Belgian tops Stybar, Powers as best cyclo-crosser
With more than 300 victories on his palmares, there is no disputing the fact that Sven Nys is one of, if not the most successful cyclo-cross racers of all time, and Cyclingnews' astute readers acknowledged his accomplishments by voting him best male cyclo-cross racer for the eighth straight year, and the 10th time in the 11-year history of our poll.
Nys soundly defeated the 'cross world champion Zdenek Stybar for the honor, raking in 31.3% of the vote. American Jeremy Powers took the final podium spot, edging out Belgian champion Niels Albert by 568 votes.
In the 2010-2011 season, Nys claimed his 10th Superprestige and 8th GvA Trophy overall wins, and finished the season as the UCI's number one rider, however the world title eluded him once again.
It's shocking that a rider who has been so dominant in his career has won only a single rainbow jersey at the elite level and two as an under 23. Yet the Belgian superstar is more than just a podium ornament for another world champion - he's one of the few riders who wins from September to February, but his focus on the season-long series has meant he is less fresh than his competitors when Worlds roll around.
He's admitted as such, even criticizing his fellow Belgian Niels Albert for his singular focus on the world title. Yet this season might be different. He's taken a slower start, had stronger challenges from Albert and Kevin Pauwels, and while he remains UCI leader, it's more due to his previous season results than his current list of just five victories.
While Stybar was runner-up for the second year in a row, his strong performance in the 2010-2011 season and his brilliant world championship ride earned him the vote of 4281 readers, 479 more than last year, while Nys's votes dropped by 72.
Powers leap-frogged Albert in this year's poll, 1424 more people gave him their vote than in 2010.
Best male cyclo-cross racer of 2011
1 Sven Nys 6,773 (31.3%)
2 Zdenek Stybar 4,281 (19.8%)
3 Jeremy Powers 2,622 (12.1%)
4 Niels Albert 2,054 (9.5%)
5 Kevin Pauwels 1,605 (7.4%)
6 Tim Johnson 1,499 (6.9%)
7 Todd Wells 1,367 (6.3%)
8 Bart Wellens 560 (2.6%)
9 Francis Mourey 437 (2.0%)
10 Klaas Vantornout 436 (2.0%)
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