This weekend sees the last cyclocross World Champions where we will see the force that is Sven Nys. After this, he will be gone. No more will we see his lines, his surges through sections where others tip toe, his aggressive seated attacks that no one saw until too late. It always amazed me that a solo rider from a team was so able to dominate for so long while other teams like Fidea, BK-CP and Sunweb could throw all their riders to the front – and still be wiped out by one man. One man and a pit-board.
I for one will miss him. Many of my favourite ‘cross memories come from races in which Nys has either ridden so wonderfully, or been contained so well, that I can’t but smile on thinking of them. They all start the same: “Remember that time when Nys…”.
I still find it odd to see him on a Trek. My brain still thinks; Nys + Colnago + Landbouwkrediet = correct. Frankly, another part of my brain still thinks Rabobank. But that part of my brain is old and muddled. It still waits for Ninja Bart to come back. Now, more like Sumo Bart.
Some memories, like the beer-throwing-spectator-educating incident make me smile as it showed another side of Sven. Anger, always there, but under strict control to be unleashed when needed – never before. That’s what his fans do for him, not just placating the unbelievers, but storing the anger for him to unleash. Other times, like the year the Belgian National Team for Worlds just wasn’t a team, remind me that he is just a man, and that man needs a team to support him. Something I can’t help but feel Nys lost out on more than other riders.
My only wish for Sven, is that he enjoys his semi-retirement. A move to team management can only be a good thing for the sport. I can’t imagine a better person to do it.
Long live the Cannibal.
Beer of the Week
Duvel – Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat ABV: 8.5%
“Duvel is a natural beer with a subtle bitterness, a refined aroma and a pronounced hop aroma. The unique brewing process, which takes about 90 days guarantees a pure style, a delicate sparkle and a pleasant sweet tasting alcohol.”
I can’t explain to you how much I love Duvel. Pour half of it –taste it, how good is that? Pour the rest, with the sediment – taste it, now it’s different, not better, not worse. Different, still wonderful. Many memories of watching Nys race and drinking after he’s raced are attached to this beer. Many memories are also cloudy.