After beginning the season with a victory in CrossVegas and claiming the first round of the Bpost Bank series, Sven Nys has fallen into a slump since mid-November that has gone from bad to worse. After fighting to a fourth place in the Bpost race in Hasselt on Saturday, losing 51 seconds of his overall series lead to Kevin Pauwels, he abandoned the Druivencross in Overijse leaving his team director looking for anwers.
"We do not know what's going on," Jan Verstraeten said to Sporza. "This really is not normal. In recent weeks, Sven has clearly indicated that something is wrong. Now we have to find the cause. Only then will we know how we can face the rest of the season.
"There has been something going on with him in recent weeks, Nys just cannot get to his maximum. That has never been as clear as today."
Nys' last victory was a dominant performance in the Jaarmarkt Cross in Niel, where he clobbered the competition, beating young upstart Wout Van Aert by nearly a minute. However, since a sub-par performance in the Koksijde World Cup, where Nys uncharacteristically struggled in the sand, he has yet to make the podium, and his two fourth-place finishes in the Bpost races in Hamme and Hasselt seemed to come only with great struggles.
"We'll figure out what the problem is," Verstraeten said. "There will be blood tests and he must go to the osteopath. Everything must be thoroughly checked."
The two-time World Champion is still leading the Bpost series by 1:07, and is fourth in the Superprestige, three points behind leader Kevin Pauwels, so the season can still be salvaged. His World Cup ranking is beyond repair, however, as he is a distant 20th place, 138 points behind Pauwels, after quitting the opener in Valkenburg and coming 8th in Milton Keynes and 15th in Koksijde.