A GREAT race in Zonhoven today! a beautiful hard route with a scary descent and a big climb, some tricky curves and lots of wind. It was raining during the U23 race - a bad crah there: a guy badly fell in the descent. A livid face under a termic sheet: lets hope he's fine - but the elites got a better weather and a low tender sun was shining on the finish. On the brutal win of Nys.
He dominated the last laps, imposed his power on the climb and his technic in the descent. Albert showed class and style - look him flying down solo on the muddy lined descent - and showed character too contrasting the assoults of a very aggresive Nys. To be honest I didn't like the move when Nys pushed him aside trying to pass: Albert didn't give up but was forced to put his feet on the ground. Arrogant, rude, aggressive... but I must admit Nys has got the winner mark.
Before, though, a different race: the young Lars Van der Haar impetuously sprinted at the start followed, joined and pulled by Klaas Vantornout. They broke away, led for some laps then got caught. Cards got shuffled, the main contenders went in front and Van der Haar was there: Albert, Nys, Pauwels, Van der Haar, Aernouts. Behinde as usual Taramarcaz in BMC jersey pulling the chasing group.
But suddenly cards got shuffled again, dramaticly: Kevin Pauwels disastrously fell on the descent. Fortunately his bike flew far away and didn't hit him. He was back on his feet, slowly took it and fixed the twisted front wheel. He was still there when Van der Haar arrived and passed him, safely! Van der Haar was now 3rd, on the podium with the Belgian champion and the World champion: a dream. He was fighting to death, determined and brave. And I was glued to the screan: wow! bravo! what a race! A little sorry for Kevin Pauwels of course but very happy for that young talented Dutch.
The last lap was madly fast. The low sun often blinded the tv cameras. An epic duel at the front. A furious chase just behinde. On the rining bell I almost cried seeing Vander Haar arriving first to join the leading duo. But on the finish line there was Bart Aernouts in 3rd position, my favourites both off the podium. Kevin Pauwels of course can't be happy. Lars Van der Haar should enjoy that wonderful 5th place. He was smiling when interviwed. I understood nothing but guess he agrees: he fought against the cyclocross giants. For the podium, for the victory... it's just matter of time!
|1||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-KDL|
|2||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus|
|3||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team|
|4||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|5||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team|
|6||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team|
|7||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet - Fidea|
|8||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea|
|9||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|10||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP - Powerplus|