After another lacklustre performance (7th) at the Cyclo-cross World Championships which were held this weekend in Koksijde, Belgium, Sven Nys(Landbouwkrediet) hinted out that he might skip the event in the final two years of his career.
The 35-year-old Belgian didn't manage to keep his compatriot Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) from the title although he previously said that he would have a good chance on the win in the dunes of Koksijde. With another chance gone, Nys feels like he simply can't build-up his season towards the event. Nys dominated the cyclo-cross sport for more than a decade, being UCI-leader for most of the time and claiming wins in all major series. At the world championships he was only able to convert his dominance into a title once, at the championships in Sankt-Wendel in 2005.
"It might have been the last one I rode. It's probably a bit too early to say something like this but if I look at it now I feel like saying that,"
Nys said shortly after his race in the studio of Sporza. "It's the disappointment. I expected a lot from this race and felt like I was in the form of my life but it wasn't enough. Then you have to make your conclusions because this was a course where it could happen one more time," a clearly disappointed Nys said.
"My priority is elsewhere than on that single day at the world championships. It's a fact that there are men on the podium of which I didn't expect that they would finish ahead of me. Then you have to admit that you simply can't keep up on a day like this. Maybe this is something that doesn't suit me, something that turned out to be a fact in recent years. Maybe I don't have to worry about it in the future and leave it to other boys," Nys said.
When asked whether his busy program in the weeks ahead of the race might have ruined it for him Nys denied that was the case. The day before the World Cup rounds in France and The Netherlands, the Belgian champion was taking part in a smaller event.
"I don't think I should've raced less but it's true that today's winner raced – due to injuries – the least of all of us. The man in second place, Rob Peeters, raced as many races as I did in the build-up to this race. It's not an excuse. I was at my best at the Belgian championships. Last year it was the same and then I felt like I rode a world championships race like never before. I don't know where I made a mistake but you see one guy riding away and there's nothing you can do," Nys said before coming to a conclusion. "Maybe my skills are suited for a season-long battle for the classifications instead of one event. I pulled it off one time and it'll remain the only one," Nys said.
He added that he actually enjoyed riding in front of the 60000-plus crowd in Koksijde. "We shall see. I was proud to be here because it was really special."
Peter Van den Abeele, manager of Off-Road disciplines at the International Cycling Union (UCI), was surprised to hear the statement from Nys. When thinking about next year's world championships he said that Nys was needed in Louisville, Kentucky. "Sven needs to fly abroad. We need him for the sport," Van den Abeele said on Sporza.
In a first reaction fresh world champion Niels Albert said that he regretted a possible withdrawal from Nys.
"Personally I think that it would be very sad. He's one of the greatest cyclo-cross riders around. You can't judge somebody on the amount of world championships he won," Albert said.
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