Nick Nuyens: 'I’m stronger than I thought'
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Monday, March 01, 2010

Nick Nuyens: 'I’m stronger than I thought'

by Ben Atkins at 1:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 

Rabobank’s classics captain Nick Nuyen’s had an unlucky day at the races in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, then abandoned along with most of the peloton in Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. His abandon on Sunday was not entirely weather though, as he was paying for his Saturday efforts. Despite the lack of a result, the feelings he had in the races this past weekend have given him confidence for the upcoming classics season

"I had not yet recovered from the Omloop", he admitted to Het Nieuwsblad. "And this: that lousy weather, I just froze. But never mind. I just try to remember the positive," adding that he knew he could ride with the best, "And that is a good feeling."

"Three flat tires, I couldn’t compete,” said Nuyens. “The first time I punctured was early in the race; no disaster. The second time was on the descent of the Taaienberg; that was the worst possible moment. But I continued riding and managed to return to the front of the peloton."

Having overcome two adversities he might have hoped to have a good end to the race, but he was to find that sometimes bad luck comes in threes. "Once again I was on the side of the road with a material breakdown,” said the Belgian, “actually at an even worse time.

"This is b***s!” he exclaimed. “Because my legs were super. So you see that even with super legs you can still miss out on the prize."

Nuyens won the Omloop Het Volk [now Het Nieuwsblad] in 2005 and the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne race in 2006, when he was a Quick Step rider. He elected to leave the Belgian superteam at the end of that year though, so as to emerge from the shadow of the team’s big star Tom Boonen.

He spent two years at Cofidis, winning the Étoile de Bessèges and Eneco Tour stage races in 2007, and finishing second in Het Volk and the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2008. He hoped to have more success with a move to Rabobank in 2009, but once again missed out on the big results.

With his strong early season form and the environment at Rabobank this season though, he hopes to have better luck. "I get a lot of confidence from team management and teammates," he said.

Nuyens’ teammate Bram Tankink also attested to the form of his team captain. "Nick was going so strongly on Saturday!” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “Without the punctures he would have won, because [race winner Juan Antonio] Flecha was never able to pull away from him."

As Tankink revealed, Nuyens was not the only Rabobank rider to suffer from punctures this weekend. Not only that, but the conditions also made things difficult to get wheels replaced.

"I punctured when I was riding in the leading group,” he said. “We rode around a neutral car with spare wheels and I wanted to make it clear that I had a puncture. But when I waved my arm I fell on my backside."

All riders will hope for slightly more favourable racing conditions in the weeks ahead.

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