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Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) won the GP Mario de Clerq in Ronse on Sunday.
The world champion rode alone to victory in a soggy, mud-slathered contest — the first round of the bpost Bank Trofee Series — that saw crash after crash on a tough, technical circuit. Nys went down at least once, as did Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), who wound up third on the day, behind a charging Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah).
The three had been part of a seven-man lead group with four laps remaining. But Nys and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) got away after a series of crashes shattered the group, and soon the world champ left Vantornout behind.
Albert led the chase. With two to go he was just four seconds down on Nys, with a five-man chase at 22 seconds and Bina in between.
Bina eventually worked his way up to Albert, but the two were 19 seconds behind as Nys raced into the bell lap.
On the last go-round Bina broke free of Albert and rode in for second, some 16 seconds down. Albert hung on for third three seconds later.
The next round of the series will be the Koppenbergcross November 1 at Oudenaarde.