World cyclo-cross champion Sven Nys will either be in the hospital or at the start line in Namur for the UCI World Cup on Sunday, he said on Twitter. The Belgian crashed heavily while leading Saturday's bpost Bank Trofee round in Essen and injured his right arm.
Nys was riding away to what looked like a sure victory in the heavy, muddy 'cross in Essen when he chose to bunny-hop the barriers and slipped on the first plank, going off his line and into the fencing after clearing the second hurdle.
"I slightly lost balance and moved a bit to the right. I could not avoid the fencing and went over the handlebars," Nys said after the race. "It was a big blow.
"At first I thought something was broken in my forearm, because I had no power anymore and it immediately swelled up. But I thought, if I hold out for half a lap, then I can also finish."
Nys not only finished, he chased back from his incident, catching everyone except race winner Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), and extending his lead in the bpost Bank Trofee overall on third place finisher Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus).
The world champion's luck in the World Cup has been not nearly as good - he is not in the running for that series after failing to finish the Valkenburg round because of multiple mechanicals, and having similar bad luck in Tabor - but he hopes to start in Namur provided his arm is not broken.
"If nothing is broken, it won't be so bad. I don't think I could have finished with a break. I've raced with a dislocated finger before (after Koppenbergcross 2008, ed)," he said. "I have pain, but now I can put weight on that arm."
Nys has had a number uncharacteristic crashes this season - one in Gieten when solo off the front which damaged his derailleur and forced him to lose minutes running to the pits, another pair Bosduin last week, and on Wednesday in Sint Niklaas his front wheel washed out in a turn, putting him out of podium contention - but he shrugged off any suggestion it was a trend.
"Yes, I've crashed a lot lately," he told Nieuwsblad.be. "I don't know why, I think it's a coincidence. Some years you fall, others you don't. But until now I definitely couldn't complain."