|Nys: The Number One|
Light brown muddy water. A muddy hill to climb by feet and hands. A muddy descent to fly on. Not a beautiful scenary today in Zolder but a very beautiful race where Sven Nys ruled, Niels Albert freaked out and Zdnek Stybar showed a solid condition. Kevin Pauwels felt the pressure maybe after his superbe victory in Namur. But the most shining stars in today cyclocross have been two of the youngest guys: Lars Van der Haar and Tom Meeusen. They did great and will do better soon.
It was 8 degrees and rainy. A fast route commentators said, so a good one for Kevin Pauwels. A good one also for Van der Haar. A fast start indead: Van der Haar and Vantornout once again leading the race, then Stybar and Meeusen. The fast racing on road and path was stopped by the sudden rising of the muddy hill: what a climb! and what a descent! steep, viscid, tricky. And there Vantornout crashed and in my opinion that affected Pauwels results. At that moment he was behinde, still in the midle of the peloton while Sven Nys, cautiously started, was already in 5th position.
In a fluid situation where the head of the race was changing soon, Albert and Meeusen attacked together and got a gap. No time and a back rider fell: disaster! his bike remained in the midle of the track and many crashed while many others had to slow down, Pauwels included. The front group was: Albert, Meeusen, Nys, Simunek, Van der Haar and Aernouts. More or less in that order they crossed the line with seven laps to go. Pauwels and Stybar were leading the chasing group.
Very soon Albert and Nys dropped the company. Behinde Pauwels fell climbing the monster hill and Simunek passed him, then there were Meeusen, Stybar and Van der Haar. The fight already was for the 3th place: Pauwels or Stybar? or Van der Haar? Tom Meeusen was leading the chase now but things were far to be settled. It was: Albert and Nys, a big, still increasing gap and then Stybar, Van der Haar, Meeusen, Pauwels. For me it was exciting to see how Van der Haar managed to stay there, to come back every time he got dropped and even tryed to gain positions every time he can. 'Obvious' you'll say, 'what should he do?' Yes but you must have the guts to do it, the strength, the will. I really like the young Dutch's determination!
And then Nys begane to play mouse and cat with Albert: attacking, waiting, attacking again, changing the route and finally shouting down in that bloody descent like only a mad or a brave can. "I did it risky but for me it was better like that" he said after the race "You must have a good control on the bike" he admitted. Well he has a damned good control on his bike and a damned cool blood. Not so Albert who evidently freaked out: dropped he looked resigned, almost relieved that the duel was over. Dueling with Sven Nys must be thrilling but... ehm... it can affect you nervous system!
Behinde it was: Pauwels, Stybar, Sinumek, Van der Haar, Peeters, Meeusen and Aernouts. And it was fast. Incredible fast. Too fast. Pauwels fell again and lost some position. Falling in such a race is a shock for your body and you have no time to recover. The camera was just and only showing the triumphal ride of Nys: behinde they could be all died. He crossed the line, rose two arms and two one finger from each hand, then only one arm and one finger: a number one.