Nick Nuyens has stated that he wants to put a disappointing spring Classics campaign behind him and try for a jersey at this weekend's Belgian national championships in Leuven.
"I have suffered much during the spring; it was difficult for me physically and mentally. The criticism of me hit me, but I will not shoot back. I'm not vindictive, but if I win, it will be enjoyed," Nuyens told Belgian sports daily Sporza.
Nuyens has suffered setbacks through injury over the past few seasons when many considered his career to be taking off after a move from Cofidis to Rabobank. The former Quick-Step rider was again besieged by injury and illness this Spring however, hardly competing and only taking a 26th place in Amstel Gold Race, but says he's hopeful of shaking this off to ride well in the national championships.
The Rabobank rider lived in Leuven for four years and is anticipating a return to competition there. "The Belgian championships are special anyway and for me it is a little more special - I lived in Leuven for four years and I know every road. It's fun to return there and certainly for the Belgian championships," he said.
As for the value of the Belgian national champion's jersey, which has been seen on the likes of Tom Boonen and Stijn Devolder in recent years, Nuyens is unequivocal: "The national flag is beautiful and has earned great respect," he stated.
There are quality riders also vying for the black, red and yellow jersey, however. "The name that immediately springs to mind is [Greg] Van Avermaet," said Nuyens. "Devolder is caught in a rut even though he says he isn't and Gilbert and Boonen are always good," he added.