This Sunday will mark the start of the cyclo-cross season for the 'Cannibal from Baal' Sven Nys who is taking part in the Erpe-Mere cross, a race which last year was the first of his 28 wins.
Last year the Belgian won just about all there was to win, with victory in the Super Prestige series, the Gazet van Antwerpen series and the number one ranking in the UCI rankings for cyclo-cross. "And my condition is even better than it was last year" he told the Gazet van Antwerpen during the presentation of his new winter clothing range in Wijmaal, Belgium.
"On March 18 I began training for the new 'cross season. Since then, including racing and training I have 20,000km in my legs. My condition is optimal, better than last year. I showed that when I finished 16th last Sunday in the world mountain bike championships. I have never finished so close to the leaders."
His ride on Sunday in Fort William was enough for him to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing next year, and although he has said earlier that he will definitely not go to Beijing because in August it will be to warm, after his performance in Scotland, he has again start
"I know that in mountainbiking I have my limits and they have not disappeared after my good result in Scotland. But I can improve and that it is really only the temperature that plays a part."
"If I have to chose, cyclo-cross always comes first. This sport has made me huge."
Just like in past seasons, Nys is looking to take the most amounts of wins that he can. "Every year I say that I don't have a specific goal, rather I just want to win as much as possible. That has not changed. I know that if I am in good condition and stay away from accidents and injuries that I will always be close to the front," Nys explained. "But there are always some things that you don't have control over. Look at the worlds last year, I still have the feeling that I was not beaten fairly."
Nys believes that his biggest rivals this year will not come in the form of the usual suspects, Bart Wellens and Erwin Vervecken, but rather youngsters such as Niels Albert and Lars Boom. "They have both shown many times that they have lots of talent. Now it is just a question of whether or not they can take the next step higher. If they can, then the pressure to perform will be divided between us and not only on my shoulders. I wouldn't say that Bart (Wellens) is my biggest rival. The past two years he has only won around 10 races. He shines only from time to time," concluded Nys.