Belgian cyclo-cross champion Sven Nys claimed his 50th career win in the Superprestige series at the fifth round in Gieten on Sunday. The win was only Nys' fifth of the season, having taken a slower start than normal in cyclo-cross after a full summer of mountain bike racing.
"I've been waiting on my 50th Superprestige victory, but [today] it was a deserved victory," said Nys. "This is a 'cross for riders with power. Normally I do not like those, because of lack of technical sections. But today I immediately had good sensations. I quickly took the lead and did not let up. If the condition is good, you can ride away from the rest. "
The early season saw Nys struggling uncharacteristically, unable to power away from his competition and solo to victory in the manner that earned him the nickname 'the cannibal'. His first win came in the opening round of the Superprestige in Ruddervoorde, something that inspired him to believe he could win a tenth career win in the overall classification of the series.
But after coming third to Niels Albert and Zdenek Stybar in Hoogstraten, then second to Albert in Gavere and Stybar in Hamme Zogge, his faith began to slip.
That all changed on Sunday when he returned to the front of the bunch in the dense, muddy field in Gieten and powered away from Albert into a stiff wind to nab win number 50 in the series. To put perspective on his feat, the next best record comes from 80's cyclo-cross star Roland Liboton who has just 21 wins on his palmarès.
Now, with three races remaining, and a two point lead on Albert and four on Stybar, the goal a 10th victory in the overall series is more realistic.
"It's always been a primary objective of mine, but obviously you need more than two points [lead] and two points for the rest behind."
"I'll have to be fully concentrated in Diegem in order not to lose valuable points there. Anyway, it's better to lead by a few points than to be left chasing," Nys said.
His fan club was near the finish line to present him with a trophy bearing the number 50, which he grabbed in a spontaneous gesture as he rode toward the win.
"The trophy wasn't planned but I saw those people with that thing, so I grabbed it," Nys said.
The Superprestige series goes on hiatus for the holidays before resuming in Diegem on December 27.
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