'Cross world's repeat of '06; Quick.Step opens strongly in Qatar

It was déj… vu all over again for Belgium's Erwin Vervecken, who took his third cyclo-cross world ti

It was déj… vu all over again for Belgium's Erwin Vervecken, who took his third cyclo-cross world ti
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Erwin Vervecken (Belgium) took his third elite men's cyclo-cross world championship in Hooglede-Gits on Sunday, as top favourites Sven Nys and Bart Wellens both lost their chances after crashing. The 34 year-old Vervecken, who also won the title last year, beat the USA's Jonathan Page by 3 seconds and Italy's Enrico Franzoi by 16 seconds. Wellens finished fourth, while Nys was a disappointing 11th. "If the top favourites crash, then I can't do anything else but win," Vervecken commented after the race, downplaying his win. "Last year in Zeddam they said I was ready for second place behind top favourite Nys. Nys fell on the last lap and I won. This year I was behind Nys and Wellens as a candidate for the bronze medal as the third best man of the season, but the two had bad luck and I won again. "I'm not really a winner. This is, after Aalter and the world cup 'cross in Hofstade, only my third win of the season. Last season I won just four times ... My first title in Tabor in 2001 remains the most special of my career. This is the most hard fought of all three. And in front of my home crowd too, and that is always a fantastic experience." Page was a delighted second, although he left his run a little late to challenge Vervecken for the world title. "I'm really happy coming back from my injury earlier in the season," he said. "What was left of this season was all building up to this one day, so to win this medal is a dream come true. It is great for our country and great for cyclo-cross in America. I hope that it continues." Unfortunately for Nys and Wellens, circumstances out of their control destroyed their chances. The pair were in front when they hit a plastic bollard that had been knocked into their path by the TV bike. "'Dammit, why us again?, I thought," said Nys. "From then on, it just wasn't happening." Nys crashed another two times and any chance of a top finish was over. Wellens fought back to finish fourth, but he was never in the running for a top placing. After the race, it turned out that he had broken his wrist. His season - such as it is - is now finished. In the women's race, also held on Sunday, Frenchwoman Maryline Salvetat surprised the other favourites to beat Katie Compton (USA) by just one second, with Laurence Leboucher (France) in third. Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) had some bad luck, experiencing mechanical problems while in the lead, and fading to fifth place. Daphny van den Brand (Netherlands) crashed and could do no better than fourth, while her compatriot and last year's champion Marianne Vos was seventh, never really threatening the favourites. On Saturday, the U23 men's title saw a dominant performance by Dutchman Lars Boom to beat Belgium's Niels Albert by an impressive 1'22. Romain Villa (France) was third at 1'44. In the junior men's race, it was Joeri Adams (Belgium) taking home the title in a close sprint between Danny Summerhill (USA) and Jiri Polnicky (Czech Republic). Results Elite Men 1 Erwin Vervecken (Belgium) 1.05:35 2 Jonathan Page (USA) 0:00:03 3 Enrico Franzoi (Italy) 0:00:16 4 Bart Wellens (Belgium) 0:00:25 5 Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) 0:00:32 6 Richard Groenendaal (Netherlands) 0:00:35 7 Gerben de Knegt (Netherlands) 0:01:12 8 John Gadret (France) 0:01:26 9 Christian Heule (Switzerland) 0:01:35 10 Thijs Al (Netherlands) 0:01:40 Elite Women 1 Maryline Salvetat (France) 0:42:57 2 Katie Compton (USA) 0:00:01 3 Laurence Leboucher (France) 0:00:09 4 Daphny Van Den Brand (Netherlands) 0:00:31 5 Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) 0:00:41 6 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (France) 0:00:43 7 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 0:01:12 8 Birgit Hollmann (Germany) 0:01:33 9 Helen Wyman (Great Britain) 0:02:26 10 Linda Van Rijen (Netherlands) 0:02:42 U23 Men 1 Lars Boom (Netherlands) 0:53:53 2 Niels Albert (Belgium) 0:01:22 3 Romain Villa (France) 0:01:44 4 Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) 0:02:29 5 Philipp Walsleben (Germany) 0:02:49 Junior Men 1 Joeri Adams (Belgium) 0:41:18 2 Danil Summerhill (USA) 3 Jiri Polnicky (Czech Republic) 0:00:01 4 Ramon Sinkeldam (Netherlands) 0:00:02 5 Ole Quast (Germany) 0:00:11 Quick.Step opens strongly in Qatar The first stage of the Tour of Qatar, a six kilometre team time trial, saw the Quick.Step team take the top honours, putting Steven de Jongh in the yellow jersey. The Belgian squad completed the course in 6'33, an average speed of 54.96 km/h). Milram finished second at five seconds, with Liquigas third at seven seconds. The team dedicated its victory to young rider Davide Vigan, whose father passed away recently. Unfortunately, Vigan was dropped with one kilometre to go, making the gift of the leader's jersey an impossibility. Instead, that fell to Steven de Jongh, who commented, "It's good to win this team time trial. We really want to capture all the stages of this Tour of Qatar. Last year, we failed to do so, only winning four out of five. This year we want to get them all, especially thanks to Tom Boonen." Results 1 Quick-Step 0:06:33 2 Milram 0:00:05 3 Liquigas 0:00:07 4 Predictor - Lotto 0:00:09 5 T-Mobile 0:00:11 6 AG2R-Prvoyance 0:00:11 7 Astana 0:00:13 8 Saunier-Duval 0:00:14 9 Rabobank 0:00:14 10 Bouygues Telecom 0:00:16 General classification after stage 1 1 Steven De Jongh (Ned, Quick-Step) 0:06:33 2 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel, Quick-Step) 3 Tom Boonen (Bel, Quick-Step) 4 Gert Steegmans (Bel, Quick-Step) 5 Matteo Tosatto (Ita, Quick-Step) 6 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita, Milram) 0:00:05 7 Marco Velo (Ita, Milram) 8 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita, Milram) 9 Fabio Sacchi (Ita, Milram) 10 Marcel Sieberg (Ger, Milram) Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.

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