Another Sunday, another cross race. Which one? Well, the GP Mario De Clerq in Ronse, that one. You can read all about it in Chris' rather excellent preview. Or if you want a summary, here's the CX calendar description:
Sunday 6 November: GP Mario De Clerq (GVA)
A new addition to the GVA trophy, this race proved to be so much fun when it was first organised in 2010, that it immediately gained a place in one of the three series. The GP Mario De Clerq - bit of cx history: Mario is a former triple world champ - has a hill too. The highest hill in Flanders in fact, the Hotondberg at 145 metres. And a downhill. And one of the most gruesome parcours of the year. And last year, the best comedy moments in the history of time. Fast forward to 11min, I dare you not to laugh. Poor Niels.
Starttime: men 15h
Last winner: Sven Nys (2010)
The weather around Belgium is much more cross-like than in the races we've had so far: cold, grey, damp, windy and generally blah. Unfortunately though, it's not raining. Yet. Well, not in my part of the country anyways, but not in Ronse either I think.
Bart Wellens in Ronse 2011, picture by cyclephotos.co.uk, used with permission
The GP Mario De Clerq is part of the GVA series, and it's the second race so far. The first installment was the iconic Koppenbergcross, which was won by Kevin Pauwels, ahead of Sven Nys and Zdenek Stybar. Logically, the current rankings is this:
1. Kevin Pauwels 28 ptn
2. Sven Nys 24
3. Zdenek Stybar (Tsj)
19 4. Bart Aernouts 17
5. Tom Meeusen 17
6. Klaas Vantornout 15
7. Niels Albert 14
8. Radomir Simunek (Tsj) 13
9. Vincent Baestaens 12
10. Joeri Adams 11
Niels Albert crashed in the warm up and twisted his shoulder, but he can't use that as an excuse any more. Albert raced the standalone GP Dottignies yesterday, and won, ahead of Zdenek Stybar and Radomir Simunek. Styby bemoaned not feeling too good afterwards. Nys, Pauwels and other bigs weren't there.