Zdenek finished third in today’s Asper-Gavere round of the Superprestige. Kevin Pauwels, yesterday’s winner in Hasselt, emerged victorious once again. Tom Meeusen edged out Styby in the sprint for second. Our favorite is now tied with Sven Nys for the lead in the general classification.
The classic in Asper-Gavere was similar to other recent races in that there was no mud. But despite this, the race was difficult and featured lots of climbing. “But I really didn’t expect it to be so tactical,” our world champion commented.
And tactical it was. There was a lead group of 15 riders, which is unheard of in Gavere. The early stages of the race were extremely fast, and as predicted, the riders would have to do a lot of laps around the castle grounds. The fast pace made it difficult for anyone to break away.
Rob Peeters and Thijs van Amerongen each rode a lap in the lead before Sven Nys launched an attack on a hilly section of the course. Styby was alert and went with him and the other favorites were also able to join them.
With four laps to go, our Czech went for it. “But I wasn’t able to create a gap. One lap later, Kevin Pauwels attacked at the perfect moment for him. I had just ridden a half lap in front and all I could do was watch him ride away.”
Pauwels soon built up a 15 second lead. “I tried to limit the damage and not let him gain a bigger lead, but it didn’t work. Bart Wellens launched an attack during the last lap and I used up a lot of power going after him.”
While Pauwels celebrated another win, Wellens was caught by the chasing group. “We went to the line with about six guys, but I made a mistake switching gears. I started the sprint in front and Tom Meeusen passed me. This was a really strange race.”
Nys finished fifth and now shares the Superpresige lead with our world champion. “It’s still way too early for anything to be decided, but I’m going to do my best in Gieten next week to get more points.”