Legendary cyclocross rider Sven Nys discusses CX World Championship weekend
With cyclocross World Championship races this weekend, we caught up with two-time world champ Sven Nys to get an inside look at what he’s anticipating at the competition. Sven is easily one of the best cyclocross riders of all time and the current manager of Telenet-Baloise Lions. The Lions have strong contenders for both women’s and men’s elite categories and Sven’s own son, Thibau Nys, is a favorite for the juniors’ category.
Here’s what Sven had to say about this year’s CX battles for the prestigious title of world champion.
As the World Cup schedule comes to an end, how did Telenet-Baloise do this season?
SN: As a team, we had good results. We were always there in the top 10 in both the men’s and women’s elite races. Toon Aerts was there on the podium almost every weekend and he took the World Cup overall victory. We’re very proud of that result given the injuries he battled. Lucinda Brand won a lot of World Cup races in the women’s elite category. We did really well in juniors category, too, and Thibau became national champion.
When strategizing for the race, what is important about the course in Dubendorf, Switzerland?
SN: The course is completely flat and it’s not a course where technical skills will lend a big advantage. Turns will be really fast on the course, nothing like 180 degrees, and there will be some off-camber sections but nothing very technical. But of course, the weather has the last word. The weather will decide how challenging the course will be.
What are you anticipating for the women’s elite race?
SN: A big battle between Dutch women. That’s what I think will happen. It’s what we’ve seen during the season. Our rider Lucinda Brand will be very competitive, I think it’s a course that suits her well. But of course Celine del Carmen Alvarado and Annemarie Worst will be fighting for the title.
And what will you be watching for in the men’s elite race?
SN: In elite category, we have 5-6 riders who can battle for the podium. I’m curious how they are going to handle the course. Toon Aerts is almost fully recovered from crash in Namur. He’s in really good shape. Mentally he is ready to do a strong race. Toon would do well on a muddy course because he has so much power. He will be battling Mathieu Van der Poel.
As a world champion yourself, what advice do you have for your son Thibau as he enters the weekend favored to win the juniors title?
SN: Enjoy every moment. He is doing well handling the stress of being favored to win. For the moment he’s relaxed and enjoying the workouts. At his age, I was not handling the stress as well. He loves to ride and I tell him to stay relaxed on the course. Find the good lines. Don’t look to other riders. Trust yourself.
Who else will you keep an eye on this weekend at World Championships?
SN: Shirin van Anrooij. We feel that, even though she is not officially on the team yet, that she is already part of the family. It’s unbelievable to see this 17-year-old girl who can ride top 10 in the elite category. She has great skills and explosiveness. She’s the future.