GVA Trophy – GP Hasselt (C2)
Kevin Pauwels once again proved he’s a force to be reckoned with this year picking up his third GVA Trophy victory in as many races. Pauwels out-sprinted World Champion Zdenek Stybar, beating him by just a few inches. Sven Nys and Tom Meeusen rolled across the line in third and fourth, respectively. Pauwels win gives him a massive 12 point lead over Stybar as the series takes a one month break. While many were focused on the action at the front, it was a pair of logs that created the most exciting and dramatic action of the day.
During the first few laps, nearly everyone at the front of the race bunny hopped the logs, but as fatigue began to set in, the crashes began to ensue. Luckily for those watching around the world, there was a camera to catch all the action. The most spectacular of which was Bart Aernouts who flipped over his handlebars, taking Sven Vanthorenhout out in the process. Tom Meeusen almost created the same chaos as he bobbled over the second log on the final lap nearly taking out Nys. As we’ve said before, cyclocross is an exercise in perfection.
The big surprise of the race was Dieter Vanthorenhout, who finished 5th. Dieter’s a fine rider but usually tops out late in the top ten. This result is a great performance from him.
The French National Cyclocross Series Round 2 – Rodez (C2) – It should come as no suprise that French National Champion Francis Mourey picked up the victory in Rodez. The FDJ rider is unstoppable on home soil this season, soloing to victory a head of Matthieu Boulo and John Gadret. Boulo continues to impress and the young Frenchmen could be the country’s next break-out cyclocross star. The question is, can he knock off Mourey any time soon? Or is he destined to play second fiddle?
Kansai Cyclocross (C2) – Current Japanese National Champion Keiichi Tsujiura picked up his second consecutive Kansai Cyclocross victory a head of Yu Takenouchi and 49-year-old Masanori Kosaka. Kosaka now replaces Brian Lopes as the oldest UCI-ranked rider in the world this year. American Molly Cameron was the only non-Japanese rider in the race and rolled across the line in seventh place.
Superprestige Gavere (C1)
Kevin Pauwels continued his domination Sunday in Gavere. Pauwels simply rode away from the field with a little over two laps to go after countering a move by Sven Nys. He never looked back. Tom Meeusen, who has been riding extremly well over the past couple of weeks, came across the line in second a head of Zdenek Stybar. Sven Nys held on for fifth and as a result is now tied with Stybar for the lead in the Superprestige series. Pauwels’ victory rocketed him in to third place overall.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the course in Gavere was its lack of dismounts. The course featured no barriers or forced dismounts and as a result the race became what many refer to as a grass crit – much more so than the rough cross courses we usually see in European racing. The effect was so pronounced that at the end of three laps, there were 21 riders in the lead group. While the strongest man most likely won in Gavere, the lack of traditional cross elements definitely had an outcome on the race.