crossed the line to take his fourth win in a row while van der Haahr held off Pauwels in the sprint for 2nd. Vantornout rolled across the line in 4th while Meisen was 5th, Aernouts 6th and van Amerongen 7th. Albert rolled slowly across the line in 8th, with Dieter Vanthourenhout and Rob Peeters rounding out the top 10.

 

Result:

1. Sven Nys

2. Lars van der Haahr

3. Kevin Pauwels

4. Klaas Vantornout

5. Marcel Meisen

6. Bart Aernouts

7. Thijs van Amerongen

8. Niels Albert

9. Dieter Vanthourenhout

10. Rob Peeters

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