The last big race of the season is over. Victory in the last round of the GVA Trophy went to Niels Albert, while Sven Nys held off Kevin Pauwels for the overall title. Styby rode in service of his teammate and still managed to finish second.
With just two points separating Nys and Pauwels, there was a lot at stake in Oostmalle. Styby, who started the day in third, was 12 points behind and would need a lot of luck to win the general classification. So it was clear that Telenet-Fidea would ride as a team for Kevin.
Eddy van Ijzendoorn had the best start. The Dutchman took the lead for the first lap before Nys took over. The man from Baal took advantage of a bad start by Pauwels and went into the intermediate sprint with our favorite.
Zdenek snatched a point from Nys and then took his foot off the gas. With help from Bart Wellens, Kevin was able to get back to the front of the race and join a group of some 10 riders. It became a tactical race after that.
About halfway through the race, Niels Albert was allowed to escape from the group and ride to victory. Nys and Pauwels kept a close eye on one another, while the Telenet-Fidea riders tried to line up a sprint finish. But a puncture in the last lap erased Pauwels' chances of winning the title.
Styby headed to the finish line with Nys and Bart Aernouts and won the group sprint to finish second on the day. “I'm very pleased with my second place, but that was not part of our plan. I was supposed to lead out the sprint for Kevin, but the flat left him far back.”
Zdenek's second place finish meant he jumped ahead of Pauwels in the final standings. “I can only be happy about that. I felt really good today and even had the fastest lap. It's too bad I didn't ride in Essen, otherwise I might have been the overall winner.”
And now? “Party! Tonight there's a party with the riders and tomorrow is the GVA Trophy presentation. Wednesday is the Indoor cross in Hasselt and then the holiday can really begin,” Styby said.