Nick Nuyens will skip the opening weekend of Belgian races in 2011 after the Saxo Bank-SunGard newcomer was persuaded by Bjarne Riis to ease himself into the new season.
The 30-year-old will skip the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 27) and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne the next day.
"It is perhaps surprising that will not ride the opening weekend," Nuyens told Sporza. "With this we avoid risks such as illness. Last year was a bad experience." This spring the Belgian suffered from injuries and illness, and barely rode in the Classics.
"Riis understands this is painful for me, but I opted for a fresh start and I just decided to follow Riis. We'll see where it takes me."
After two years with Rabobank, Nuyens is making a new start with Saxo Bank-SunGard, but the team has had so many new faces, that it too is making a new start.
“They are not starting from scratch, but they do want change. There are not only many new riders, but the framework has also been updated."
There is no doubt for Nuyens that Riis is firmly in charge of things. "A man with much charisma," said Nuyens. "When he takes the floor, it is silent.”
The team has just finished its first training camp in Fuertaventura. They not only windsurfed and kite surfed, but also had “three Danish circus performers who came over and taught us some tricks, like a human pyramid."
"We also had a lot of fun. You must leave your intellect out and get to know each other best,” he continued. “Actually you stand there with a lot of adults being silly, but one way or another it creates a bond. It was very nice."