Spanish air strike could ground Sven Nys

Riders struggling to get to Igorre for World Cup

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) is among the riders who risks missing out on Sunday’s fourth round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Igorre, Spain as a result of an air controllers’ strike in the country. The Belgian has been training on Majorca this week ahead of Sunday’s race.

“Sven’s plane was supposed to take off at midday on Saturday,” Nys’s wife Isabelle told Sporza. “That flight has been delayed until 8pm, but it’s not certain if that will go ahead. Otherwise, his last chance would be a Sunday morning flight.”

Spanish air traffic controllers went on strike on Friday evening to protest against increases in working hours and austerity measures passed by the government on Friday. The Spanish government has since declared a state of alert, meaning that air traffic controllers who refuse to work can be charged with civil disobedience.

Nys is thus reliant on the dispute reaching a speedy resolution, although it is anticipated that the disruption will last until at least Sunday morning. He has already ruled out the possibility of travelling to Igorre by car and ferry.

“Sven was thinking about going to Igorre by boat and road, but he has abandoned that plan,” Isabelle Nys explained.

Klaas Vantornat (Sunweb) also risks missing the race as he is currently unable to fly from Belgium to Spain as a result of the industrial action.

The Telenet-Fidea team, meanwhile, has opted to take to the roads to get to Igorre. Bart Wellens, Rob Peeters and Kevin Pauwels were training in southern Spain this week, and the trio are to spend much of Saturday making the nine-hour drive north to the Basque Country with team manager Danny De Bie. Similarly, BKCP’s Niels Albert and Dieter Vanthourenhout are driving the 650km from their training base of Benicassim to Igorre.

World champion Zdenek Stybar was already set to miss the race through injury but he is nonetheless himself stranded at a training camp in Spain and unable to return home. “One piece of bad luck never comes by itself,” he said. “It was already hard enough to leave the training camp and now this… For now, I can only wait.”

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