There were amazing scenes in Hamme Zogge last Sunday as Sven Nys demonstrated why he's the best exponent of international cyclo-cross with a win in the Superprestige round held in the Belgian town. In conditions more conducive to skiing than riding bikes, heavy snow fell throughout the race, adding an extra element to an already-tough course.
The steps were treacherous, as Nys attested to after taking the win. "That last lap was more than I could take. If it would've taken any longer someone would have been injured. This is a hard sport, but if you can win in these weather conditions then that makes up for all the efforts," he explained.
The time gaps at the finish were fairly consistent despite the tough conditions, with Klaas Vantornout finishing 11 seconds behind his countryman, and Bart Wellens maintaining his good run with a podium place 24 seconds behind Nys. Having won the previous day in Hasselt, Wellens summed up his experience in Hamme Zogge on his personal website, saying, "I'm pleased with this performance... tyre choice was certainly important. I didn't have the best day but I think Nys deserved the win for sure."
As usual, Nys used tactics that suited both the competition he faced and the conditions he was up against. Holding off his attack until the later stages of the race, Nys explained after the finish that, "Purposely I didn't wait until the end to ride away from Klaas because then you need to take risks and it is dangerous in this weather; I only accelerated in the sections where I felt good.
"Before that, Klaas and I just tried to build up a safe gap on the others before thinking about the victory. In the end I think I can say that I was the strongest rider today."