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Cyclocross

Nijs wins World Cup in Liévin; Groenendaal leads series

Belgian Sven Nijs took the third round of the UCI’s World Cup cyclo-cross series in Liévin, France on Sunday, after his Rabobank teammate, Dutchman Richard Groenendaal, encountered difficulties in the second half of the hour-long race. Groenendaal maintains the overall lead in the series and appeared set to win his second World Cup race of the season on Sunday as he powered out of an elite group of riders that included Nijs and world champion Mario de Clerq. Fast start-tough course The race began with a fast charge out of the field by Dutch champion Gerben de Knegt, but the Rabobank man

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By VeloNews Interactive

Nijs

Nijs

Photo: Cor Vos

Belgian Sven Nijs took the third round of the UCI’s World Cup cyclo-cross series in Liévin, France on Sunday, after his Rabobank teammate, Dutchman Richard Groenendaal, encountered difficulties in the second half of the hour-long race.

Groenendaal maintains the overall lead in the series and appeared set to win his second World Cup race of the season on Sunday as he powered out of an elite group of riders that included Nijs and world champion Mario de Clerq.

Fast start-tough course
The race began with a fast charge out of the field by Dutch champion Gerben de Knegt, but the Rabobank man crashed after just 300 meters. The lead position was taken over by the winner of the first World Cup, Belgian champion Bart Wellens, but his moment in the spotlight last little longer than De Knegt’s as he flatted before the end of the first lap.

Groenendaal: Lost the battle, still winning the war.

Groenendaal: Lost the battle, still winning the war.

Photo: Cor Vos

Soon, a strong group emerged at the front, including Nijs, Groenendaal, De Clerq and Tom Vanoppen. But Groenendaal appeared hell-bent on a win and picked up the pace on the second lap. Only De Clerq managed to stay with the Dutchman.

Nijs and Vanoppen maintained a strong pursuit, while another goup of four – Belgians Ben Berden and Sven Vanthourenhout, Czech rider Petr Dlask and recently crowned U.S. champion Jonathan Page – tried closing the gap.

By the end of the second of nine laps, Groenendaal attacked again, leaving De Clerq to chase on his own. Having been ill for the early part of the week, De Clerq faded back and was caught by Nijs and Vanoppen. He was soon passed, too, by a hard-charging Wellens who fought his way back from the rear of the field after his flat to eventually finish the day in third.

Groenendaal maintained a significant 30-second lead over his pursuers on the very technical 2.7km course. But Groenendaal’s luck ran out with at the half-way mark in the 60-minute event, as he flatted just after passing through the support pits. Nijs quickly caught the Dutch rider and built up an advantage of 15 seconds on his own.

“At that moment I felt very strong and I was almost sure of a win,” Groenendaal later said. “But I had a flat tire, only twenty meters after the pits. I had to ride half a lap on that flat and so I lost my lead. Instead, I found myself chasing Sven. That was very hard, especially mentally.”

Tough as it was, Groenendaal managed to fight back after a quick bike exchange and rejoined with two laps remaining. But Groenendaal’s troubles continued as he fell three times on those final two laps, giving Nijs a clear shot at the win.

While perhaps frustrated by missing the win, Groenendaal emerged from a three-way tie in the overall World Cup standings, to take a five-point lead over Wellens and 10 points over Nijs. The next round of the UCI cyclo-cross World Cup is slated for January 19 in Wetzikon, Switzerland. UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, January Liévin, France

1. Sven Nijs (B) 58:02
2. Richard Groenendaal (Nl), at 0:19
3. Bart Wellens (B), at 0:46
4. Mario De Clercq (B), at 1:01
5. Ben Berden (B), at 1:04
6. Tom Vannoppen (B), at 1:22
7. John Gadret (F), at 1:32
8. Sven Vanthourenhout (B), at 2:22
9. Petr Dlask (Cz), at 2:28
10. Jiri Pospisil (Cz), at 2:40
11. Christian Heule (Swi), at 2:44
12. Vaclav Jezek (Cz), at 2:51
13. Michael Baumgartner (Swi), at 2:57
14. Arnaud Labbe (F), at 3:09
15. Gerben De Knegt (Nl), at 3:17
16. David Derepas (F), at 3:28
17. Daniele Pontoni (I), at 3:36
18. Jean-Baptiste Beraud (F), at 3:39
19. Maarten Nijland (Nl), at 3:49
20. Enrico Franzoi (I), at 4:26
21. Matthew Ellis (GB), at 4:41
22. Jonathan Page (USA), at 4:55
23. Tadeusz Korzeniewski (Pol), at 5:04
24. Christophe Morel (F), at 5:30
25. Roger Hammond (GB), at 5:38
26. Robert Glajza (Svk), at 5:40
27. Massimo Sargenti (I), at 5:44
28. Michael Müller (Swi), at 5:49
29. Vaclaf Metlicka (Svk), at 5:55
30. Tommy Nielsen (Dk), at 6:03
31. Thijs Verhagen (Nl), at 6:31
32. Maik Muller (G), at 6:37
33. Martin Zlamalik (Cz), at 6:44
34. Beat Wabel (Swi), at 6:48
35. Luca Bramati (I), at 6:51
36. Simon Zahner (Swi), at 6:54
37. Wilant Van Gils (Nl), at 7:10
38. Kamil Ausbuher (Cz), at 7:13
39. David Rusch (Swi), at 7:18
40. Thorsten Struch (G), at 8:07
41. Christianwasmer (G), at 1 Lap
42. Stefano Toffoletti (I), at 1 Lap

Overall standings, after 3 of 5 rounds
1. Richard Groenendaal (Nl) – 150 pts
2. Bart Wellens (B) – 145
3t. Sven Nijs (B) 140
3t. Mario De Clercq (B) – 140
5t. Ben Berden (B) – 80
5t. Sven Vanthourenhout (B) – 80
7t. Jiri Pospisil (Cz) – 69
7t. Vaclav Jezek (Cz) – 69
9. John Gadret (F) – 65
10. Gerben de Knegt (Nl) – 64

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