Bpost Trofee#5 – Azencross, BEL


[one_half]While I agree that the best gear won’t make anyone the best photographer, great gear can make one’s life a infinitely easier. My new flash setup (more on that later) has finally brought control AND consistency. I simply KNOW that whatever I’ll tell the flashes to do, they will do exactly that. Not two notches more or less light, just the right amount of it.

Anyway, I’m not going to bore those of you who aren’t into photography and/or gear porn and are only here for men and women in lycra who ride their bikes in treacherous conditions. For them, I’ve got a few photos from today’s race. It was a good day, a sprint decided both the U23’s and women’s race.

I was happy to see Sanne Cant winning, with Nikki Harris in tow, as they beat today the likes of Marianne Vos and Katie Compton. Both Cant’s and Harris’ great form this year means that the women’s races are wonderfully unpredictable – thus keeping us, photographers and the spectators entertained.

The men’s race started with a gnarly crash, when Julien Taramarcaz’s front wheel slipped sideways. He also brought down Kevin Pauwels and a few others. Many managed to avoid the carnage but the end of the first lap saw the new usual suspects at the front Zdenek Stybar and Niels Albert.

Sven Nys, as always, silently started to make his way up in the field but this wasn’t his day. First, he somersaulted into the mud. While he didn’t injure himself, it must have been quite demoralising as he stayed in the lower tens for a few laps.[/one_half][one_half_last]Instead of describing the other incident, watch this video:

Yup, it wasn’t his day, this was his first DNF this season.

At the end, Niels Albert got rid of Stybar and finished the race with a small gap and a huge smile on his face. His lead has grown significantly in the Bpost Bank Trofee overall but with three more races to go, it’s far from being over.

One more races left in 2012 and then the whirlwind of 2013. Thanks for reading and check back on Sunday for photos of the Diegem Superprestige, the only race held in the dark![/one_half_last]

Logan Owens rides in the second lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

While Matthieu van der Poel was dominant junior rider yet again, Owen Logan’s second place is definitely a good sign.

Riders negotiate the pump track in the second lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

The pump track-like section of the Azencross course is always the most popular bit.

Vinnie Braet runs down a short descent in the third lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Zach McDonald runs in the last lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Unknown rider jumps back on the bike in the last lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Gert Jan Bosman jumps back on the bike in the last lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Zach McDonald rides on the bridge in the last lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Wietse Bosmans tries to outsprint Corne van Kessel in the final lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Katie Compton in the first lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Not a good day for Katie Compton. In the second lap, she tangled up with Marianne Vos, both of them went down. They both jumped up and carried on but it clearly wasn’t their day today.

Marianne Vos runs around a pole in the second lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

The dark stains on Marianne Vos’ jersey tell the story

Nikki Harris in the final lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Another inspiring ride by Nikki Harris today. She showed good form and missed the win only by a tiny margin. She was beaten by Sanne Cant, who is also in great form. The two of them, plus Helen Wyman made the women’s races wonderfully unpredictable.

Annie Last puts on her hat after the last lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Context is everything – it might seem that Annie Last was upset. In reality, she was just putting on her hat.

Julien Taramarcaz crashes in the first lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Today it was Julien Taramarcaz’s turn to draw the short stick. He went down in the first muddy section after the start. Those who were in front of him, managed to escape the carnage, those behind him were less lucky.

Zdenek Stybar is in the lead in the second lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Zdenek Stybar managed once again to impose his will on the race. He spent the majority of the race at the front, with Niels Albert.

Sven Nys in the third lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

A race to forget for Sven Nys. First he crashed hard – hence the funny mud mask. Secondly, the aforementioned beer-incident. The first DNF for Nys this season

Zdenek Stybar in the sixth lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

This photo of Stybar negotiating the pump track section of the course is my favourite action shot so far this season

I’ve never really understood these slightly creepy costumes but maybe I’m too old to understand them

Niels Albert crosses the finish line after the last lap of the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

Niels Albert surprised Stybar in one of the last corners and quickly opened a gap that Stybar couldn’t close in time. After his frustrating second place on Wednesday, he was ecstatic as he crossed the finish line.

Bart Wellens after finishing the fifth round of the Bpost Bank Trofee Azencross in Loenhout.

15 Comments

Add yours
  1. 8
    mahoi

    I completely understand Mr Nys, throwing beer cups is disrespectful and not sporty. Although with his “Modder Mask”, he may have been a little on the edge … bike race is no wellness ride ;-)

  2. 11
    Justin

    Fantastic stuff.. Again. The Stybar shot is one of your best yet. The first shot of Compton is a great use of flash.. The 9nth shot of Nys in 2nd spot is out of focus though. I guess you know that but I always throw out shots where the leading rider is soft.. Maybe that’s just my mistake ?

    Either way, I’m a big fan.

    J

    • 12
      balint

      Hi Justin,

      I know the Nys shot is not perfectly in focus but I liked the roughness of the shot, even though it’s not perfect. Happy New Year!

+ Leave a Comment