2 February 2013 |
Sven Nys, the most youthful and elegant of cycling’s elder statesmen cemented his legacy as a Cyclo-Cross rider with an outstanding ride to claim victory in the World Championships in Louisville, USA. He rode a faultless race in snow and mud and took ruthless advantage of a mistake by compatriot Klaus Vantournaut on the last lap to seal the win by a few bike lengths.
Ian Field in action for GB
Early action centred on the Frenchman Francis Mourey who emerged from the first lap melee to claim the race lead. He was alone for a time, but was gradually brought back by a bunch of Belgians, led by Nys, Kevin Pauwels and Vantournaut. Neils Albert, the defending champion, also got into contention after a slow start, along with Lars Van Der Haar, a lone Dutchman in a sea of blue jerseys.
Pauwels’ race was effectively ended by a mechanical problem, whilst Mourey also succumbed to a combination of mechanical issues and fading energy levels. That gave Nys and Vantournaut the opportunity to break clear without making any apparent extra effort.
They went into the last two laps with a decent gap over Van der Haar, who eventually disposed of Albert, but could not make any impression on the leaders.
Vantournaut adopted his traditional front-running position, with Nys watching him like a hawk. Well into the last lap it looked like it might come down to a sprint finish, but then Vantournaut hooked up a pedal on a barrier on a slow corner. It delayed him only momentarily, but Nys was instantly aware of the problem and instinctively attacked, opening a four or five bike length lead.
Vantournaut responded, but Nys was faultless, not offering his rival the slightest hint of slack to pull back. The gap between them locked solid at just a couple of seconds, but it might as well have been minutes for all that Vantournaut could make an impression it and Nys swept into the short finish straight to claim the win. Vantournaut was duly second, with Van der Haar finishing a great day for the Dutch with a bronze.
Interestingly, speaking after the race, the 36 year old Nys said he didn’t notice Vantournaut’s last lap slip, perhaps emphasising the instinctive nature of his racing talent. He signed off his post-race interviews with a simple “And now my career is complete!”
GB’s sole rider in the race, Ian Field, finished in 29th place.
1 NYS Sven BELGIUM 01:05:35
2 VANTORNOUT Klaas BELGIUM +00:02
3 VAN DER HAAR Lars NETHERLANDS +00:25
4 WELLENS Bart BELGIUM +00:41
5 WALSLEBEN Philipp GERMANY +00:44
6 TARAMARCAZ Julien SWITZERLAND +00:44
7 SIMUNEK Radomir CZECH REPUBLIC +01:15
8 ALBERT Niels BELGIUM +01:19
9 VAN AMERONGEN Thijs NETHERLANDS +01:31
10 BINA Martin CZECH REPUBLIC +01:41
11 MOUREY Francis FRANCE +01:54
12 PAUWELS Kevin BELGIUM +02:04
13 ZAHNER Simon SWITZERLAND +02:36
14 FRANZOI Enrico ITALY +02:38
15 AERNOUTS Bart BELGIUM +02:48
16 MEISEN Marcel GERMANY +02:54
17 FLÜCKIGER Lukas SWITZERLAND +03:04
18 PEETERS Rob BELGIUM +03:16
19 JOHNSON Timothy UNITED STATES OF AMERICA +03:20
20 GRAND Arnaud SWITZERLAND +03:32
21 WILDHABER Marcel SWITZERLAND +03:38
22 PAGE Jonathan UNITED STATES OF AMERICA +03:42
23 HERNANDEZ GUTIERREZ Aitor SPAIN +03:58
24 KABUSH Geoff CANADA +04:06
25 POWERS Jeremy UNITED STATES OF AMERICA +04:16
26 FONTANA Marco Aurelio ITALY +04:27
27 DRISCOLL James UNITED STATES OF AMERICA +04:37
28 RUIZ DE LARRINAGA IBANEZ Javier SPAIN +05:15
29 FIELD Ian GREAT BRITAIN +05:38
30 PERROT Guillaume FRANCE +05:44
31 TAKENOUCHI Yu JAPAN +05:47
32 LEJEUNE Romain FRANCE +06:00
33 HELMIG Christian LUXEMBOURG -2LAP
34 RICHEY Craig CANADA -2LAP
35 SUMMERHILL Daniel UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -2LAP
36 METLICKA Vaclav SLOVAKIA -2LAP
37 GARRIGAN Mike CANADA -4LAP
38 REVELL Alexander NEW-ZEALAND -4LAP
39 KOSAKA Hikaru JAPAN -5LAP
40 RATTRAY Lewis AUSTRALIA -5LAP
41 TISZA Zoltan HUNGARY -5LAP
42 SHEPITKO Maksym UKRAINE -5LAP
43 QUIST David NORWAY -6LAP