Sven Nys declares himself fit for Sunday’s Belgian title defence
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Sven Nys declares himself fit for Sunday’s Belgian title defence

by Ben Atkins at 12:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, National Championships
Kannibaal recovered from bronchitis; aiming for a ninth driekleur

sven nysSven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) has declared himself fit for Sunday’s Belgian cyclocross championships in Mol, near Antwerp, having recovered from the bronchitis that he had suffered from since just after Christmas. The Kannibaal van Baal was unable to ride his own New Year’s Day race, the GP Sven Nys - which is the sixth race in the Bpost Bank Trofee - and struggled to 20th place in last weekend’s World Cup race in Rome, Italy, which effectively ended his overall hopes in both competitions.

After spending the week in Mallorca, however, Nys is prepared to defend his black, yellow and red jersey, and aim at a ninth title.

"I started Sunday in Mol, albeit it a little bit low,” Nys announced on his website. "I hope it will go a lot better than in Rome. Since last Sunday, I felt a little better every day. I’m not certain I’m in great shape, because I’ve been off my rhythm, and that's bad for any sportsman. I’m starting because I hope I have a chance to win the title.

“I’ll fly back from Mallorca on Saturday, which meansI won’t be able to ride the course, but I never do in the days beforehand,” Nys explained. “There’s time to do it on Sunday during the warm up. I've waited so long for a final decision whether not start because I wanted to know how much progress I would make last week.

“Apparently I’m okay, because I'm going to defend my title. "

Should Nys be victorious on Sunday it would be a ninth title for the king of cyclocross, but - unlike almost every race on the calendar - he is not the outright record holder. Roland Liboton took an incredible ten Belgian titles in succession between 1980 and 1989 - to go with his four World titles - and Nys will have to win in both of his final two seasons to equal this.

With Nys out of sorts, the overwhelming favourite for the title is World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) - the 2011 Belgian champion - who leads both the World Cup and Bpost Bank classifications. Albert will doubtless meet strong opposition from Rome winner Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), but Nys himself has tipped Pauwels teammate Klaas Vantornout via his Twitter feed.

“My favourite for the ‘BK’, Klaas,” he wrote. “As Klaas he can go well on all courses and he is good, although he’s had a very long season.”

Meanwhile, in the women’s race, three-time winner Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) is the hot favourite to take a fourth straight title.


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