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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2002 AFP
Belgian Sven Nijs put everything together on Sunday to win the fifth round of the cyclo-cross World Cup series, the Grand Prix of Switzerland, in Wetzikon. Nijs beat countrymen Mario De Clercq and defending champion Erwin Vervecken to solidify his position at the top of the World Cup standings.
Nijs, who hadn’t had a top finish in the past few weeks, took matters into his own hands from the start at Wetzikon. His early aggression left behind everyone but Rabobank teammate Richard Groenendaal. Groenendaal, however, fell victim to a crash, allowing Nijs to solo home for the victory, while De Clercq and Vervecken moved up to take second and third.
Meanwhile, Americans Tim Johnson and Marc Gullickson tuned up for the world championships with a pair of top 20 finishes. Johnson took 13th on the day, matching the best World Cup performance by an American (set by Gulllickson in the previous round), while Gullickson took 16th. Jonathan Page also scored a top-25 finish, in 24th place, 4:12 behind Nijs.
1. Sven Nijs (B), 59:02; 2. Mario De Clercq (B), at 0:13; 3. Erwin Vervecken (B), at 0:40; 4. Richard Groenendaal (Nl), s.t.; 5. Bart Wellens (B), at 0:55; 6. Tom Vannoppen (B), at 1:11; 7. Gerben De Knegt (Nl), at 1:25; 8. Wim De Vos (Nl), at 1:51; 9. Camiel Van Den Bergh (Nl), at 2:07; 10. Jan Ramsauer (Swi), at 2:12.;
Others: 13. Tim Johnson (USA), at 2:36; 16. Marc Gullickson (USA), at 2:58; 24. Jonathan Page (USA), at 4:12.;
Standings after 5 of 6 rounds:;
1. Nijs, 252 pts; 2. De Clercq, 220; 3. Wellens, 196; 4. Vervecken, 190; 5. Groenendaal, 178.