Flanders second place finisher worried about knee

Nick Nuyens

Nick Nuyens (Image credit: Gregor Brown)

By Brecht Decaluwé in Compiegne, France

Nick Nuyens (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone), runner up in the Ronde van Vlaanderen behind Belgian champion Stijn Devolder, captured his first podium result in a Monument, but he wasn't completely satisfied.

"I ought to be happy with my second place, but it's possible to go one better. I shouldn't be too easily satisfied, should I," Nuyens asked Cyclingnews. The Belgian confirmed that he is one of the men with the potential to win a Monument one day, but said luck has to be on his side. Nuyens, a rider outspoken against doping, has had a hard time in the peloton, but this year his true value is shining through. His second place in Flanders last weekend reflected the result of his hard work in the past.

Going into Paris-Roubaix, Nuyens wasn't feeling very confident as he worried about his left knee which has been troubling him. "It has been bothering me since the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The weather conditions caused it I think," Nuyens said. During the Ronde van Vlaanderen the riders were confronted with true Belgian weather – including rain, hail, snow and a bit of sun while riding from Brugge to the finish in Meerbeke. "My knee has not been getting better, but I hope it can still improve a little before Sunday," said Nuyens, who was had his knee taped this week and hoped it would improved further before Sunday's race.

When training on the pavé sections the riders are often get blisters on the insides of their hands, due to the constant shaking over the cobbles. Cyclingnews saw Nuyens' sore hands two years ago ahead of the start in Compiegne, but this year the Belgian was happy to show that he didn't have any blisters after the team's reconnaissance of Hell on Thursday. Perhaps it was a sign of Nuyen's maturity and experience - both necessary for a great performance in Hell.

When asked about his past performances in Paris-Roubaix, the Belgian had mixed memories. "I've never came to the start of Paris-Roubaix in optimal circumstances. There were always injuries or less form, but I should be able to go well over the cobbles," Nuyens said. Looking at the bright side, he added, "I've had some good moments in Paris-Roubaix, especially the first time I rode it. But then I crashed, punctured and all that kind of stuff. I had a lot of bad luck, but besides that it pleased me. Nuyens smiled at the thought of racing Paris-Roubaix, which he said he liked a lot despite negative sensations he encountered there in the past.

Nuyens still targeting Amstel Gold participation

Due to his injured knee, Nuyen's participation in the Amstel Gold race is less certain. Most of Nuyen's compatriots who ride well on the cobbles are not riding the Amstel Gold the week after Paris-Roubaix, but since the Belgian is riding for a French team, he is following a different path and in fact, is intending to participate in the Dutch race.

"That's it," Nuyens agreed his plan is more like that of a non-conservative Belgian cyclist. "Normally I would ride the [Amstel] Gold Race if my knee stands tall. It's not the goal to wreck it completely, but the Gold Race was one of my goals ahead of the season, so I'm planning to ride there."

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