Bpost Bank Trofee #1 – Ronse Race Report

Bpost Bank Trofee #1 – Ronse Race Report


As I recalled in the Ronse race preview, the weather was rightly called epic during last year’s race. This time around, we were a lot luckier.

The women started their race in wonderful sunshine but Elle Anderson’s crash in the first corner wreaked much havoc in the field. While Ellen van Loy and others involved in the crash, including Anderson, managed to salvage the race more or less, Sanne Cant felt the full weight of her illness and family problems and she could never really recover.

It was just a week ago when I was having dinner with Anderson and Sophie de Boer. They were talking about the different aspects of the new team, the sponsors, the team around them and concluded, that all they need are some good results. Well, de Boer took matters in her own hands.

“There was a crash on the course and I had to brake really hard, but I could pass them. In the first two laps, Nikki already had a gap and I had heavy legs but I slowly started to recover and I thought I do my own race. I could slowly close the gap and then Helen had some problem with her chain and I could make gap. I tried to ride my own pace but in the last lap the running was so hard, I didn’t really enjoy it, it was really hard”

Sophie de Boer

A few hours before the race, I talked to Stef Wyman, who claimed that Helen wasn’t in a good form, still feeling the jet lag in her lags. In spite of that, Helen had a good race, as she later added, “I didn’t feel it today, really, the running was really hard. I come from really fast racing in America and yesterday was quite fast, it was ok for me, but today was a lot harder”.

I arrived at the same time at Ronse as Zdenek Stybar and his hulking OPQS camper, and the cheers aimed at the bus indicated that he is just as popular as during his full-time cross racing years. The return of the rainbow jersey to the sport, however brief it might be, was definitely one of the highlights of the race, even though Stybar couldn’t really leave his mark on the race.

It was really hard for me, I suffered a lot. I had a pretty good start but then at the running parts, I suffered a lot. The legs are not ready for running.

Zdenek Stybar

Sven Nys seemed unstoppable on the day. He was leading almost from the beginning and it soon became obvious that the real battle was going to be for the second and third places. A bigger group of five riders trailed Nys, with Lars van der Haar, Klaas Vantornout, Mathieu van der Poel and Kevin Pauwels. Lars van der Haar was sitting on the back of the group for almost half of the race, I was wondering if it was just a tactic to save as he tried to pull away mid-way. He couldn’t really shake off the others, who stayed together for the most part of the race.

Mind you, Mathieu van der Poel is still just a 19 year old, so he had to fight really hard to keep up with the others.

It was really hard. I did the first two laps at my maximum and then I had to recover and it was very difficult to keep up with the others.

Mathieu van der Poel

I took one of my favourite photo of the day, when van der Poel finished the race, rolled a few meters beyond the finish line and then leant onto the barriers, unable to move or even to get off the bike. His thousand yard stare shows the suffering of the previous sixty minutes.

Next week, the first World Cup will be held in Valkenburg. A similar course to Ronse, lots of ups and downs, peppered with a fair amount of running. To make it more interesting, the cream of the American elite will pay its first visit to Europe, both Katie Compton and Jeremy Powers will be racing there. Both are in great form, so some exciting racing is on the cards for next Sunday.

In the meantime, check out my gallery from last year’s race at Valkenburg.

And to perfectly end the day, as soon as I started the car to drive home, it started raining. Now, that’s what I call timing.

As you could see above, I did something yesterday that I’d never done before: pushed a microphone in front of riders and asked them a few questions. It’s new to me, so if it’s rubbish, be gentle. If you liked it, do let me know. Leave a comment, send me a tweet or email me what you think.

Cyclocross 2013/2014 - The Album

Do you want to relive the best moments of the 2013/2014 cyclocross season? Check out my chronicle of the 13/14 season in a coffee table album, over 200, gorgeous photos on over 240 pages.

This is not related to the race but I liked how the pylons bathe in the early morning sunshine.

This is not related to the race but I liked how the pylons bathe in the early morning sunshine.

Michael Vanthourenhout rides in the last lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Michael Vanthourenhout lead the U23 race from the start and crossed the finish line first in the early afternoon sunshine.

Yannick Peeters stands near the finish line after finishing the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Racers line up for the start of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Plaits are all the new rage.

Nikki Harris leads the women's race in the second lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Nikki Harris had a really strong start but a mechanical prevented her from finishing in the top. “With one and a half laps to go, I had a problem just around here, past the chicane bit, so I had to run all the way to the material zone and I lost around three minutes” said Harris after the race.

Sophie de Boer rides in the second lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

This was probably the only wobble for Sophie de Boer. She positioned herself at the front and took over the lead with three laps to go.

Helen Wyman rides in the third lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Not long before the race, I talked the Stef Wyman, Helen’s husband how she was feeling. He was trying to downplay her chances and said that she wasn’t feeling strong – she still managed to finish second.

Ellen van Loy rides in the fourth lap of the the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

2014-cyclocross-bpost-bank-trofee-ronse-dog-1423

Jollen Verschueren chases Helen Wyman in the penultimate lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

A race of surprises – Jolien Verschueren’s name might not be familiar for most but she rode to an excellent third place at a very difficult race.

Jollen Verschueren's mother celebrates after her daughter's third place at the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Jollen Verschueren’s delighted mom.

Sophie de Boer crosses the finish line first of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Sophie de Boer crosses the finish line first at Ronse. After a few solid performances in the past few weeks, this was the biggest win of her career so far.

Elle Anderson signs the doping control form after the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

The podium of the Bpost Bank Trofee women's cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

The podium of the women’s race, with a new faces.

Zdenek Stybar at the start of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Who’s that guy in the rainbow jersey?

Current cyclocross World Champion tackles a technical descent in the second lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

The first outing of the rainbow jersey.

Mathieu van der Poel rides in the third lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Mathieu van der Poel gets some air.

Distant view of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Zdenek Stybar rides in the fourth lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Sven Nys leads the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

The loneliness of Sven Nys

Mathieu van der Poel tries to overtake Kevin Pauwels in the fifth lap of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Mathieu van der Poel tries to overtake Kevin Pauwels on one of the gruelling climbs of the course.

Spectators of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Sven Nys descents with two laps to go of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Tom Meeusen dismounts in the penultimate lap the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Tom Meeusen ballet

Sven Nys greeted by joyous fans after winning the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Mathieu van der Poel, after finishing second at the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Mathieu van der Poel was so exhausted after the race, that he only managed to roll a few feet beyond the finish line.

Zdenek Stybar after finishing 8th at the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Stybar might have finished 8th but he was still mobbed by journalists and fans alike after the the finish

The podium of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

Fans and journalists watch the podium ceremony of the Bpost Bank Trofee cyclocross race in Ronse. Photo by Balint Hamvas / cyclephotos.co.uk

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  1. 2
    Carl

    Super Balint…getting some awesome images already this season. Can’t wait for you posts after each race. Continue the great work

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