By VeloNews Interactive wire services, copyright AFP2001
Rabobank’s Sven Nijs outrode a strong group of the world’s best to win the third round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series in Asper-Gavere, Belgium on Sunday. Nijs beat countryman Tom Vannoppen and Dutch champion Richard Groenendaal.
Nijs powered through a tough course in Gavere as a member of a six-man lead group made up of five Belgians — Nijs, Vannoppen, Bart Wellens, Mario Declercq and world champion Erwin Vervecken – as well as the Netherland’s Groenendaal. Nijs took advantage of his superior handling skills in the course’s technical sections and gradually built a small, but decisive lead. Vannoppen tried to hold the young Belgian champion’s wheel, but soon faded back.
Nijs’s win gave him an eleven-point lead in the overall Superprestige standings over fellow Belgian Bart Wellens.
1. Sven Nijs (Bel/Rabobank), in 57:57;
2. Tom Vannoppen (Bel), at 0:15;
3. Richard Groenendaal (PBS), at 0:22;
4. Bart Wellens (Bel), at 0:38;
5. Mario De Clercq (Bel), at 0:43;
6. Erwin Vervecken (Bel), at 1:20;
7. Gerben De Knegt (PBS), at s.t.;
8. Sven Vantourenhout (Bel), at 1:46;
9. Peter Van Santvliet (Bel), at 2:00;
10. Geoffrey Clochez (Fra), at 2:05
Overall standings (after three rounds):
1. Sven Nijs (Bel/Rabobank), 80 pts;
2. Bart Wellens (Bel), 69;
3. Erwin Vervecken (Bel), 66;
4. Tom Vannoppen (Bel), 57;
5. Mario Declercq (Bel), 48;