Gieten is a bit of a question mark for me to be honest. It’s far up in the North of Holland, far from the ‘cross’ heartland, the course itself was incredibly bland and the spectator turnout wasn’t great either. I guess, there needs to be a Superprestige that’s not in Belgium, but there must be better options than that.
That being said, it was a good day, great racing, we have finally had some rain and mud and the whole day resembled to a cyclo-cross race instead of nice sunny day off. There were some predictable wins and it was getting more and more exciting as Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels pulled away from the rest of the field and everybody realised that it was all going to come down to a sprint between Nys and Pauwels. This time, however, Nys won fair and square
Marianne Vos was the rider to beat today.
Daphny Van Den Brand and Sanne Van Paassen stayed on Vos for a while but in the second half Van Paassen faded back to 5th-6th postiion and Van Den Brand simply couldn't keep up with Vos.
After strong winds in the morning, it started to rain heavily during the U23 race.
Former junior World Champ, Tijmen Eising
The face of the devil (no, not really, it's just Arnaud Grand with a really muddy face)
Stybar's mechanic takes the bike to start.
Bart Wellens looks hopeful before the race.
It was good to see Klaas Vantornout at the front of the race for so long, it's a shame he couldn't hold on to his lead.
It was one of the least crowded race I've seen lately. While the weather was admittedly quite bad, cyclo-cross just didn't seem to attract the same kind of crowds as it does in Belgium.
Rob Peters bunny hops over a cable protector.
Rob Peters, Zdenek Stybar and Klaas Vantornout led the race in the first half but then Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels appeared at the rear of the group.
With three laps to go, Nys and Pauwels broke away from the rest of the field and it seemed as the winner was going to be determined between the two again.
Nys and Pauwels in the penultimate lap
Eventual winner, Sven Nys rolls in.
3rd placed rider Rob Peeters was happy to sign a couple of jerseys.