Jet lag, a night spent celebrating his world championship title and an early morning doping control may have taken the edge off the sprint of Sven Nys, who lost out in the Augustijn Parkcross Maldegem today to Bart Wellens in their first race back from the USA.
Wellens was excited to take his first victory in over a year after putting in a fine performance at the world championships in Louisville, Kentucky where he overcame a bad start to finish fourth. In Maldegem today, he said it was tactics that won him the race.
"I cut the last turn sharp in order to reduce the speed. I cannot beat Nys at full speed, but thanks to an explosive acceleration out of the last corner I could," he said.
A close second place wasn't a bad result for Nys, considering he had only arrived in Belgium the previous morning and had spent much of the day celebrating with his family and hometown fans.
"I partied until half past twelve with my fans in Baal," Nys said. "Then at 6am a doping inspector was at my door. Maybe it was my own fault. I could have changed my whereabouts for something better later in the day, but I didn't think to do it."
The new world champion said he was racing on euphoria. "I could immediately take the initiative, because I felt was much better than expected. That must have been the euphoria, it cannot be otherwise."
In other race notes, confusion at the start of the race led to some riders getting a poor start. Niels Albert fought his way back from missing the whistle thanks to loud music, and took third. Klaas Vantornout, the worlds silver medalist, suffered drivetrain problems and did not finish.