After a hard-fought weekend of cyclocross racing, and what was no doubt an excellent party to celebrate the GvA Trofee, the season is over. Here are PavÃ©’s Power Rankings at the end of the 2010-2011 season:
1. Sven Nys (2) – Nys finished the season strongly, capturing the Superprestige and the GvA Trofee, after a string of bad luck, illness, and freak accidents put a dent into the middle of his season. He didn’t need to win the race in Oostmalle to finish on top; rather, his steady, ongoing domination of two of the three major series in cyclocross shows he’s got what it takes all season long.
2. Zdenek Stybar (3) – Though decidedly less dominant since his convincing World Championship win in St-Wendel a month ago, Stybar has still made his rivals suffer behind him on a number of occasions. In Oostmalle he did the lion’s share of work for Pauwels. It didn’t work for Pauwels, but Stybar wound up finishing second in the GvA overall.
3. Niels Albert (7) – Though he’s been quiet in recent weeks, Albert took home a 3rd place and a win this past weekend, finishing the year strongly.
4. Bart Wellens (6) – with a win in Cauberg and 5th in Oostmalle to complement his 3rd place in Middelkerke the week before, Wellens is another top dog enjoying a strong end to the season.
5. Philipp Walsleben (5) – The tail end of the season has been nice to Walsleben, who’s had two podiums in the past two weeks. Will he be able to take home a few big wins next season?
6. Bart Aernouts (nr) has been quiet recently after a string of top-ten results earlier in the season, but 3rd and 4th this weekend bring him back to the Power Rankings. He was one of the few able to take advantage of the Telenet-Fidea/Sven Nys rivaly in Oostmalle, and it paid off with a podium place.
7. Kevin Pauwels (1) allowed the pressure of potentially winning the GvA Trofee to affect his performance, and though part of his defeat was due to a poorly-timed flat tire, part was due to his relative inexperience. With five wins and a podium at World Championships, though, it’s been a banner year for the young Belgian – podiuming the WC and the GvA may be more impressive than snatching a win here and there. Look for him to be a force next season.
8. Gerben de Knegt (10), steadily lurking outside of the top five, picked up another pair of top-ten results t weekend.
9. Rob Peeters (nr) finished 6th and 9th in Cauberg and Oostmalle respectively
10. Klaas Vantornout (4) didn’t have much to follow up his win last weekend, managing 6th in Oostmalle but constantly looking as though he was just one more Stybar or Nys acceleration from being snapped off the end of the line. He finishes the season toward the tail end of the top ten, but he’ll be joined at Sunweb-Revor by Kevin Pauwels next year – that should ease the pressure.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Page, who once again finished just outside the top ten. He was saddled with some injuries and discomfort earlier in the season, but his results toward the end – knocking at the door of the top ten in major races, and fourth place in a thinner field in Heerlen – suggest that with a season free of disruptions he could be a threat to snatch some top five results.
Dropped this week: Tom Meeusen (8), Sven Vantorenhout (9).