After suffering two crashes and a mechanical in a horrendously muddy course in Loenhout, Belgian champion Sven Nys was at the end of his rope. Trailing leader Niels Albert by more than a minute, he tried to limit his losses in the bpost Bank Trophy series, which is run on cumulative time, chasing hard through greasy, pitted mud bogs.
To top it off, on each lap, in the same stretch of the course, Nys was assaulted with a barrage of beer. In the final lap, coated in mud, Nys ran through that same section when, for the seventh time in a row, a beer cup hit him in the leg. Even though he could fight for his place in the overall classification, the Landbouwkrediet rider decided he'd rather exact his revenge than pedal on in pursuit of seconds.
"I could continue my pursuit, but I had had enough," Nys said to Sporza afterward. He plunged into the crowd, making a bee-line for the offender, who ran in the opposite direction rather than face the wrath of the 'cannibal' of cyclo-cross.
"I had planned it in advance," Nys continued. "If he throws it in the seventh lap, I'm not going to go quietly."
Making contact with the youthful fan, Nys was quick to confront him about his behavior, choosing words over fists to settle the score.
"I asked him, 'Why? Does this make sense?' He apologized. But nothing more than 'sorry' came. He was obviously pretty drunk. I did not get aggressive. Throwing beer is low-down and does not belong in cross. We are not animals. After the seventh time I was tired. Everyone deserves a little respect."
By not finishing the race, Nys tumbled five minutes down the classification, and is now over six minutes behind series leader and Loenhout winner Niels Albert.
"I did not finish and I can forget about the classification," Nys said. "I could have continued my fight for second place in the rankings. But I had had enough. That gentleman may place that in his list of achievements."