Sven Nys: “That flat tyre cost me the Koppenbergcross”
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sven Nys: “That flat tyre cost me the Koppenbergcross”

by Ben Atkins at 12:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
Late puncture denies “Mr Koppenberg” the chance to take an incredible ninth victory

sven nysSven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) was dethroned as the undisputed king of the Koppenbergcross as he was forced to watch Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) ride away with less than three laps to go. It was not just the powerful form of the younger rider that allowed him to escape from “Mr Koppenberg” though, as an unlucky puncture struck Nys just as he left the pits with a replacement bike.

"As I rode out of the pits my rear tyre was already flat,” Nys explained, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. “Whether it was already punctured when I made the switch, or whether I hit something, I don’t dare say, but I lost the race there.”

Having exited the pits there was nothing the eight-time Koppenbergcross winner could do but ride on to the second pit, further around the lap. By the time he managed to ride around with his flat rear tyre, Pauwels was away and heading towards the first non-Nys victory on the famous course since his former teammate Bart Wellens in 2003.

The incident is yet another pit-based disaster for the Kannibaal of cyclocross; he was accidentally thrown to the ground by his mechanic during a bike change in last December’s Azencross, while in the Jaarmaarktcross in mid-November he came in for a replacement bike to find nobody waiting for him.

Luckily, at the Jaarmaarktcross, he was too far ahead for the incident to cost him anything – and the then Belgian champion standing alone waiting became one of the “youtube” moments of the season – but the Azencross fall cost him the race; just as the puncture did on the Koppenberg today.

“I had the feeling that I was able to win the race,” he continued. “After that breakdown I had lost contact and I could no longer catch up with the man in form. I continued to hang out there, and Pauwels is certainly the deserved winner. Nevertheless I dare say that without that flat tire I would have gone into the final lap with Pauwels. Then I would have tried to drop him on the last climb.

“Whether that would have succeeded, we will never know."


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