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Pages become parents
By Marcel Van Hoecke, Special to VeloNews
Belgian Sven Nijs scored his 23rd victory in the famed Superprestige cyclo-cross series, taking an event in Ruddervoorde, Belgium, on Sunday.
Nijs fought hard after an early strong start by Belgian rival Sven Vanthourenhout. But Vanthourenhout lost momentum when he misjudged his line, crashed and saw Nijs scamper past him.
Vanthourenhout teamed up with Ben Berden to give chase and the pair was soon joined by a surprisingly strong Richard Groenendaal. Still, even with that kind of horsepower in the chase, Nijs managed to stay off the front, crashing only on the final lap, a mishap that did not cost him too dearly.
“I’ve had much tougher times at this race in the past than I did today,” Nijs said. “It all came together nicely. This just showed who’s the best of the season at this moment. Perhaps this won’t last until the end of the season, but I can enjoy the moment.”
Behind him, Groenendaal made his attack in the closing laps, putting distance on the two others in the chase and eventually finishing second. Indeed, Vanthourenhout, trying to close the gap, crashed in the final turn and lost third place to Berden.
Disappointed, Vanthourenhout said he probably took a few too many chances Sunday in an effort to perform well in front of what he considers his home-town crowd.
” I tried to keep up with Nijs, even knowing he was faster then me today,” Vanthourenhout said. “When he took a lead of four to five metres, it took a big risk and slipped. But Ruddervoorde is a special cross for me and I just tried my best.”
Meanwhile world champion Bart Wellens suffered from a swollen ankle from a crash on Saturday and encountered a few mechanical problems on Sunday, forcing a bike change on the first lap. Still, the man in the rainbow jersey managed to take fifth.
American Jonathan Page took eleventh, but was probably the day’s biggest winner as he and his wife Cory became the parents of a beautiful daughter, Emma. Page nonetheless, managed to toe the start line, but arriving only with a few minutes to spare.