|Sven is back in the winners circle @ Zonhoven - Photo credit: Bart Hazen|
Sven Nys is a hero in the world of veldrijden, or cyclocross as we call it here in the States. He is arguably the best cyclcross racer, or veldrijder in the history of the sport. His duels with the likes of Lars Boom, Neils Albert and Zdenek Stybar over the last 6 or so years are the stuff of legend. While they have all had their time in the sun, and in the world championship stripes, Nys was easily the most consistent of the group. He rides with a ferocity that belies his cunning. Tactically there are few better, and that is what allows him to continue winning the sports biggest races as he heads towards the tail end of his fourth decade.
Todays race on the sandy slopes of Zonhoven in round 3 of the Superprestige series was a perfect example. An early flat and some heavy traffic meant he spent most of the race working his way up to the leaders. To be honest he didn't look to have much of an impact on the race whatsoever and Klaus Vontornout and Lars van der Haar applied heavy pressure at the front to insure that it stayed that way. As usual however, Nys did not panic and slowly picked his way back to the wheel of his long time foe Albert. by the time the last lap came up the two had caught on to the leaders and then launched a brutal counterattack. Van der haar was instantly unhitched but Vantornout was game and struck out behind Albert with Nys slyly hanging back. about a third of the way through he punched around Vantornout and bridged up to Albert who didn't stand a chance. On a slight left hand uphill turn he applied the final screws and went around his Belgian compatriot, led out the sprint and never looked back. The two would finish with the same time but there was no doubt that Nys was going to win. Even slipping a pedal could not change the outcome, the current world champ calmly reset and pulled away from the broken Albert who crossed the line with head down and arms straight completely spent. You can check out the last lap in all it's glory here:
Next up for the Superprestige is the Hamme-Zogge Bellokescross, which from what I can understand has something to do with beer as the winner is handed a large mug of the stout stuff to drink. Always a fast race, it nonetheless seems to calm things down after the frenetic experience of this weekends monumental races.