British riders fought an exciting duel to finish first and second in one of the world’s most prestigious cyclo-cross races.
National champion, Helen Wyman (Kona), outsprinted Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea), to win the Koppenbergcross for a second time.
The pair had established a 10-second lead by the end of the first lap, distancing an elite group of riders that included Gabby Day (Rapha-FOCUS), who made it three British women in the top 10 by finishing sixth,
They went wheel-to-wheel on the various ascent of the Koppenberg, but on the final descent, Harris crashed, allowing Wyman to extend a slender lead on the sprint to the finish.
Wyman now leads the bpost Bank Trofee series and will enter the third round of the UCI Cyclo-Cross world cup among the favourites in three weeks time.
She finished third in the opening round of the World Cup in Tabor, Czech Republic, and was second last week in Plzen.
On Sunday November 28, she will hope to go one better and win her first World Cup round, but must overcome the challenge of Koksidje’s legendary sand course.
Wyman performed below her own high-standards during her last outing on the course, finishing 13th in the world championships in February.
The Koppenbergcross delivered a home victory in the men’s race for Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-KDL). The Belgian champion led home countryman and world champion, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus).
The pair had spent most of the race contesting what appeared to be a private duel, but a decisive acceleration on the final climb of the Koppenberg gave Nys the advantage and a final margin of victory of some 14 seconds.
Klaas Vantornout outclassed his Sunweb-Revor team leader, Kevin Pauwels, for the second time in two races, finishing over one minute ahead of the World Cup holder.
Pauwels told reporters he had experienced a bad day and could no longer be considered a contender for the overall victory in the series.
1) Sven Nys (BEL) – Landbouwkrediet-KDL -1.00.31
2) Niels Albert (BEL) – BKCP-Powerplus +14”
3) Klaas Vantornout (BEL) – Sunweb-Revor +1.04
4) Aurilien Duval (FRA) – UV Aube +1.15
5) Bart Wellens (BEL) – Telenet-Fidea +1.22
6) Rob Peeters (BEL) – Telenet- Fidea +1.25
7) Thijs van Amerongen (NED) – AA Drink – 1.29
8) Julien Taramarcaz (SWI) – BMC +1.31
9)Bart Aernouts (BEL) – AA Drink + 1.49
10) Twan van den Brand (NED) – Orange Babies Cycling Team +2.10
1) Helen Wyman (GBR) – Kona – 37.30
2) Nikki Harris (GBR) – Young Telenet-Fidea
3) Sanne Cant (BEL) – Veldritacademie Enertherm-BKCP +34”
4) Sophie de Boer (NED) – Young Telenet-Fidea +44”
5) Hanka Kupfernagel (GER) – RusVelo +1.50
6) Gabriella Day (GBR) – Rapha-Focus + 2.07
7) Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (NED) – Orange Babies Cycling Team +3.18
8) Ellen Van Loy (BEL) Melbotech Prorace CT +4.06
9) Amy Dombroski (USA) – Young Telenet-Fidea +4.19
10) Arenda Grimberg (NED) – WV Het Stadion +4.35