By Brecht Decaluwé in Oudenaarde, Belgium
Belgian champion Sven Nys once again dominated the Koppenbergcross, taking his fifth win in a row in Oudenaarde, but this time, he did it in extremely foul weather conditions and with injuries to his hand. He dislocated a finger, but X-rays showed that it is not broken, and Nys will start the Superprestige race on Sunday in Veghel-Eerde.
Nys took the win ahead of his former teammate and world champion Lars Boom on a course that was ankle-deep mud in places. Both riders crashed on the final lap, but could continue, and Nys put in his winning move on the final
Before talking to the press, Nys received medical treatment on a dislocated right forefinger. At 32, he is surprisingly resilient considering he crashed just two weeks ago and ended up with stitches, a black eye and other injuries. This latest bang-up was just more of the usual for this seasoned 'cross racer. "I must've hurt it in that last crash but I didn't feel the pain until the race was over," Nys said.
The cold, the mud and the hard course brought out the best in the Belgian, and he has the result to show for it in a season where he's been challenged more closely than ever before by his younger competitors. "This is real 'cross, once in a while it's fun to ride a race like this. Afterwards it's not as fun when you start to feel the pain and the coldness, but during the race you're just thinking about making it to the finish line," Nys said.
His crash and his injured finger nearly cost him the win, but that focus on the finish line saved him. "I felt something and could only steer with my four other fingers. After that crash I couldn't brake anymore. For a moment I feared that I would lose the race. After that crash I was only thinking about making it to the finish line."
Nys was unsure after the race if he would start in Veghel-Eerde, but later reported that he would indeed race.