Belgians select Olympians

Sven Nys (Rabobank)

Sven Nys (Rabobank) (Image credit: AFP)

Belgium will send three men to the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 including Sven Nys, Roel Paulissen and Filip Meirhaeghe. For some time, whether Belgium would send two or three men to the Olympics looked uncertain; the nation was competing with the US to be in the top five of the UCI's nations rankings. Teams in the top five rankings at the end of 2007 will be eligible to send five men,

The Belgian federation announced Tuesday, according to the press office Belga, that after last weekend's races, it would be mathematically impossible for the US to jump ahead of the Belgians in the rankings before they are finalized at the end of 2007.

Nys, who may be better known as one of the world's top cyclo-crossers, was the lowest on the individual mountain bike rankings of the three candidate Belgian Olympians, so the news that three would go to Beijing meant that Nys would be among the future Olympians. While training in Mallorca, Nys said he was not surprised, but was still happy with the news of his selection. "It will be a true honor. My preparation can now start fully," said Nys to Belga. He will work hard to ready himself for the hot and humid conditions expected next August; the Olympic conditions are expected to be the opposite to the cold and clear conditions in which Nys so consistently excels throughout the 'cross season.

After last weekend's races, the Americans trailed the Belgians by 140 points and a maximum of 130 points is available at the final UCI points race in Chile in December.

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