Two-time cyclo-cross world champion Sven Nys has announced that he will do exactly one more year as a professional rider before he hangs up his bike and retiring from the sport. The Belgian had previously stated that he would end his career next season but has confirmed the date as March 5, 2016.
Now 38, Nys turned professional in 1998 with Rabobank and has since ridden for Landbouwkredit and Crelan-AA Drink – for who he currently races. During his 17-year career, Nys has won the World Championship twice, in 2005 and 2013. In 2005 Nys also won the national title, the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy, the cyclo-cross World Cup, the Superprestige titles, and ended the season as the world number one – the only rider to achieve this grand slam of cyclo-cross.
Nys has won a total of 46 World Cup races, and has claimed the overall title six times. He has been the Belgian national champion nine times and holds three national mountain bike titles.
As recently as December of last year, Nys denied that he had any plans to retire but the rise of talented young riders Mathieu van der Poel, who won the elite World Championships this season, and Wout van Aert have forced him to change his mind. The 2014/15 was a tough one for Nys by his own standards, with illness disrupting his schedule, but he still secured four victories including the defence of his Cross Vegas title.
Nys will make his departure at an extravaganza event in the Sportpaleis Antwerp that has been named 'Merci Sven'. Tickets for the event have already gone on sale, where fans will be able to bid farewell to Nys at the 23,000-seater stadium, and are expected to go quickly.