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Cyclocross

2014 International Cyclocross Man of the Year: Sven Nys

With a 13th Superprestige title in his pocket, Sven Nys handily won the Velo magazine 2014 international Cyclocross Man of the Year award

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Velo magazine, the annual awards issue.

He’s like clockwork.

Another season of cyclocross, another season in which Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) flaunted the skills that make him the greatest cyclocrosser alive.

The Belgian has a finely tuned motor and impeccable skills. He has patience, power, and tactical brilliance. He is the undisputed King of ’Cross.

In his 2013-2014 campaign, he continued with his consistent style, focusing on series titles rather than attempting to peak for significant, individual races. He took an incredible 13th Superprestige title (and, after four wins, now claims 60 race wins within the series), a ninth bPost Bank Trophy series title (taking five wins), and won Belgian worlds — also known as the Belgian national championship — for a ninth time. He had a number of other wins at individual races, including an early season victory in the desert heat at CrossVegas.

His decision to move on from longtime bike sponsor Colnago at the end of 2013, and join the ranks of Trek Factory Racing, didn’t see him miss a beat.

Despite his presence at the front of nearly every race on the calendar, Nys has failed to dominate the world championships in the same way; he’s claimed only two titles during his illustrious career, in 2005 in Sankt Wendel, Germany, and 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.

When it came time to lay it all down for the rainbow stripes in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, for the 2014 world title, he failed to win yet again. This time, however, he didn’t so much lose the race, as much as he was outgunned by an incredibly skilled and powerful foe, Zdenek Stybar, who was training for the upcoming road season and put in an enthralling performance to out-duel the Belgian king, and take a third world title.

Though his outright dominance of the sport has come to an end — the pint-sized Dutch phenom Lars van der Haar took the World Cup title — there isn’t another racer in ’cross who can be relied upon to have a great performance like Nys can. If you’re a betting man, put your money on Nys. It’s something that could be said of his past 10 seasons.