By Brecht Decaluwé in Hofstade
Billed as an unpredictable race where the form guide can be thrown out the window, this year's Belgian championship produced another thrilling spectacle, but in the end Sven Nys was simply too strong and captured his fifth national title. Unleashing an explosive attack in the final kilometre, Nys blasted away from defending champion Bart Wellens, youngster Niels Albert and a surprising Erwin Vervecken, who just missed out on the podium today.
"It was a thrilling race," Nys admitted, needing some time to catch his breath after digging deep to distance Wellens. "My start was disastrous as Klaas Vantornout left before I heard the start gun. I thought they would call back those who started but then it turned out that I was the fool who was still standing there," he said, lamenting the decision of the UCI officials.
Ten days ago Nys won the World Cup race on the same course, but felt today was a different race altogether. "The sand section was frozen last week and that was to my advantage," he explained. "This time we had to run more as it was not possible to ride there; that was a disadvantage for me."
Nevertheless the UCI-leader managed to drop everybody on the last lap, as if playing a game of cat and mouse with the opposition. "I played poker and rode away where I wanted," he agreed. "In the last lap I felt that I still had an attack in my legs. Vervecken was leading the group to bring down the tempo. There was a battle for good position in the first sand section, but then I knew I had to jump away in the next section, that was the tactic."
See the full report and results here.