What if Nys Really Sold Gieten?

This is where it all looked good and most people thought that it was a done deal, as Vantornout was leading by a few bike-lengths. But note, that Nys had already started sprinting. – Balint

By now most cross fans have seen and/or read about the final lap in Gieten on Sunday and several of the theories surrounding the bizarre final few hundred meters that saw Sven Nys nearly steal victory. Regardless of what you have heard, there are a few things that definitely occurred. Towards the end of the final lap, Klass Vantornout attacks Nys and Kevin Pauwels, ultimately gaping Pawuels. A few moments later, Nys bobbles in the mud, allowing Vantornout to hit the finishing straight with a gap.

From there things get interesting and the conspiracy theories begin to rage. Nys appears to realize he’s gaped and sits up, then he changes his mind and/or sees Vantornout slowing and decides to sprint. Vantornout holds on to win by a tire width. The picture above shows a slightly different scenario where Nys realizes he’s gaped  begins to wind up his sprint, but takes too long and narrowly misses out on victory. Regardless of what you saw, the fact remains that something goofy appeared to happen.

While we won’t divulge into any specific conspiracy theory, the real question is why would Nys purposely lose this race? If, in fact, he negotiated a deal with Vantornout and/or Pauwels what would Nys have to gain from the situation (beyond monetary compensation)? The answer is quite simple: nothing. However, if you look at it from the perspective of what Nys had to lose, you come to the same conclusion: nothing. Could a deal have been struck between the two men? Possibly. What would the outcome have looked like if Nys won? Here’s what each scenario would have looked like:

Klass Vantornout Wins

Klass Vantornout’s victory on Sunday marks his second win of the season and his biggest victory since he won this race in 2008. After pushing Sven Nys to the limit last weekend in Gavere, Vantornout was finally able to beat the nearly unstoppable Belgian National Champion. The victory also marks a major step forward for the Sunweb-Revor team, which has only won two races this year (Vantornout’s in Kemriscross and Kevin Pauwels in Tabor). The team has come under heavy criticism as of late and the dynamic duo of Vantornout and Pauwels has failed to play out like in previous years.

Unfortunately for Sven Nys, his Superprestige winning streak came to an end on Sunday in Gieten. The Belgian champ seemed to be in complete control of the race despite being the middle of a Sunweb-Revor sandwich. Had Nys not faltered in the mud, or had the finish line been a few more meters down the road, he most certainly would have one. After all, he showed everyone in Gavere that he can out-sprint Vantornout. More importantly though, Nys’ gap on Albert grew to eleven points, nearly locking up the overall for Nys.

Sven Nys Wins

Sven Nys is the man to beat after another impressive sprint victory in Gieten on Sunday. For the second straight week Nys out sprinted Klass Vantornout in a spectacular finish that saw the duo drop Vantornout’s teammate Kevin Pauwels in the final few hundred meters. The Sunweb-Revor duo once again failed to get rid of Nys, who has won every Superprestige race this season. As a result, Nys stretches his lead to 12 points over Niels Albert, nearly locking up the overall.

The heavy criticism of the Sunweb-Revor team will continue this week as the team has only picked up two victories this season (Vantornout’s in Kemriscross and Pauwels in Tabor) and has failed to deploy the team tactics that have made them so successful in the past. If Albert can’t beat Nys and Pauwels and Vantornout can’t beat him, the real question is who can?

There you have it. Either one of those endings makes for a great story. However, Vantornout winning changes almost everything for him and his team. Win or lose, Nys remains in control of the Superprestige series. What really happened? We may never know. Nys may have started his sprint too late, or maybe he struck a deal in a race who’s outcome didn’t really matter for a favor down the road. For now, congratulations to Vantornout on a hard fought victory.

One last note: at this level of the sport it is not uncommon for riders to simply give up in the sprint. Time and time again, you’ll see riders sprint for a few meters and realize they just don’t have it. So to see Nys give up is not surprising. To see him resprint, well that’s the whole reason for this article.

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cross Top 25 Poll – Week 12 Voting Now Open

There were five different UCI races this past weekend with five different winners. Sven Nys put in an incredible performance on Saturday en route to a World Cup victory in Koksijde. The following day, Klaas Vantornout was able to get away from the Belgian National Champion to break Nys’ streak of four straight Superprestige victories. Meanwhile, Japanese National Champion, Yu Takenouchi picked up another UCI win in Japan. Stateside, it was a weekend for the Jeremy’s. Jeremy Durrin picked up a UCI C2 victory on Saturday while Jeremy Powers picked up a victory on Sunday at Baystate Cyclocross in Sterling, MA. Who do you think is the top rider right now? Let us know!


Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

European Cross – Week 11 Predictions

After a wild weekend last week, things calm down a bit this weekend as there are only two UCI races in Europe. The cross collective heads to Koksijde for the third time in the past year for the third round of the World Cup. Last year, Sven Nys won the World Cup round while Niels Albert won the World Championship race. Both men are on great form right now, but Nys has spent this week recovering from an illness. This should make things very interestings. The Superprestige leaves Belgium for it’s annual trip to Gieten, Netherlands on Sunday, while Japan hosts another UCI C2 race in Yasu. Here’s how I think things will shake out:

World Cup Round 3 – Koksijde (CDM)

The Winner

Niels Albert – Albert simply destroyed the field the last time they raced in Koksijde en route to a World Championship. With Nys and Pauwels not at 100%, I think this is Albert’s race to lose. I expect him to get away after the first few laps and never look back. It also helps that the most infamous dune on the course is now named after the Belgian.

The Podium

Kevin Pauwels – Pauwels finished on the podium both times he raced raced in Koksijde last season. Despite his lack of results this season, I expect the young Belgian to do well on Saturday. While I don’t think he’ll contend for victory, I expect him to land on the podium.

Bart Aernouts – every once in awhile, I go out on a limb. While riders like Sven Nys and Lars van der Haar have dominated in the past, Aernouts tends to ride very well in Koksijde. Look for him to surprise some people and land on the podium on Saturday.

Kansai Cyclo Cross Yasu Round (C2)

The Winner

Yu Takenouchi – the winner last year and last weekend, the Japanese National Champion is truly the countries top rider. At 25-years-old he’s also one of the country’s younger stars. Look for Takenouchi to pick up the win on Sunday.

The Podium

Masanori Kosaka – at 50 years of age, Kosaka once again becomes the oldest rider to pick up UCI points after his second place finish last weekend. Some called me crazy for predicting him to podium last week, so I’m sticking with it. He finished just off the podium in Yasu last year, something I’m sure he’ll better this year.

Atsushi Maruyama – another one of Japan’s more experienced riders, Maruyama is always a podium threat. I expect him to grab a spot on the podium this weekend.

Superprestige Round 5 – Gieten (C1)

The Winner

Sven Nys – despite being sick all week, and an expected poor performance in Koksijde, look for Nys to rebound with a win on Sunday in Gieten. Nys out sprinted Pauwels here last year and looks poised for the repeat. Nys remains undefeated this season in Superprestige races. I expect this incredible stat to continue this weekend.

The Podium

Niels Albert – Albert missed Gieten last season, but has had success here in the past. Look for him to keep Nys honest and make it an exciting battle. However, I think Nys will end up on top.

Lars van der Haar – a rare opportunity for van der Haar to race on home soil, look for the young Dutch rider to be at the front on Sunday. While I don’t think he’ll be able to pull off the victory, he could make things very interesting. I expect him to end up on the podium.

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Cross – Week 12 Predictions

Photo: Todd Prepaski.

As most of the nation digests their Thanksgiving meals and recovers from the Black Friday extravaganza, the cross world focuses on New England for the final two rounds of the Verge New England Cyclocross series in Sterling, MA. This year, Baystate Cyclocross offers a pair of UCI C2 races, which will bring out the regions top riders. Saturday’s race will be a typical New England affair, with the regions top riders battling it out for victory. Sunday however, will bring the big guns to town. Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson confirmed that they will race Sunday’s race and both men are looking for victory. Here’s how I think the weekend will play out:

Baystate Cyclocross – Day 1 (C2)

The Winner

Justin Lindine – Lindine hasn’t been able to reproduce last years season, which made him a household name. However, he has quietly had a very solid season in New England and looks set to take the Verge Series title. Look for Lindine to pick up the win in Sterling.

The Podium

Jeremy Durrin – Durrin is always a podium threat. Last year he landed inside the top five both days. I expect him to podium on Saturday and could even make a bid for victory.

Dan Timmerman – Timmerman’s return to elite cross has been a bit quiet as of late. Timmerman tends to excel in wet conditions, which doesn’t look likely this weekend. However, for some reason, I like Timmerman this weekend. Look for him to podium on Saturday.

Baystate Cyclocross – Day 2 (C2)

The Winner

Jeremy Powers – Powers seems unstoppable right now. He’ll head to Europe next weekend for the Roubaix round of the World Cup and we will again see where he stacks up against the world’s best. For now, look for him to crush it on Sunday.

