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By beating his teammate Vantornout in a thrilling duel, Pauwels won the World Cup race in Milton Keynes and extended his lead in the overall standings

Photo: John de Jong










29.11.2014 @ 16:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Kevin Pauwels underlined his position as the massive favourite to win the overall World Cup when he beat his Sunweb teammate Klaas Vantornout to win the third round in Milton Keynes. Francis Mourey completed the podium while Sven Nys finished 8th after a disastrous start to the race.


Riding in the white jersey of World Cup leader, Kevin Pauwels finally broke his series of second places in the series when he won the third race in Milton Keynes. The Belgian came out on top after a thrilling battle with his teammate Klaas Vantornout.


The race turned out to be a gradual elimination race, with riders constantly dropping off due to the pace or some kind of mistake in the many muddy sections. At the start of the final lap, only three riders were left in contention, with Pauwels and Vantornout being joined by Francis Mourey after Lars van der Haar and Philip Walsleben had been dropped in the penultimate lap.


Mourey had done most of the pace-setting in the final laps and continued to apply the pressure as they started the last time round the circuit. However, the Frenchman made a costly mistake in a muddy turn, hitting the deck and losing contact with the leaders.


Pauwels was held up by the incident and so Vantornout got a small gap. The Belgian quickly realized that he had a small advantage and put in a big attack, trying to distance his teammate.


However, Pauwels refused to give up and he managed to rejoin his teammate. However, the chase had been costly and when they started to run up the main climb on the course, Vantornout again got a small gap.


For a brief moment, it seemed that Pauwels had to settle for second but the Belgian dug deep to rejoin his teammate. In the final part of the lap, he hung on for dear life before showing off his excellent sprinting skills to take his first World Cup victory of the season.


A disappointed Mourey had been joined  by van der Haar but as the Dutch champion was unable to get his foot back into the pedal as they hit the finishing straight, the Frenchman took an easy sprint win to take third, his first World Cup podium of the season. Philip Walsleben completed the top 5.


Sven Nys got the race off to a disastrous start as he dropped his chain just moments after he had set off. He spent more than 30 minutes trying to get it back on. He spent the rest of the race in chase mode and got to within 20 seconds of the leaders before he slowed down to save energy for tomorrow, rolling across the line in 8th.


With the win, Pauwels extended his lead in the overall standings and now holds a 35-point buffer over Vantornout. The World Cup resumes in Namur on December 21 but already tomorrow the main riders will be back in action in the Bpost Bank Trofee race in Hamme-Zogge.


How it unfolded:

Sven Nys got the race off to a disastrous start as he went down in a crash right from the beginning. The Belgian champion spent more than 30 seconds fixing his bike, meaning that he seemed to be out of the battle for the win.


Instead, it was World Cup leader Kevin Pauwels and Laurens Sweeck who got the race off to the best start, with the pair briefly getting a gap. However, things quickly come back together but Pauwels continued to set the pace for the biggest part of the first lap. Meanwhile, Nys was at the back end of the peloton and fought hard to move up.


As they crossed the line for the first time, Lars van der Haar briefly hit the front while Nys crossed the line 31 seconds later.  However, it was the German pair of Sacha Weber and Philip Walsleben who upped the pace as they started the second lap and they whittled down the peloton a bit more.


Running up a muddy climb, Walsleben managed to create a gap while Pauwels took off in pursuit. The in-form Belgian gradually closed the gap and at the second passage of the line, he made the junction. Lars van der Haar led a very large peloton across the line 6 seconds later while Nys was still around 30 seconds behind.


Walsleben led the front duo for the first part of the third lap before Pauwels took over. The pair were gradually extending their lead over the peloton in which van der Haar was chasing hard with Weber, Francis Mourey and Tom Meeusen on his wheel.


Running up the muddy climb, van der Haar dropped the rest of the peloton and the Dutch champion was now sprinting his way up towards the leaders. In a matter of seconds, he bridged the gap to make it a front trio.


At the third passage of the line, Francis Mourey and Klaas Vantornout had also made the junction while Tom Meeusen was just a few seconds behind. The peloton was now starting to splinter, with riders spread all across the circuit.


Meeusen joined the leader in the early part of the fourth lap as Pauwels continued to ride on the front. Nys was still moving up but he was constantly slowed down by the many riders he had to pass.


Running up the muddy climb, Meeusen was suffering and the Telenet rider was dropped and passed by his teammate Corne Van Kessel who was trying hard to bridge the gap. Meanwhile, Mourey took over the pace-setting in the front group.


At the passage of the line, Van Kessel had bridged the gap while Meeusen was now around 5 seconds back. As they started the next lap, Mourey continued his acceleration while Walsleben slid out in the mud and brought van Kessel down in the process, meaning that they both lost contact with the group.


Walsleben spent the rest of the lap chasing hard and at the next passage of the line, he was only 4 seconds behind. Meeusen and Van Kessel were at 10 seconds while Nys was next, just 23 seconds behind.


As they started the sixth lap, Vanrornout took over the pace-setting while Walsleben closed the final part of the gap to again make it a front quintet. At the halfway point, Pauwels again hit the front, clearly looking like the strongest rider in the group.


Pauwels led the group across the line to start the penultimate lap while Van Kessel and Meeusen had now lost ground, trailing the leaders by around 10 seconds. Nys’ progress had now stopped and he was no longer getting any closer to the front group.


Mourey went back to the front and set the pace for the entire lap. He managed to get rid of both Walsleben and van der Haar, with only the Sunweb duo of Vantornout and Pauwels hanging onto his back wheel.


The trio crossed the line to start the final lap with a slight advantage over van der Haar and Walsleben. Moments later, Mourey made a big mistake which brought him down and slowed Pauwels down, meaning that Vantornout got a gap.


Vantornout quickly realized that he had a small advantage and started to accelerate hard. However, his teammate Pauwels refused to give up and after a short chase, he rejoined the Belgian.


Mourey was still desperately trying to get back in contention but he was starting to lose ground, with van der Haar approaching him from behind. Meanwhile, Vantornout continued to set the pace for a little while before Pauwels again hit the front.


The World Cup leader tried to distance his teammate but instead he got passed as he made a mistake in a turn. Behind, van der Haar joined Mourey and were locked in a close battle for third place.


Running up the muddy climb, Vantornout managed to drop Pauwels who was forced into chase mode while his teammate continued his attack. Heading down the descent, the duo came back together but Vantornout continued to ride on the front without looking back.


Vantornout applied the pressure all the way to the finishing straight but unsurprisingly Pauwels was clearly the fastest, beating his teammate into second. Mourey beat van der Haar in the sprint for third while Walsleben had to settle for fifth ahead of van Kessel and Meeusen. Nys performed solidly after his disastrous start to take 8th.



1. Kevin Pauwels 1.03.01

2. Klaas Vantornout +0.01

3. Francis Mourey +0.16

4. Lars van der Haar +0.19

5. Philip Walsleben +0.43

6. Corne van Kessel +0.58

7. Tom Meeusen +1.00

8. Sven Nys +1.12

9. Bart Aernouts +1.32

10. Rob Peeters +1.38


Overall standings:

1. Kevin Pauwels 220

2. Klaas Vantornout 185

3. Corne Van Kessel 163

4. Tom Meeusen 153

5. Philip Walsleben 149

6. Lars van der Haar 140

7. Francis Mourey 124

8. Jens Adams 124

9. Bart Wellens 117

10. Rob Peeters 113



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