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Sven Nys leads the pack
Belgian champion ends 'cross season with 17 victories
There were surprises in the final weekend of cyclo-cross season as Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) grabbed his 17th win of the season in Lebbeke on Saturday and with a 10th place in Oostmalle on Sunday he racked up his ninth overall win in the Bpost Bank Trophy, one of the three major cyclo-cross series.
This season Sven Nys captured 17 victories, won the Superprestige cyclo-cross series, won the Belgian national championship and was a strong runner-up to Zdenek Stybar at the world championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. At the age of 37 Nys managed to dominate the cyclo-cross season once again and he's keen to repeat that in the 2014-2015 season.
"I don't have to care about what the people say as it's not always going to be a top notch year. Last year I managed 20 wins and people asked me if the next year wouldn't be the year-too-much. I have enough experience. It's a matter of recharging the batteries but not allowing the physical level to drop too much," Nys said after finishing 10th in Oostmalle and winning in Lebbeke on Saturday. "Today (Sunday) I realized that it was no longer possible to ride an hour on the limit, especially two days in a row. The last few weeks I had a lot of obligations. I lacked training. It's time to rest."
On Sunday afternoon Nys briefly featured in the lead group with Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea), the duo that went on to finish first and second. Halfway into the second lap Nys also won the intermediate sprint, "I knew I was level with Thijs van Amerongen," and racked up an additional 2500 euros. That's when Nys considered the job done and a little later he literally waved goodbye to Albert and Meeusen.
"I knew the overall victory was mine. If the gap would've been smaller I would've tried a bit longer," Nys said.
Rating his nine overall wins in the Bpost Bank Trophy series was impossible and Nys admitted he didn't quite remember all of them. "The one that comes to my mind is the one where I battled with Kevin Pauwels in the final round [2010-2011]. Nobody seemed to be on my side but my race tactics forced Pauwels into mistakes. This year I rode in a dominant way straight from the first round in Ronse. I had a big lead which could've been bigger if I wouldn't have fallen over the barriers in Essen."
Nys will now be heading for the Dominican Republic for a one-week holiday. Coincidently, his arch rival Niels Albert will be there too. If the two happen to run into each other on the island they'll surely discuss what Nys had to say about Albert's absence in Lebbeke on Saturday.
"Being more fresh both physically and mentally, those details make the difference at this level, making you able to close a gap or not. When Albert called off due to sickness for the 'cross race in Lebbeke on Saturday, I considered him as top favourite for today. Niels Albert didn't dare to ride twice this weekend," Nys said.
When asked about his schedule for the next cyclo-cross season and a return trip to the United States, Nys said he didn't know much yet. "Vegas will probably be part of it but those negotiations are all ongoing."