Although his recent string of race results may not show his true abilities, our readers still think he's the best: Belgian Sven Nys has claimed the title of Best Cyclo-cross Racer of the Year for the 13th time in the history of the Cyclingnews Reader Poll.
Nys, twice the UCI Cyclo-cross World Champion, and with 285 victories next to his name has been the undisputed best 'cross racer for more than a decade, and although he is now 38 years old, he still manages to contend for the win on a regular basis.
Through his legendary career, Nys has claimed nine elite Belgian championship titles in 'cross and four in mountain biking, 13 overall Superprestige series wins, nine in the Bpost Bank/GvA Trophy series and seven overall World Cup victories, but even the best have to slow down one day.
This year Nys may have lost his rainbow jersey to Zdenek Stybar in a two-man battle, but he still holds the high esteem of Cyclingnews readers, garnering over 41 per cent of the voting. His margin of victory was much higher than Stybar's in Hoogerheide - the Czech champion earned just shy of a quarter of the votes.
The only woman on our poll, US champion Katie Compton, earned a solid 17 per cent of the voting, while Dutch champion Lars van der Haar was fourth, with 10 per cent.
Although Nys has been increasingly challenged by the younger riders such as Kevin Pauwels, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, the latter could only garner six per cent of our reader's votes - but we fully expect those statistics to change in the coming years as a new generation of contenders emerges.
Nys himself admits that as he gets older, the victories become more difficult to achieve. Four wins in the 2014-2015 season would be a success for any rider, but is cause for panic across Belgium for Nys' fans. "I'm only human," he said. "At the age of 38 you must let go of certain things. Those who can't do that are old and frustrated riders. And that's the last thing I want to be."
Results - Cyclo-cross Rider of the Year
|4||Lars van der Haar||10.60%|
|5||Mathieu van der Poel||6.03%|