World Cup Round #2 – Tabor
At round two of the prestigious World Cup series, Sunweb-Revor rider Kevin Pauwels simply rode away from a massive lead group midway through Sunday’s race. The Belgian had almost a minute at one point, with Zdenek Stybar doing most of the chasing on the course where he won his first World Championship in 2009-2010. Stybar would take second after outsprinting Pauwels’ teammate Klaas Vantornout – who, it should be noted, looked extremely strong and spent most of the race patrolling the front of the high-powered chase group for Pauwels.
It was a very tactical and close race, with the top-ten all coming across the line within 30-seconds of second place. Here’s what you need to know from round two of the World Cup:
Kevin Pauwels – with his win in Tabor, Pauwels now leads the World Cup. A Belgian has won the World Cup overall in seven out of the past ten seasons; we’re sure that Pauwels would love to continue that trend. His spot as one of the world’s best cyclocrossers begs the question: why does he often dismount, re-mount, and carry on the driveside of the bike? Lest you think we’re anything but Kevin Pauwels fans here, though, let it be known that we’re coining a nickname for Kevin Pauwels, befitting of American fans and cyclocross stars: K-Pau!
Zdenek Stybar – in an echo from his performance at Plzen, Stybar seemed to ride an incredibly aggressive race. An ill-timed punctured forced him to pit as Pauwels made his move. However, Stybar recieved almost no help and was forced to settle for second – it was well-deserved, though, as he clearly put in the most work in the lead group.
Klaas Vantornout – for the second consecutive week, Vantornout played to consumate teammate for Pauwels. This time it paid off big time. Vantornout sat second wheel in the chase group for what seemed like the vast majority of the race and simply didn’t have the sprint to beat Styby.
Sven Nys – Nys rolled accross the line in fifth place and was pretty much absent during the entire race. He’s second overall in the standings now; his biggest impression during the race was that he was one of only two riders in the lead group to bunnyhop the barriers.
Niels Albert – Albert’s slow start seemed to pay off as the Belgian made his way to the front of the lead group with a few laps to go. However, after some time at the front, he drifted backwards finishing 12th. For a little while late in the race he looked ready to perk up, and his teammate Radomir Simunek went to the front. It looked as though Simu would force Vantornout and Stybar to chase, setting up Albert for a move to break free – but when it came down to it, Albert didn’t have what it takes.
Francis Mourey – Last year, we pegged Mourey as the most reliable fourth-place bet in the world. After struggling to make contact with the lead group early on, Mourey wound up fourth – a repeat of his performance last week in Plzen. Go figure.
The Americans – No American ever made contact with the large 10-man lead group. Jeremy Powers was the first to cross the line in 15th. It should be noted that he was less then 90 seconds behind Pauwels. Tim Johnson’s form continues to come around and he crossed the line 17th. Jonathan Page had a terrible race in Tabor finishing nearly four minutes down in 43rd place.
Jamey Driscoll – Driscoll got the most TV time out of any American for his spectacular bellyflop crash in the final corner. He was getting ready to sprint for roughly 25th place when he lost it on the transition from grass to pavement. The real dissapointing part was that his chain was jammed and he had to run across the line losing roughly 8 places.
Lastly, as we mentioned in our Weekend Preview, there’s a Velogames:CX league for Pavé readers. Simply sign up, pick a team, and enter the league with the league code 20033937 – and of course, check back here for tips on whom to pick each weekend.