On Sunday, December 29 at Superprestige Diegem, Sven Nys brought to a poignant conclusion his lengthy association with the Colnago bicycle brand. The reigning world champion took command of the sixth Superprestige round, the final 'cross race of 2013, on the opening lap and would solo to victory 20 seconds ahead of Tom Meeusen, who remarked that he "saw all the stars in the sky" while trying, ultimately in vain, to hold Nys' wheel. Niels Albert, winner of the past four Superprestige rounds in Diegem, placed third at 45 seconds.
Nys has ridden Colnago bicycles since his early days as a professional with Rabobank, and that brand relationship continued through to the present when Nys moved to the Belgian Landbouwkrediet squad mid-way through the 2008 season. The Belgian team, run under the Crelan-Euphony moniker in 2013, has had a long-term association with the Colnago brand as well but the team's existence unfortunately came to a conclusion this fall after a 25-year run. While the road team's final race took place at China's Tour of Taihu in early November, Nys and several teammates continued to represent the team through the remainder of 2013 on the cyclo-cross circuit of which Nys is the current world champion in the discipline.
Nys and company's final race in Crelan kit, and on the team's Colnagos, took place in Diegem, Belgium today with the 37-year-old Belgian bringing the curtain down on his relationship with the Colnago brand in fine fashion. With the race comfortably won, Nys dismounted just prior to the finish line, held his Colnago aloft and kissed it, then proceeded to walk across the line to claim victory. "It's a worthy way of thanking and saying goodbye to the people I worked with for fifteen years, thanking the team and manager Gérard Bulens who says farewell to the sport," said Nys. Come January 1 at his eponymous GP Sven Nys in Baal, Belgium, the world champion will move on to the Trek brand.
Nys has been a prolific winner on the 'cross circuit, and the Belgian's tally of victories continued its steady profusion during his tenure with the Landbouwkrediet organisation. Click on the gallery from AFP's archives for a selection of Nys's finest moments with his Belgian team.