Nys looks to consolidate World Cup lead

Belgian Champ Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner)

Belgian Champ Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner) (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)

By Peter Hymas

The UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup presented by Safety Jogger leaves behind the sand dunes of Koksijde and travels south to Igorre, Spain for the fifth round of the nine-race series. Only the Elite Men will battle for World Cup supremacy in northern Spain and Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner), World Cup leader and UCI points leader, hopes to make it three victories in a row at Igorre to put distance between himself and the trio of Fidea Cycling Team riders who trail Nys in the overall standings.

While Nys hasn't been piling up World Cup victories as in previous years, he's been very consistent through the first four rounds with a victory at Kalmthout, two additional podium appearances and a fourth place as his worst placing so far. Nys took over the World Cup lead at the previous weekend's race in Koksijde, Belgium through the combination of a close 2nd place finish behind Erwin Vervecken (Fidea Cycling Team) and the absence of previous World Cup leader Niels Albert, whose ruptured spleen suffered at the Gavere Superprestige race has ended his season.

Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) looks to avenge a disappointing second place finish to Nys at the previous year's World Cup in Igorre due to an untimely mechanical suffered on the final lap. Wellens's rear derailleur snapped off forcing the Belgian to shoulder his bike until he reached the pit giving Nys a comfortable margin of victory. The thick mud responsible for Wellens's plus many other riders' mechanicals last year is expected to once again be a factor on Sunday with steady showers affecting the race venue approximately 20km from Bilbao. Wellens has yet to podium at a World Cup race this season but the Belgian has been showing improving form lately and will have ample motivation to perform well in Igorre.

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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.