Two excellent races this past weekend have shaken up the Power Rankings somewhat. As always, the number in parenthesis indicates the rider’s placing from last weekend.
1. Zdenek Stybar (1) looked indisputably the strongest on Saturday, but a fast course and a tenacious Nys prevented him from slipping away for the win. Sunday’s crashfest relegated him to 6th, but make no mistake: he’s at the top of the heap right now.
2. Sven Nys (3) with two trips to the podium (3rd at Lille, 1st at Hoogstraten) last weekend, Nys looks lined up to finish the season strongly with leads in the GvA Trofee and Superprestige.
3. Kevin Pauwels (4) showed once again that he’s the man to beat in a sprint, but when conditions get rough – as in Sunday’s race at Hoogstraten – he struggles. If we see fast conditions for the final GvA race, look for him to come out on top of Nys.
4. Niels Albert (2) took home 2nd place on Sunday, but his guns seem quiet in the wake of a disappointing World Championship race.
5. Klaas Vantournout (5) seems to always finish fifth – not just in the power rankings, where he’s been entrenched for three weeks, but in the races, too. I’m sure he’d like to finish his season off with a podium finish. Can he do it?
6. Bart Wellens (9) was the man on the tail end of the whip that Stybar kept snapping Saturday at Lille, and yet, he kept dragging himself back to the lead group. Admirable grit from this savvy veteran. Never count him out for a good performance.
7. Tom Meeusen (nr) finished 7th and 11th this weekend – almost disappointing considering his two wins this season. Until his potential develops into a regular podium threat, he’ll consistently round out any big race’s top ten.
8. Philip Walsleben (7) stays on the top ten for a move that I failed to cover in the weekend wrap-up. After an early mechanical ended his hopes for a high finish, he softpedaled to open up room on the course, took a flying start at the start/finish, and clocked the fastest lap, taking home 1000Euro for the honors. A fine way to salvage a race.
9. Sven Vantourenhout (nr) took home a 5th and an 8th place this weekend – enough to place him on Pavé’s prestigious Power Rankings.
10. Gerben De Knegt (nr) dances on and off of the Power Rankings much the same way as he dances around 9th – 11th place finishes in major races.
Dropped, again: Francis Mourey (6) had two poor performances this weekend though I thought that Lille would have suited him. Must I wait another year for a big international win from the wiley Frenchman?
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Weekend Preview, and share your thoughts and comments below.