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By Marcel Van Hoecke
Belgian Sven Nys continued his winning ways as he won the fifth round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series in Gavere, Belgium, on Sunday.
Nys successfully attacked an elite group of world-class ‘crossers in the closing meters of Sunday’s race to take his ninth win of the year – his second in the series – and to further solidify his hold on the overall lead in the Superprestige. The win is also the 24th Superprestige victory of Nys’s career.
Belgian Erwin Vervecken made an early attack, charging off of the front row not long after the start. His Fidea teammate, defending world champion Bart Wellens, had a terrible position at the start, because of three weeks off the bike. Nonetheless, Wellens worked his way up through the field and stayed with the lead group coming through the end of the first lap.
Indeed, Wellens’ form appeared to be on the upswing after a shaky start to his season, and the man in the rainbow jersey was with an elite group of seven riders – Nys, Vervecken, Ben Berden, Richard Groenendaal, Tom Vannoppen and John Gadret – at the halfway mark.
Wellens even gave a strong chase when Nys attacked with a little past the halfway mark, closing the gap and keeping the lead group together.
Wellens then launched an attack and remarkably Vannoppen could keep up. Only one lap after his escape Wellens slipped on a steep climb and could not regain his momentum. Vannoppen caught Wellens, and was soon swept up by the Nys-led chase group.
Wellens eventually lost contact with the leaders and finished sixth on the day.
Ahead, Nys, Berden, Vervecken, Groenendaal and Gadret continued to battle for the win. With three laps remaining, Berden tried a strong charge off the front of the group, a move that was quickly countered by Groenendaal.
A series of attacks from the group kept the pace high and Nys finally succeeded in creating a gap, charging ahead in the final lap, leaving Berden, Vervecken and Gadret to finish several seconds back. Groenendaal rounded out the top five for the day.
1. Sven Nys (B), Rabobank, at 1:20:00
2. Ben Berden (B), Saey, at 0:04
3. Erwin Vervecken (B), Fidea, s.t.
4. John Gadret (F), Chocolade Jacques, at 0:10
5. Richard Groenendaal (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:21
6. Bart Wellens (B), Fidea, at 0:31
7. Tom Vannoppen (B), MrBookmaker, at 0:49
8. Enrico Franzoi (I), Saeco, at 0:56
9. Sven Vanthourenhout (B), Quickstep
10. Davy Commeyne (B), MrBookmaker, at 2:02
11. Jan Verstraeten (B), Saey, at 2:23
12. Peter Van Santvliet (B), Fidea, at 2:42
13. Martin Zlámalík (Cz), Budvar, at 2:48
14. Jonathan Page (USA), Cervelo, at 2:51
15. Martin Nijland (Nl), Heijdens, at 3:03
16. Wilant van Gils (Nl), Rietveld WTC, s.t.
17. Tim Van Nuffel (B), Saey, at 3:22
18. Petr Dlask (Cz), Author Praha, at 3:53
19. Tadeusz Korzeniewski (Pol), Polska at 4:06
20. Christian Heule (Swi), Stevens International, at 4:15Overall standings
1. Sven Nys (B), Rabobank – 57 points
2. Ben Berden (B), Saey – 50
3. Tom Vannoppen (B), MrBookmaker – 48
4. Richard Groenendaal (Nl), Rabobank – 47
5. Sven Vanthourenhout (B), Quickstep – 47
6. Bart Wellens (B), Fidea – 40
7. Erwin Vervecken (B), Fidea – 29
8. Tim Van Nuffel (B), Saey – 23
9. Enrico Franzoi (I), Saeco – 17
10. Wim Jacobs (B), Fidea – 15
11. Davy Commeyne (B), MrBookmaker – 14
12. Wilant van Gils (Nl), Rietveld – 13
13. John Gadret (F), Chocolade Jacques – 12
14. Peter Van Santvliet (B), Fidea – 12
15. Martin Nijland (Nl), Heijdens – 12
16. Jonathan Page (USA), Cervelo – 8
17. Camiel van den Bergh (Nl), Saey – 7
18. Bart Aernouts (B), Rabobank – 6
19. Václav Jezek (Cz), Author Praha – 5
20. Jan Verstraeten (B), Saey – 5