Belgian cyclo-cross champion Sven Nys has had little time for recovery this year. His London Olympic Games participation has meant his season, which began at this time last year, has not really stopped. Once last season’s ‘cross World Cup circuit was complete he was off to a mountain World Cup, searching for qualification points, in order to be selected for the Belgian cross country mountain bike team at the London Games.
With the World Cup ‘cross season next on the agenda, beginning in Tabor on October 21, the former 'cross world champion wonders if he’s asking too much of himself to be able to perform at a high level for such a long period.
"Since the end of the previous cyclo-cross season I was silent for a moment. Three weeks after the last ‘cross in Hasselt, I was already in South Africa for the World Cup mountain bike. Physically, I had no rest, but also mentally. In my head it was constantly busy: I cannot let myself go, I must maintain my condition, I have to qualify for the Olympics. That lasted throughout the spring and summer to 12 August, The day of the Olympic cross country race," said Nys to Het Nieuwsblad.
Like many of the ‘cross riders, Nys uses the road circuit to remain fit for his real passion. His Landbouwkrediet-Euphony team holds a Professional Continental license and appears in most of the big Belgian spring classics. Nys is frequently racing on the road, having ridden in Paris-Bruxelles but his road season has been lighter this year as he concentrated on preparing for the Games.
Even on his short holiday in Mallorca, Nys was training, albeit at a reduced rate so he could spend the afternoons with his family. However, with such a long time without proper rest Nys questions whether he will remain competitive, regardless of his motivation to continue through the next part of the year.
"Every day I have trained. I had to for the purpose of the cyclo-cross season. I could not afford to be taking a holiday in late August and do nothing. But a real holiday, head free of any pressure? No, not that," he said.
"The only question is: can I insist? To what extent can a body keep pushing the limits? If I feel that this winter is not going right, I will be wise to just slow down. I am still motivated. Everybody thinks ‘he cannot keep up, huh’. Well, I will go against it, I will show you something," Nys said.