Sven Nys (Crelan-AA-Drink) rode far below par at the second round of the UCI World Cup in Koksijde. The Belgian champion never featured at the front as he struggled with the deep sand, and faded during the second half of the race to finish a distant fifteenth place. The 38-year-old cyclo-cross star cited illness but, possibly, he wanted to conserve energy for the Superprestige round in Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.
“It’s been a rough week although I thought it wouldn’t play a role over here. It was just bad but more wasn’t possible. I gave all I could. I missed my start but tried to bounce back but that was against all odds. I don’t feel ill but I’m on antibiotics for which you pay the price at this level,” Nys said after the race at his bus.
“I missed my pedal and lost a lot of positions straight away. I made up for that but if you’re not at your best level then you pay cash for those efforts. Apart from that I was just bad. I went over the handlebars. I was never able to get to the front. I felt I had no power. There was the desire to do something but I lacked the power. I made more and more errors and faded lap after lap.”
With the finish in sight Nys didn’t bother to defend his position and allowed Niels Wubben (Telenet-Fidea) to throw his wheel ahead of him on the line. Fourteenth or fifteenth, what’s the difference if you abandoned the first round of the UCI World Cup. It was clear that Nys will only give his maximum if the win is within his reach in the World Cup. In the time-based Bpost Bank Trophy the veteran is comfortably leading the series by two minutes over the Sunweb-Napoleon Games duo Klaas Vantornout and Kevin Pauwels after two rounds. There was no way Nys wanted to skip the third round and give away five minutes to his rivals.
“Then it should go really bad tonight. I’m leader in the Bpost-series and I’ll try to get to the start as good as possible. I’m not feverish so I’m not taking any major risks.”
Nys and the rest of the Elite Men category are lining up on the F1 car circuit of Spa-Francorchamps at 3pm local time.