The third round of the Superprestige in Hamme-Zogge has been won by Sven Nys. Our champion fought hard and was able to limit the damage caused by his back problem. Zdenek crossed the finish line in sixth place, but it wasn't quite enough to retain his lead in the overall Superprestige standings.
It wasn't just the back pain that made Hamme-Zogge a difficult race; the persistent heavy rain during the week was also a contributing factor. “It was more running than anything else,” was the word after the race. “I tried to stay on the bike as much as possible because everything hurt when I ran. But it wasn't easy.”
Styby was able to get off to a good start. He was in fourth position as the riders dove into the slightly modified course and he let the guys from Sunweb take command. Klaas Vantornout took the initiative, pushed the pace and was alone in the lead after one lap. Things were a bit more difficult for Zdenek and it looked like an hour of suffering was going to be inevitable.
But our world champion kept cycling and was able to close the gap to the leaders. One moment Zdenek looked like he was in a hopeless position, but half a lap later he was back in the lead. But a new acceleration by Niels Albert and Vantornout at the end of the second lap proved to be too much.
Only a strong Sven Nys - who sealed victories in Ronse and Niel last week - was able to bridge the gap to the leading duo. Styby found himself in a group battling for fourth with Bart Aernouts, Gerben de Knegt, Kevin Pauwels, Rob Peeters and Bart Wellens.
The trio up front battled for the win until the last lap when a strong running Vantornout forced the decision. The man from West Flanders yielded only to an even stronger Nys, who booked his sixth victory of the season. Albert grabbed third place ahead of Wellens and Peeters.
And Zdenek? He did well to finish sixth. “You could say that. If you told me before the race that I'd be sixth, I'd have been happy. My problem is that I can't run. Over the past few days the pain has gone down to my knee and every step I take is extremely painful. And if you're faced with a course that forces you to run half the time, the outcome is pretty inevitable.”
Styby lost his lead in the overall Superprestige standings to Belgian champion, Sven Nys, but only trails him by one point. “I suffered a lot, but I was able to save the general classification. I'm very content today. I hope the injury will go away this week, that I can recover well from this race and be in contention for the victory next week.”
Don't forget to check out the coverage of Hamme-Zogge on STYBY TV.
By on 14/11/2010