2011 Druivencross


De moeder van alle crossen – the mother of all cyclo-cross [races]. The Druivencross is probably the most famous race in the calendar and while it isn’t part of any of the big three series, it’s still an important part of most rider’s calendar. While the sky was gloomy in the morning, the sun later came out and stayed with us for the rest of the day.

Sometimes it’s impossible to capture the atmosphere of a race venue and today I had that feeling. It has clearly been my favourite race venue so far – with Asper-Gavere a close second. It’s been very hilly and probably just as tough as Koppenberg, but I preferred this course with it’s fast descents and twisty climbs – and the fact how often one comes another, forcing sudden pace-changes on the riders. Add thousands of crazy spectators and you might have a vague idea what the day might have been like.

The racing was exciting and unpredictable, even though the favourites have won eventually. Nikki Harris was fighting hard for the top place on the podium and gave Katie Compton a run for her money. The men’s race also saw many crashes (Radomir Simunek, Dieter Vanthourenhout, Kevin Pauwels and Tom Meeusen) and Bart Aernouts did everything he could to chase down Sven Nys, but Nys was again the man of the day and won the race with a comfortable advantage. It was a great day, great racing and I can’t wait for next weekend’s GVA and World Cup races!

Though it wasn't raining today, it had been raining all week, so the course was appropriately muddy.

Though it wasn't raining today, it had been raining all week, so the course was appropriately muddy.

Katherine Compton tried to ride away as soon as the start gun went off, however, Nikki Harris was following her closely - the gap was never more than a couple of seconds.

Katherine Compton tried to ride away as soon as the start gun went off, however, Nikki Harris was following her closely - the gap was never more than a couple of seconds.

Ellen Van Loy

Ellen Van Loy

Sanne Cant completed an impressive weekend of racing, she finished on the podium both on Saturday, at Scheldecross and today, at the Druivencross, too.

Sanne Cant completed an impressive weekend of racing, she finished on the podium both on Saturday, at Scheldecross and today, at the Druivencross, too.

Linda Van Rijen hadn't had many opportunities this year to shine, but she was very close to the head of the race all through this very hard race.

Linda Van Rijen hadn't had many opportunities this year to shine, but she was very close to the head of the race all through this very hard race.

Katie Compton was fast on the climbs and the descents.

Katie Compton was fast on the climbs and the descents.

Nikki Harris is showing a very promising form, she challenged Compton throughout the race, often led the race and fell back only in the last lap. Would love to see her bagging her first main win soon.

Nikki Harris is showing a very promising form, she challenged Compton throughout the race, often led the race and fell back only in the last lap. Would love to see her bagging her first main win soon.

Kevin Pauwels supporters

Kevin Pauwels supporters

Arnaud Jouffroy thinks about the answer to inquiring journalist Julien Gielen.

Arnaud Jouffroy thinks about the answer to inquiring journalist Julien Gielen.

This has been clearly my favourite course this season: very hard climbs, tricky descents, easy to get around and lovely surroundings. My only would be the length of the course - the women completed only four laps.

This has been clearly my favourite course this season: very hard climbs, tricky descents, easy to get around and lovely surroundings. My only would be the length of the course - the women completed only four laps.

U23 rider Elia Silvestri is clearly having some fun during the first lap, while leading the race.

U23 rider Elia Silvestri is clearly having some fun during the first lap, while leading the race.

Kevin Pauwels was the almost the only one who dismounted the bike on the drive-side - in this off-camber corner that was the better option.

Kevin Pauwels was the almost the only one who dismounted the bike on the drive-side - in this off-camber corner that was the better option.

Tom Meeusen showed excellent form today and was in contention of winning until he crashed with three laps to go. He went down quite hard and he never managed to recover from the shock of it.

Tom Meeusen showed excellent form today and was in contention of winning until he crashed with three laps to go. He went down quite hard and he never managed to recover from the shock of it.

This was the busiest section of the course and the crowd went mental when the riders whizzed past. It is always very intense, but today felt a bit different, even more intense and louder.

This was the busiest section of the course and the crowd went mental when the riders whizzed past. It is always very intense, but today felt a bit different, even more intense and louder.

Kids from the local nursery school. Sven Nys seemed to be their favourite rider and they were more than happy to pose for the camera.

Kids from the local nursery school. Sven Nys seemed to be their favourite rider and they were more than happy to pose for the camera.

Sven Nys attacks.

Sven Nys attacks.

When the front of the race goes past a certain section of the course, the spectators are glued to the big LCD screens and pay little or no attention to the also-ran riders.

When the front of the race goes past a certain section of the course, the spectators are glued to the big LCD screens and pay little or no attention to the also-ran riders.

Micki Van Empel

Micki Van Empel

A very disappointed Tom Meeusen crosses the finish line. He had the legs to make it onto the podium - even though many would be very satisfied with a fourth place.

A very disappointed Tom Meeusen crosses the finish line. He had the legs to make it onto the podium - even though many would be very satisfied with a fourth place.

Jonathan Page show me a cheeky smile.

Jonathan Page shows me a cheeky smile.

The Sunweb girls jumped on the opportunity to be photographed and who was I to say otherwise.

The Sunweb girls jumped on the opportunity to be photographed and who was I to say otherwise.

The man of the weekend, Sven Nys was in the centre of attention, everybody wanted a piece of him.

The man of the weekend, Sven Nys was in the centre of attention, everybody wanted a piece of him.

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