Nuyens ready for Flanders despite spring setbacks
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Friday, April 2, 2010

Nuyens ready for Flanders despite spring setbacks

by Bjorn Haake at 1:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Nick Nuyens will be the leader of the Rabobank team, together with Sebastian Langeveld, in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. His preparation was less than optimal, with untimely punctures, sickness and crash injuries preventing him from getting morale-boosting results in the spring.

This is all the more frustrating as the 2008 Ronde van Vlaanderen runner-up is in good shape. "I have had good legs already all season long," he said on Rabobank's website.

The experienced Belgians was making important last minute preparations 48 hours ahead of the most important Belgian classic. "I am just stretched out in an armchair right now. Of course I want to start the race as fresh as possible." He also is recovering from injuries sustained in a crash last weekend. "Every day it goes better. Yesterday was a bit of a letdown, but the day before that I trained well again." Nuyens knows that the legs aren't his problem. "I am still having a bit of pain in my sternum. I was treated all week by the osteopath."

Nuyens realizes that the lack of good preparation in a tough race of that distance can put him out of contention. "Of course this is not how I hoped to prepare for it. The first time that I had good legs after being sick, I crashed three times in the E3 Prijs. There are better preparations imaginable, but that is what I have now."

Nuyens still draws optimism from his good legs. "The team and the sports directors see it the same way, they still trust me. If I just say I'll ride for the team, that is too negative of an outlook. If the situation asks for it I will of course help the team, but I also have my experience in these kinds of races."

Nuyens said the material is not to blame for the mishaps and it is mostly the same as last year, except for one thing. "We do ride wider tires. They were developed by Vittoria with the team management and some racers."

No enjoying the scenery

The Belgian can also not be surprised by the route changes. "Together with the team, I checked out the last 110km of the race. I think this will be toughest Ronde yet, and there will be quite a few victims. New and really hard is the part after the Eikenberg. Over eight kilometers, you have four kilometers of cobbles, followed by the Molenberg. Guess I won't be enjoying the scenery there!"

Another benefit that Nuyens sees is that Rabobank has less pressure, after Oscar Freire already won Milano-Sanremo. "It's just less stressful that way and we have a great atmosphere in the team. We may not have a superman like Tom Boonen or Fabian Cancellara, but that is true for most teams. And not many teams have such a strong collective as we do. That is our strength."

With a two hour training behind a car, Nuyens feels well and ready for Sunday. "Now we go to the hotel together with the team, which will build even more team spirit." He hopes that not having good results may be a benefit on race day. "Hopefully, I will get a bit more lee-way."


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