Kevin Pauwels stood atop the podium again today as the Sunweb leader captured his third GVA Trophy victory in a row. Zdenek performed well, and finished just a half wheel behind the winner. Sven Nys finished third to complete the podium.
The dry weather continues in Flanders, which made the course in Hasselt very fast. A few tree trunks, a sand pit and lots of curves would have to make the selection today.
The big name missing from today’s GVA Trophy race was Niels Albert. The Belgian champion crashed during a training ride earlier this week and injured his wrist. He’s not expected to make his return to competition until December 10 in Antwerp.
The rest of the big names kept a close eye on one another during today’s race. Zdenek had a good start, as did Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels. Together with Tom Meeusen, they forced the pace throughout the race. Dieter Vanthourenhout and Klaas Vantornout also stayed with the leaders for a long time.
The quartet broke away from the rest for good following Radomir Sumunek’s tumble over one of the two tree trunks. Even a resurgent Bart Aernouts was unable to make contact with the lead group. Kevin Pauwels then forced the pace a few times, but was reeled in each time.
That made for an exciting finish, with Nys first to surge. Our favorite was able to keep up with him, but Meeusen and Pauwels caught up just before the start of the final lap. Zdenek resolutely took over and tried to ride away.
But the race was to end in a sprint finish and Pauwels was the fastest. Zdenek finished just a half wheel behind. “I’m happy with second place, but not if I’m so close to victory. Anyway, Kevin was strong again and deserved to win.”
Zdenek was able to win the intermediate sprint at the end of the second lap and is currently 12 points behind Pauwels in the GVA Trophy general classification standings. “Kevin has a good lead, but the season is still long so anything can happen.” Styby will be back in action tomorrow in the Superprestige race in Asper-Gavere.
Photo Š Cyclephotos.co.uk
By on 19/11/2011