Tim Johnson » Namur World Cup Highlights
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November 30, -0001
The first-ever round of the Patrick UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup raced on the muddy slopes of the citadel in Namur (BEL) offered a great spectacle.
Belgian veteran Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) captured a hard-fought win over Belgian Champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) in the Elite Men category. The 35 year-old is the new leader in the World Cup rankings. Dutch star Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) dominated in the women's race, which was raced in snowy conditions. Her compatriot Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink -- Nederland Bloeit) remains overall leader in the World Cup standings.
French Champion Francis Mourey (FDJ), AurÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ©lien Duval (France), Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) led a large group through the first laps on the muddy course in chilly Namur. During the fourth of eight laps, Albert accelerated. Nys followed his example with an attack on the fifth lap. Only Vantornout remained on Nys' wheel. A little later Nys flatted and was caught by an unleashed Stybar. The Czech soon steamed through to neutralize Vantornout's advantage. For a brief moment there were six riders in the group, but Pauwels punctured and lost time. Nys seized his moment to take the lead and set the pace up front. Pauwels didn't bridge back up and in the last lap it seemed like Albert was heading for the win. Nevertheless Nys closed the small gap on the Belgian Champion and with a last effort he reached the finish area solo. Albert was runner-up at 5s ahead of Vantornout, Pauwels, Stybar and Meeusen. The fourth place for Pauwels was just not enough to keep his World Cup leader's jersey, which is now in Nys' possession.
It started snowing just before the Women's race but that didn't bother Marianne Vos. The 24 year-old World Champion sped away at the halfway mark of the first lap. The battle for the win was soon over for US Champion Katherine Compton (Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team), who dropped her chain right after the start. Only Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (FRA) was able to keep in touch with the World Champion on the technical course in Namur during the first half of the race. However, just before the end of the second lap Vos opened up a gap of more than 20s.
Vos made few mistakes on the slippery slopes of the citadel and steamed through to a more than convincing second win in the World Cup. Chainel struggled towards the end but she was able to hold on for second place ahead of a well-returned Compton. Despite finishing only 8th, Van den Brand remains leader in the World Cup ahead of Compton.
The next round of the Patrick UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup will be held in Heusden-Zolder (BEL) where all four categories will race on the former F1 car circuit.