In the mud

I didn't like it but who cares? It was dirty, ugly and nasty. It was hard to recognize riders and jerseys, you could see Stybar white teeth on the line while he was grinding in his muddy face. It was raining, the path was flooded and passing bikes rose loud muddy spurts. The front group cutted the deep dirty water like a convoy of boats. 

VIDEO final lap Bpost Bank Trofee @ Essen http://bit.ly/Wxnutg
They were: Nys - who sprinted at the start but couldn't make the difference - Albert - who did a great race till when a mistake costed him the lead - Peeters who was flying to the win but crashed - Vantornout who endured the heavy field at the front but got it wrong - his team mate Pauwels who had a mechanic problem and got irreparably dropped - Denuwelaere and Stybar who struggled till the finish with a huge determination. 
Stybar was amazing. Denuwelaere was a surprise. I didn't think Stybar could be so strong in his first cyclocross after so many time. Class is class. He dominated, managed his strength, attacked in the last laps with such a power nobody could resist. Denuwelaere kept the front all the race, effective in the mud, fast on the concrete. It was a great duel. I understand that Stybar greatly wanted the victory. He humiliated his old contender Nys in spite his very good road race season and few cyclocross training. But there is no doubt that at the finish he closed Denuwelaere against the barriers. Then he lost his balance, touched the other and made him fall. I think he didn't touched him on purpose but he willingly deviated during a sprint and that's forbiden. Moreover that's dangerous.
Stybar crossed the line first rising his arm in an angry gesture while Denuwelaere remained on the ground covered in mud holding his shoulder in pain. Then Peeters and Albert arrived side to side. Impressive to see the photofinish: Stybar and then a bike, then a rider still linked by a foot, then his body projected on the ground, then the chasers in the background. And water, mud, silver brown asphalt.
Stybar has been relegated to the 4th place and the victory assigned to Denuwelaere in front of Peeters and Albert. That's fair. But it's the first time I see a race victory assigned to somebody who didn't cross the line. I mean: he did walking and after Peeters and Albert. Anyway those two were dropped and the jury decided the crash was only Stybar's fault. 
A bitter end for a too nasty race. Stybar of course said sorry. Down the podium Denuwelaere still looked shocked.
1. Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team
2. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus

4. Zdeněk Štybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
6. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
7. Thijs van Amerongen (Bel) AA Drink
8. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
9. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea

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