Cyclocross

Nys, on poor condition: ‘I don’t know what’s wrong’

After a poor performance at the Essen Bpost Bank Trofee, Sven Nys said he doesn't know what is wrong with his condition, which has slipped dramatically

After a disappointing performance Saturday at the Essen stop of the Bpost Bank Trofee series, Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Crelan AA Drink) said he doesn’t know what is wrong with his condition, which has slipped dramatically over the past six weeks.

Nya finished 13th on Saturday, almost three minutes behind winner Wout van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace), losing his lead in the BPost Bank Trofee series classification.

“The series classiciation, I can forget it,” Nys told Sporza. “I do not know what’s wrong. For me this is a big question mark.”

Nys announced, via Twitter, that he would not race at Sunday’s Namur World Cup event.

The Essen race was a return to competition for the 38-year-old Nys, who took two weeks off, after finishing fourth at the December 6 Bpost Bank event in Hasselt, instead heading to Spain for a training camp in Mallorca.

Nys started the season out well, with wins at CrossVegas, Soudal GP Neerpelt, and the Bpost Bank Trofee in Ronse — all in September and early October.

His last win came on November 11, at Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel. He twice finished eighth in November, including at the World Cup event at Milton Keynes in Great Britain.

Prior to the start of the Essen race, the 2013 world champion said he felt back to his former self, however he fell off the pace early, and was never a factor.

“Despite two weeks away, it’s just not right,” Nys said. “At the moment I am riding at 50 percent of my potential. I can ride an hour at tempo, but as soon as I want to accelerate, I feel that I don’t  have the strength. I just do not ride at my level.

“I have to draw conclusions, and my ambition is scaling back. I have to draw a line through this [series classification] ranking. It’s over. I do not know what to do now. Rest? I do not know.”

Nys told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that he would likely skip all of the upcoming Christmas-week races, including the New Year’s Day race in his hometown of Baal, named after him, focusing instead on the Belgian national championships, held January 11 in Erpe-Mere, and the world championships, held in Tabor, Czech Republic, on February 1.

“I think it is better for a while to switch completely and change my frame of mind. Namur is tomorrow, which I certainly will not do, and Heusden-Zolder will come too soon after. I can better focus on the championships early next year, the Belgian championships and the world championships in Tabor early February. Whether I start in my own ’cross race, in Baal, on New Year’s Day, I will decide later.”