Wednesday, 29 December: Loenhout - GVA
Yep, cross on Wednesday. Boy, do I love the week between Christmas and New Year's. Cold outside, warm inside. Good drinks to enjoy and cx on tv, does it get any better than that? In true cross tradition the final week of the year is absolutely mental, with plenty of races to watch. In midweek there's the Azencross in Loenhout, in the north of the province of Antwerp. It's a workers' cross, where the speeds won't reach dizzying heights but the heartrates sure will. There's not too much natural height difference, but there are handful of bridges (one that saw Nys have a positively ridiculous crash last year, flat on the tummy), a big staircase and some really kick-ass washboards. PS - watch out for Lars Boom!
Why does it hurt? Because I've got a job and NO vacation days now, so I'll actually be stuck at work tomorrow. Insert tears and wails here. And it's such a fun race too!
The Azencross, as the race in Loenhout is called, is part of the GVA trophy, in which the ranking is as follows:
1 (2) Kevin Pauwels Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 87
2 (3) Sven Nys Landbouwkrediet 77
3 (1) Zdenek Stybar Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 70
4 (4) Bart Wellens Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 65
5 (6) Klaas Vantornout Sunweb Revor 62
6 (5) Bart Aernouts Rabo - Giant Offroad Team. 60
7 (7) Niels Albert BKCP-Powerplus 55
8 (8) Gerben De Knegt Rabo - Giant Offroad Team. 49
9 (10) Rob Peeters Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 44
10 (9) Enrico Franzoi BKCP-Powerplus 44
With 25-22-19-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 and 1 points up for grabs, anything's possible. Kevin Pauwels hit a pole in snowy, icy Zolder too, and isn't feeling his best. Look on the bright side Kev, at least your bike doesn't break down every three minutes. This, of course, is a not so veiled reference to Nys' mechanicals which have been so plentiful this season I've heard they made a Saxo mechanic feel good about himself.
Where will Nys attempt to keep his bike together and so grab the lead in the GVA trophy? On this parcours:
What exactly does that entail? Well, you can learn by watching this, last year's race. At 1min03 you can witness the positively ridiculous Nys crash (flat on the tummy), which in 2009 inspired a classic Hulk It moment. He ended up winning the race, ahead of Albert and Stybar. Will it be the same this year? Will Styby use his BMX skills to conquer the washboards? Will Albert keep up his excellent results from the weekend? Will Lars Boom shake the room? Or will one of the outsiders step up? Find out, tomorrow.
And please keep me up to date on what's happening. Sob.
1 (1) Sanne Van Paassen Brainwash wielerploeg 44
2 (3) Sanne Cant BKCP-Powerplus 41
3 (5) Helen Wyman 41
4 (2) Daphny Van Den Brand ZZPR.NL 39
5 (6) Sophie De Boer ZZPR.NL 31
6 (4) Pavla Havlikova APB cycling team 27
7 (8) Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn ZZPR.NL 27
8 (9) Nikki Harris APB cycling team 25
9 (10) Nancy Bober Style & Concept Cycling Team 23
10 (13) Joyce Vanderbeken 23
1 (3) Lars Van Der Haar Rabo - Giant Offroad Team. 82
2 (1) Joeri Adams Rabo - Giant Offroad Team. 79
3 (2) Jim Aernouts BKCP-Powerplus 76
4 (4) Vinnie Braet Sunweb Revor 56
5 (5) Vincent Baestaens Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 54
6 (8) Wietse Bosmans BKCP-Powerplus 48
7 (7) Twan Van Den Brand ZZPR.NL 38
8 (6) Marcel Meisen Team Kuota - Senges 37
9 (11) Micki van Empel Telenet Fidea Cycling Team 36
10 (12) Jiri Polnicky Sunweb Revor 33
PS - the site talks about a livestream here. If that'll work abroad, I don't know!