By: Brecht Decaluwé
World champion beats Albert in a sprint
World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) surged forward late in the
sandy Zonhoven Superprestige race to grab the win on Sunday afternoon.
The world champion outsprinted Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and moved
into the lead of the overall Superprestige rankings after two rounds.
Former leader Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) finished third a
short time later.
Vantornout and Dutch champion Lars van der Haar (Rabo Development
Team) led for most of the race on the spectacular course with the sand
quarry but didn't have anything left in their tanks when Albert and Nys
launched their offensive; Van der Haar went on to finish fourth.
Nys struggled to move up towards the early leaders due to a bad start, heavy traffic and a flat tyre.
"Two laps before the end, I started getting a grip on the race," said
Nys to TV-Channel Vier. "Niels went flat out, and I made no mistakes
behind him. In the sprint, I clicked out of the pedal, but I was strong
enough to hold on for the win. It was a great race for the riders, and
it's nice to come out winning. It's one to remember."
While Nys and Albert were caught in traffic early on, Vantornout
applied the tactic of putting pressure on right from the start. The
Belgian champion used his usual hole-shot start to set a fierce pace
which only Van der Haar was able to mark.
"It was my plan to ride my own race in front. It's easier to choose
your tracks on this course. There were a few tough sections with a lot
of headwind though and riding an hour in front is very long," Vantornout
That's why Vantornout eventually ended his cooperation with Van der
Haar. "Everybody made mistakes. If you rode flawlessly, it was possible
to close a gap of 15 seconds in no time."
Halfway through the race, Albert and teammate Philipp Walsleben
(BKCP-Powerplus) bridged up to Vantornout and Van der Haar with Nys
trailing by a dozen seconds together with Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon
Games). "I always struggled to move up due to mistakes from others, my
own mistakes or a flat tyre," Nys said.
Four laps before the finish Nys bridged up to the leaders for the
first time, but as the world champion described, he wasn't comfortable
yet due to setbacks in the sand sections.
In the penultimate lap, Nys made his move forward through the field
during the second part of the course. Just ahead of a tricky uphill sand
section, a brutal Nys set Vantornout aside. "Those are nice duels. We
all want to win. That's what the people like to see, and me too,"
Vantornout said. "It gave me a boost to fight even harder."
Nys hopped off the bike little later and used the sand section to
recover. As a result, four riders entered the final lap, ready to battle
it out for the victory.
Albert took the initiative and set a fierce pace in front. Van der
Haar was the first victim and let his foot off the gas. Only Nys was
able to hold Albert's wheel while Vantornout slowly faded away. Albert
put Nys in trouble, but he was unable to gain more than a handful of
metres on the world champion.
"Sven and I were the best, especially in the final laps. I tried but
Sven made no mistakes in the final lap otherwise it was possible. On the
other hand, I'm happy with my form after a few tough weeks," Albert
Nys profited from Albert's hard work and just before the final
corner, he moved in first place which was necessary considering the
short finishing straight. Although Nys clicked out of the pedal, he held
on for the win. "Albert was spending a lot of energy in that section
before the final corners. I managed to recover there," Nys said.
Next week the third round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series
will be held in Hamme-Zogge. "I heard it'll be raining all week, so
there will be a great course for us," Albert is looking forward to the
Article Source and for Full Results: Cycling News