Sickness forces Sven Nys’ withdrawal from his own GP after all
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sickness forces Sven Nys’ withdrawal from his own GP after all

by Ben Atkins at 6:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Cyclocross, Injury
Bronchitis worsened for Belgian champion; Tom Meeusen also out sick

sven nysFor the first time in its 14-year history the GP Sven Nys will go ahead today without the rider it is dedicated to, as the Belgian champion suffers with bronchitis. Nys was uncharacteristically off the pace in Sunday’s Superprestige Diegem, but announced yesterday that he fully intended to start in Baal this afternoon. Unfortunately, the 36-year-old’s condition has worsened overnight and he has been forced to make the decision to miss his own race.

“Sven woke up [this morning] sicker than he was the night before,” Nys’ team manager Jan Verstraeten explained.

“He went straight back to bed so as not to further jeopardise his participation in the World Cup Race in Rome next Sunday,” he added. “He is suffering from Bronchitis; more seriously than expected.”

The GP Sven Nys is the sixth race in the eight-race Bpost Bank Trofee [formerly the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee - ed] and, while Nys’ hopes of taking a ninth overall victory in the series ended with his abandon of the Loenhout Azencross on December 28th [in frustration over two crashes and a beer-throwing fan - ed] he fully intended to go all out to win his own race.

The Kannibaal van Baal’s absence from the race is not only a blow for his own ambitions, but also for the supporter’s club that organises it in his honour every year, and for his team, which is to unveil its new jersey today.

“This is not only a downer for Sven and his many supporters,” said Verstraeten, “but also for his sponsors. Today, for the first time, the jerseys will bear the name ‘Crelan’ instead of Landbouwkrediet [the new name of the Belgian bank after its merger with Centea - ed]; this is a setback.

“The key is that Sven recovers quickly,” he added.

Nys has won 11 of the 13 editions of the race held in his honour, with only Mario De Clercq (2002) and Lars Boom (2006) able to beat him in his home town of Baal in the past. With Nys missing this year, however - and with neither of those former victors taking part - there will certainly be a fourth name added to the race’s palmares.

That new name will not be that of Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea), whose own injury his season has also been struck by respiratory problems. The 24-year-old will also be a no-show in Baal this afternoon.

“It’s with pain in our hearts, because every race I miss is a missed opportunity to sharpen my condition,” Meeusen explained. “The Belgian championships in Mol is fast approaching. In consultation with my coach, my directeur sportif and my manager, however, I’ve decided not to push it while I’m sick.”

The Bpost Bank Trofee is currently led by World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and, after his victories in Loenhout and Diegem, he will start as hot favourite in Baal this afternoon.


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