Klaas Vantornout can’t forget being chased down by Sven Nys in last year’s World Championships
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Klaas Vantornout can’t forget being chased down by Sven Nys in last year’s World Championships

by Ben Atkins at 11:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, World Championships
Cooperation between Belgian stars getting more and more unlikely in St-Wendel

sven nysWith the World Cyclocross Championships in St-Wendel, Germany a little more than a week away, the Belgian team is already beginning to take shots at one another. Just like the Italian road team in the days before they were pulled into line by the late, great Franco Ballerini, the presence of so many big stars in the same jersey makes teamwork unlikely, to say the least.

The major difference between the Belgian cyclocross team and the Italian road team though, is that the Italians had to battle against several other strong nations; the one single rider who is likely to rob the Belgians of a cyclocross rainbow jersey is Czech reigning champion Zdenek Stybar.

One of the seven-man team, Sunweb-Revor’s Klaas Vantournout won the silver medal behind Stybar in Tabor, Czech Republic. One of the big factors that prevented that medal being gold though, he says, was the actions of one of his compatriots in the early part of the race.

“I can’t forget that [Sven] Nys pulled me back,” Vantournout told Het Laatste Nieuws, “with Stybar on his wheel.”

Immediately after the race, Vantornout was caught up the euphoria of a Worlds medal, but after eh saw the TV pictures of the race he began to resent his countryman.

"When I was silent,” he explained, “it was mostly because I was pleased with my silver medal, but I had to swallow when I saw the images. Why did he not make Stybar ride for himself?"

"If I had done the same thing, I certainly would have been summoned to appear before the team,” he added, “But anyway, I‘ve drawn my own conclusions and will ‘use my common sense’ in Sankt Wendel."

Vantornout’s use of the words ‘common sense’ refer to a statement made by Nys after the World Cup race in Pontchâteau last week. The World number one was answering a question about whether or not the Belgians would work together in St-Wendel; he alluded to the fact that the while the Belgians may not work together, they probably wouldn’t race against each other.

From Vantornout’s statements though, one can deduce that perhaps one of them might.

From Nys’s perspective, he did nothing wrong, as he told Sporza

"I think I was well within my rights, said Nys. “I remember riding up to Klaas; why not? Do I need to sacrifice my chances of the World Championships for Vantornout in the second lap? No, anyway, I was pleased with that action and don’t feel bad about it.

"It would be different if Niels [Albert] or I had ridden ahead,” he explained. “Then Stybar would have to react himself and Vantornout could play the waiting game. If Vantornout is in front, Stybar can play poker. We must not paralyse the race."

With no love lost between Nys and Vantornout, and most of the rest of the Belgians almost certainly to be racing for themselves on Sunday week, we should be in for a very interesting race indeed.


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