Nys and van den Brand claim World Cup opener

Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet – Tnisteiner) and Dutch champion Daphny van den Brand (ZZPR) have won the first race of the UCI World Cup presented by Safety Jogger that was held in Kalmthout, Belgium. Next week in Tabor both riders will be wearing the new white leader’s jersey of the UCI World Cup presented by Safety Jogger.

Tight sprint victory for Nys over Albert
The Elite Men’s race was dominated by young Niels Albert (Palmans Cras) but the 22 year-old couldn’t get rid of Sven Nys. The Belgian duo was forced to sprint for the win in Kalmthout and it turned out to be a close call; eventually the photo finish showed that Nys was the winner.
Shortly after this duo local hero Kevin Pauwels (Fidea Cycling Team) captured the remaining podium spot by holding off Radomir Simunek Jr (Palmans Cras) and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank). Czech champion Zdenek Stybar (Fidea Cycling Team) sprinted towards a sixth place in a group that included Thijs Al, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb Pro Job) and Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team).
World champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) dropped out of this group two laps before the end of the race; Boom punctured just past the pit. The 22 year-old World Champion was caught by a big group of chasers but by winning the sprint in this group Boom managed to control the damages in Kalmthout.

Van den Brand holds off world champion Kupfernagel
In the women’s race Daphny van den Brand (ZZPR) won the World Cup opener for the third time in a row. The Dutch champion dominated the race in the technical sections but World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel managed to close the gaps in the other sections.
Going into the last lap there were still six women in contention for the victory. When approaching the forest halfway that ultimate lap Kupfernagel was riding in third position behind van den Brand and Christel Ferrier-Bruneau. Once more van den Brand launched an attack in this technical zone and she managed to create a gap on Ferrier-Bruneau. Kupfernagel was forced to wait until there was more space before she could overtake Ferrier-Bruneau but by then the victory was gone for the World Champion. Eventually van den Brand held on to her lead and she finished five seconds ahead of Kupfernagel.
Czech talent Pavla Havlikova was beaten by Kupfernagel in the sprint, nevertheless the Czech woman was more than happy as she claimed her first ever podium spot in the UCI World Cup.

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