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Rabobank’s Sven Nys earned the fifth national cyclocross title of his career as he outpaced his closest challenger, defending champion Bart Wellens, in the Belgian championship race in Hofstade on Sunday.
The 31-year-old World Cup leader and world’s No. 1 repeated a feat he’d accomplished in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2006 and remains a favorite for the world’s championship race, scheduled for Treviso, Italy, on the 26th of this month.
Belgium, like most countries, schedules its national championship race for Sunday.
Nys had a bad start on Sunday, as he found himself lodged in 12th position within the first few 100 meters of the race, forcing him to chase for the first half of the race.
Reigning world champion Erwin Vervecken took the early lead and was clearly aware of Nys’s early problems. But by the halfway mark of the race, Vervecken began to fade and was soon caught, first by Wellens and then Nys.
“It was an exciting race,” said Nys. “Early on, I was really frustrated as it seemed like some riders managed to get off before the gun. I found myself stuck in the second group, about the worst situation I could imagine. But I was pretty fired up and it worked out well.”
With the race essentially down to two, Nys said he had to time his move to force Wellens back into second.
“I felt that I still had the legs to attack even if the tempo was already very high,” he said.
Nys, who has only one rainbow jersey to his credit, says he is focusing all of his energy on Treviso.
“I am in a good position to make this the best season ever,” he said. “Leading the World Cup, No. 1 in the UCI rankings, on top of the Superprestige series… all that’s left is the world championship.”
European National Championship Results
1. Sven Nys (Rabobank) in 1: 04:15
2. Bart Wellens, at 0:02
3. Niels Albert, at 0:04
4. Erwin Vervecken, at 0:04
5. Bart Aernouts, at 0:25
6. Klas Vantornout, at 0:53
7. Dieter Vanthourenhot, at 0:57
8. Kevin Pauwels, at 1:38
9. Sven Vanthourenhout, at 1:52
10. Jan Soetens, at 1:54.
1. Francis Mourey (Francaise des Jeux) 27.5km in 1:02:06 (23.333kph)
2. John Gadret (AG2R), at 0:47
3. Arnaud Labbe (Bouygues Telecom), s.t.
4. Geoffrey Clochez (Ile-de-France), at 0:52
5. Julien Belgy (Bouygues Telecom), at 1:22
6. Nicolas Bazin (Ile-de-France), at 1:32
7. Julien Roussel (Normandie), at 2:27
8. Steve Chainel (Auber 93), at 2:40
9. David Pagnier (Nord/Pas-de-Calais), at 2:40
10. Frankie Theot (Normandie), at 2:43
1. Laurence Leboucher (Pays de Loire), 13.55km in 39:19 (20.678kph)
2. Maryline Salvetat (Midi-Pyrénées), at 0:50
3. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Languedoc-Roussillon), at 1:24
4. Caroline Mani (Franche-Comté), at 1:50
5. Nadia Triquet-Claude (Lorraine), at 2:21
6. Hélene Marcouyre (Ile-de-France), at 2:59
7. Cynthia Huygens (Nord/Pas-de-Calais), at 3:55
8. Camille Darcel (Bretagne), at 4:21
9. Maureen Guichardot (Franche-Comté), at 4:23
10. Sandrine Baldassarre (Rhone-Alpes), at 4:30
1. Christian Poulsen
2. Joachim Parbo
3. Tommy Nielsen