Old school guys do it better. Let me tell I was somehow glad to see two riders almost my age destroying the field in Gavere: Klass Vantornout made the race today, not as a domestique but as a great champion. I apreciated his aggressiveness and determination.
The big names in cyclocross wasn't looking good and some of them didn't have a good day for sure: Niels Albert, far behinde, Kevin Pauwels, only 6th, Lars Van de Haar who sprinted ahead at the start but finished at the true back.
It was a muddy, heavy, hard race. It was a race for Sven Nys. This year the Belgian champ is showing a terrific shape, winning always and everywhere but here it was objectively the favourite. Wellens' team looked dangerous, they put many riders in front in the first laps and in fact they had two of them in front at the end: Wellens 3th and Peeters 4th. Aernouts was the first one to emerge from the chasing group trying to join Vantornout who had excaped soon.
At a certain moment Lars Van der Haar and Sven Nys were fighting wheel to wheel to excape but Nys succeeded while the young Dutch failed. Nys went away with Pauwels on his wheel, easily passed Aernouts, joined Vantornout and after that the fight was only between those two. Pauwels could follow but looked suffering, not able to keep the pace and in the end dropped.
You know I don't like Nys but I can't avoid to admire his technic and his character. Today in some passages he was amazing. His duel with Klass Vantornout was one of the most thrilling moment ever in my - short - cyclocross memory. The end was probably written given that Nys... is Nys. But I beloved to see Vantornout making it hard for him, attacking till till the line.
The last lap was breathtaking. Vantonout tried many times to pass Nys or to prevent him to pass, even pushed him by a hand while running beside him and while they were both changing their bike Nys got almost impeded by a mechanic of his opponent's team. Not on purpose, I'm not telling that. Pressure, excitement, stress were overwhelming. Nys wanted to drop Vantornout, he wanted for sure to put a gap between but couldn't. He won at the sprint and Vantornout bent his head scornfully on the handlebar, hidind his face upset by pain and rage.
All faces were very dirty on mud today. All faces Nys' one excluded. How can he keep it so - relatively - clean? Pauwels' face instead was a mask of mud. His blue eyes were looking lost while he was interviewed, after the race, before a podium cerimony he didn't have a place in. Niels Albert confirmed it had been a bad day. I like him because he always finds the way to smile.
A beautiful rosy light was shining on the golden trees in Gavere: the magic of the Autumn, the magic of the cyclocross.
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-KDL|
|2||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|3||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|5||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea|
|6||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus|
|7||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|8||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink|
|9||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team|
|10||Lars van der Haar (Ned)|