The Podium

Tim Johnson – coming off a pair of victories in Iowa, many think Tim Johnson may be back. He’ll have his hands full with a hungry New England field and perennial rival Jeremy Powers. I would love to say that Johnson could pull off the upset, but I just don’t see it. I expect him to podium though.

Justin Lindine – after a win on Saturday, look for Lindine to try and stay in the mix on Sunday. I think Powers and Johnson are still a step ahead of Lindine, but I like his odds to podium on Sunday.

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cross Top 25 – Week 11

[top25-vote start=’1353283200′ end=’1353542400′]

It started to feel like it was only a matter of time before Jeremy Powers lost his grip on the Top 25. This week, that time has come as Sven Nys takes over the number one spot. Powers remains number one in the computer rankings, but ranked seventh in the poll. Powers was also out of action this past weekend, which helped Nys close the gap in the computer.

Niels Albert was second in the poll and third in the computer, so he remains at third overall. Kevin Pauwels was third in the poll followed by Klaas Vantornout and Lars van der Haar. Bart Aernouts was sixth in the poll followed by Powers and a slew of Americans including Dan Chabanov, Tim Johnson and Dan Timmerman.

Niels Albert overtakes Powers for the most UCI points this season while Jonathan Page (14th) remains the top rider in terms of race quality and strength of schedule. Ryan Trebon fell eleven spots this week to 16th, while Ben Berden jumped up six spots to ninth.

The biggest surprises came from the poll which launched Chabanov, Timmerman and Adam Myerson into the Top 25. All three riders are outside the top 30 in the computer and Myerson is the only rider in the Top 25 without any UCI points.

With another World Cup race and a Superprestige race on tap in Europe this weekend, the Americans may continue to slide down in the rankings. This week, there are only nine Americans in the Top 25 and only three in the top ten.

[top25-week id=17]

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cross Predictions – Week 11 Wrap-Up

Tim Johnson. Photo: Todd Prekaski

It was a mixed bag this weekend as far as the predictions went. Sven Nys dominated in Belgium (as predicted) and Martin Bina picked up another Toi Toi Cup (as predicted). The rest of the European podiums were hit or miss this. One quick note, I do know that Japan is not a part of Europe, but I put it in the European races. I will be doing the same thing this week.

Stateside, I managed to predict the riders who were active in Iowa. Unfortunately, I was unable to nail down who would do what. Interestingly enough, I only missed two spots on the podium, including Trebon’s DNF on Sunday. As far as the Canadian races went, Geoff Kabush won both races (as predicted).

European Cross

Toi Toi Cup (C2)

1. Martin Bina – 1st
2. Tomas Paprstka – 6th
3. Michael Boros – 8th

Points: 3

Bpost Bank Trofee – GP Hasselt (C2)

1. Sven Nys – 1st
2. Niels Albert – 2nd
3. Bart Aernouts – 7th

Points: 4

Shinshu Cyclocross Nobeyama (C2)

1. Keiichi Tsujiura – DNS
2. Kohei Yamamoto – 9th
3. Masanori Kosaka – 2nd

Points: 1

National Trophy Series Round 3 (C2)

1. Tom van den Bosch – 3rd
2. Oli Beckingsale – 4th
3. Paul Oldham – 2nd

Points: 2

Challenge National 2ème Epreuve (C2)

1. Francis Mourey  – 1st
2. Julien Roussel – 5th
3. Nicolas Bazin – 4th

Points: 3

Fluckiger Cross (C2)

1. Simon Zahner – 3rd
2. David Kasek – 17th
3. Lukas Fluckiger – 2nd

Points: 2

Superprestige Gavere (C1)

1. Sven Nys – 1st
2. Lars van der Haar – 10th
3. Niels Albert – 6th

Points: 3

Total: 18/35 (51%)

North American Cross

Jingle Cross Rock – Rock 1 (C2)

1. Ryan Trebon – 4th
2. Chris Jones – 2nd
3. Jamie Driscoll – 1st

Points: 2

Jingle Cross Rock – Rock 2 (C2)

1. Ben Berden – 3rd
2. Ryan Trebon – 2nd
3. Tim Johnson – 1st

Points: 3

Jingle Cross Rock – Rock 3 (C1)

1. Ryan Trebon – DNF
2. Tim Johnson – 1st
3. Ben Berden – 3rd

Points: 2

Canadian National Championships (CN)

1. Geoff Kabush – 1st
2. Chris Sheppard – 2nd
3. Aaron Schooler – 5th

Points: 4

BC Grand Prix of Cross (C2)

1. Geoff Kabush – 1st
2. Chris Sheppard – 6th
3. Mike Garrigan – DNS

Points: 3

Total: 14/25 (56%)

Posted in Races | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment