Sven Nys angry after being taken out by Niels Albert’s teammate
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Sven Nys angry after being taken out by Niels Albert’s teammate

by Ben Atkins at 9:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross

Yesterday’s cyclocross race at Vorselaar, Belgium was the final round of the season-long Superprestige series. Tied on 95 points apiece going into the race were new World champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) and former rainbow jersey Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)  This made the event a one-off "winner take all" encounter for the two champions. Caught in the crossfire of this battle was nine-time series winner Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet), who was brought down on the penultimate lap by Albert’s teammate Radomir Simunek.

With a little under a lap and a half remaining in the race, Nys was following Albert and Simunek, with Stybar a few seconds behind having changed his bike on the lap before. In an incident that the Belgian champion later described to Het Nieuwsblad as “scandalous”, Albert accelerated away and Simunek appeared to block Nys against the barriers as he tried to pass. Then, going into a tight corner the Czech’s front wheel slid away from him, taking him down and taking out the helpless Nys.

"He had closed the door before,” said Nys, “and then he tried to block me again to allow [Niels] Albert to get away.

“He took too many risks, and went totally wrong in the corner,” the Kannibaal continued. “Pfff, this is really unsporting. In the last lap, he also blocked me a few times and fought too aggressively for third place. I suspect he was willing to do anything to help Albert to win the final victory. If it should happen in such a way, then perhaps it’s only right that he ultimately failed.”

The incident happened at the point in the race where Nys often puts in his surge for victory, and prevented the Belgian from doing so. Albert instead escaped, but was ultimately caught and passed by Stybar. Nys appeared to forgive Simunek his mistake, patting him on the back as he walked back to pick up his bike, but the gesture was one of sarcasm as he revealed afterwards.

"Was I really congratulating him?  No,” said Nys. “He took the victory from me and injured my knee. He wanted to apologize, but I just wouldn’t hear of it."

Simunek, who finished the race in third ahead of Nys, saw nothing wrong with what had happened, seeing it simply as a racing incident. "That last lap I did nothing wrong,” he said. “I was just defending my third place. Can I not do that?"

Just one month ago Niels Albert was World champion and held the lead in the both World Cup and Superprestige series; Zdenek Stybar has now ridden away with all three prizes.


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