By Brecht Decaluwé in Nommay
Sven Nys suffered a major defeat during the Belgian National Championships in Hamme-Zogge last week, but has proved that he's back in control by winning the next best thing - another world cup. Rain and the lack of freezing temperatures created a selective course in Nommay, an area in France where Francis Mourey (fdjeux.com) grew up. The French champion was expected to show the crowds that he's capable of beating the best cyclo-cross riders around, and while Mourey started off like a fusée, his hometown supporters suffered a major setback as their hero lost many places, eventually finishing 13th.
Sven Nys (Rabobank) did it the other way around and started like an escargot, but from the third lap on, Nys was in total control of the race. Bart Wellens (Fidea) was the last rider that could keep up with the 'cannibal of cyclo-cross', but nevertheless the Belgian champion had to admit Nys was the best today. "I was good but not good enough, I still felt the Champs in my legs," Wellens said. The Belgian champion was expected to start in the C1 cross around the track of Roubaix, but he didn't start as he suffered dental sores the night before.
Nys held Wellens to more than ten seconds, winning his sixth world cup this season. "Bart [Wellens] is really strong these days but I put him under pressure a whole lap long, eventually I could ride away from him...he cracked," Nys said. Gerben De Knegt showed that he's back after some lesser performances around Christmas, including the loss of his Dutch champion's jersey. "I'm happy that's it's going all right again; it was frustrating to finish around tenth place every time, but back then I couldn't do any better. It's sad I lost my title, but that can't be changed now," De Knegt said.
See the full report, results and photos here.