Two videos here from two of my favorite races in Europe. The GVA Trofee - GP Hasselt & the Superprestige Gavere.
It was good to see Kevin Pauwels claim the win at GVA Trofee - GP Hasselt. What a race this was! Check out the crowds going crazy on the last lap. I love the way they get fully into the stars of Cyclocross. I liked the scaffolding fly-over obstacle toward the end of the lap, Stybar and Pauwels both hit it perfectly like a table top jump. Watch Stybar even show a little skill as he whips the rear wheel in the air & earns some style points. This race was very tight and the speeds were super high. Watch as Sven Nys and Zedneck Stybar go off against each other on the final lap dicing for position. They trade spots numerous times, and really demonstrate clean racing tactics. In the end Pauwles benefits from those two going at each other and takes a very deserving victory. A must see is the end of the video where they show some highlights of the start from the race. Sun-Web riders take a beating in 2 crashes. The second crash is one of the worst I have seen for Cross as the rider gets fully ejected from his bike at full kick in the pack start. This is worth another look to see exactly how he gets caught up in the fencing and discharged from his ride circus style.
The Superprestige Gavere is a hard race! I like this race for it's character. There are numerous technically demanding downhill sections, followed by some very grueling and strength sapping uphill grinds. The course finishes after a long uphill push to the end, making for great final tactics and drama as riders near the finish. The Pit Zone is cool, and the entire course runs on very challenging terrain for Cross bikes. The crowds are again huge, and some sections of course are crazy full of fans. As usual the fans in Belgium love to wave at the camera as riders go past, it seems there is always random people somewhere in the crowds waving at the camera as if they were on TV for the first time ever. Kevin Pauwels is the on form rider now in Euro Cross and appears ready to claim another win in this race. Yet the legend, Sven Nys, was having none of that. It came down to a two-up finish and Nys led out the sprint on the right side of the course, and then closed the door slightly as Pauwles tried coming around on the left. They would never call Sven Nys for a irregular sprint!