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Sven Nys wins the Soudal Cyclo-cross race.
"Better preparation would be impossible"
Defending world cyclo-cross champion Sven Nys has already shown he was on top form during January, but after completing his preparation in Mallorca for the Hoogerheide UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, the Belgian is confident. "Better preparation would be impossible," Nys told Het Nieuwsblad. "I am ready for the world championships."
Nys chose to skip the final World Cup round in Nommay in order to train for Worlds in Mallorca, where the weather is good and there are climbs of 15-20 minutes in length to train on.
"I have done a lot of quality training here over the years," Nys said. "That work pays off. If you are older like me, you need to push very hard on the flat to obtain the same result."
Nys is the sole top favorite for the Hoogerheide elite men's race on Sunday, but acknowledged the rising form of his French rival Francis Mourey. "He only lost in Nommay because he has less skills than Tom Meeusen," Nys said of Mourey, calling him the number one rival.
After topping off his training and pushing out favorable power numbers in Mallorca, Nys is calm and confident heading into Sunday's race. "The second [world title] last year in Louisville changed a lot," he said. "But a third world title will not make or break my career. That makes me feel very relaxed. I estimate my chances high based on my last two months, and it's a pretty tricky course in Hoogerheide."
The question on everyone's mind is whether or not former world champion Zdenek Stybar will be on the start line, but Nys thinks he will be there after seeing the Czech rider training in Mallorca, too. "He was doing hill intervals. You don't do that if you have no secret plans."
Nys will head back to Belgium tonight, but will not preview the course until Sunday.