Zdenek seems to be his old self again. After being sick for a few days earlier this week, only a strong Tom Meeusen was able to beat him in the final sprint. Kevin Pauwels finished third and will almost certainly finish first in the overall GVA Trophy standings.
“I don’t know what to expect today,” Styby said before the start. “I think being sick has cost me some of my fitness.” However, one would never have known he had been sick once the race got going. Zdenek had a good start and went after the lead duo of Simunek and Vanthourenhout during the second lap.
Zdenek also managed to pick up a point in the general classification during the intermediate sprint and brought about six other riders up to the leaders. Tom Meeusen and Sven Vanthourenhout, who won in Maldegem Wednesday, then mounted an attack of their own, but never really got away from the chasing group.
Niels Albert had a bad start, but caught up to the leaders 30 minutes into the race. During the finale, he would close the gap with Vanthourenhout, who had escaped again. None of the favorites managed to make the difference on the fast course and a sprint finish would determine the winner.
Styby went into the final straightaway in third and rode a good sprint. Meeusen, who began the sprint in first, didn’t give up his position and finished half a wheel ahead of our Czech. “I really didn’t expect this. After the third lap I thought: I hope I finish in the top 20.”
“The legs were really bad and I felt like I was chasing the whole race. The sprint? I actually tried to start it in second position, but Nys just passed me. I knew then that I couldn’t win.”
Pauwels finished third to solidify his position atop the overall standings. Zdenek gained four points on him and is now 12 points behind.