Like he did last year, cyclo-cross legend Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) got his cyclo-cross season off to a rough start. A year ago, Nys coped badly with heat during the first World Cup race in Treviso, Italy, where he withdrew from the race and had to give up his hopes for the overall World Cup classification. During the first round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy in Namur, Belgium, on Sunday afternoon, the 34-year-old Belgian champion struggled in similar warm weather conditions and once again abandoned the race.
Nys missed his start on the slopes of the massive citadel in Namur. The Belgian champion came out of his pedal and ended up riding half a minute behind leaders and in a position just outside the top 15. During the following lap, Nys made up a few seconds, but from then on, he only went backward in the peloton. When trailing the leaders by almost two minutes, Nys withdrew.
"This was my Treviso from 2010. It was completely the same story," said Nys to sport.be. "Due to the heat, I had to battle my own body. I was feeling nauseous before the start and that feeling didn't go away during the race.
"Right from the start, I was feeling like I was sitting in my camper van. I was sweating like a mad man. I lacked power and had a complete off-day," said Nys to Sporza.
"I'm not worried now because it was so extremely bad. The previous races showed that basically I'm good. I need to take time to recover and hope that next week's race in Ruddervoorde won't be too warm. The start there is at 5:00 pm, and I don't mind that at all," said Nys, looking forward to the upcoming races although he realized his chances at the GvA-Trophy overall were done.
"Winning this classification is impossible. I have to put it out of my mind and try to make the best of each individual race in this competition. What happened today shows how consistent you have to be to win a competition like this," Nys told sport.be, possibly referring to his seven overall wins in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy in the past.