By Brecht Decaluwé
All the big names in European cyclo-cross were ill: Sven Nys (Rabobank) and Bart Wellens (Fidea) didn’t touch their bikes on Saturday, and were uncertain about their participation in a rain-drenched Hamme-Zogge. World champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) was ill last week and performed badly in the World Cup races Igorre and Milano (11th and 15th place).
Still, these three proved to be the strongest riders in the field in Hamme-Zogge. Sven Nys had the worst start of all but managed to come back from last position to first within twenty minutes. He easily distanced Wellens at the end of the second lap to claim his fifth Superprestige win of the season.
"Nobody will believe that I was ill yesterday," Nys said after the race. "Actually I hesitated to participate in today’s race and if this wouldn’t have been a Superprestige race, I would have stayed in bed," the Belgian champion explained. After the first kilometre, it seemed impossible that Nys would continue his winning streak in the Superprestige Series.
"I don’t get it myself!" Nys honestly said. "I almost crashed at the start due to some gearing problems, then I just continued in my own pace without thinking about the victory; at the end of the first lap I was already in third position," the winner said. The Belgian started the chase on Bart Wellens and the surprisingly well-off Jan Soetens (Jartazi - Promo Fashion); two laps further Nys was riding alone in front and bagged another nice victory.
See the full report, results and photos here.