Belgian Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) is arguably one of the greatest cyclocross riders of all time. In addition to his two world championship titles in the elite, his portfolio includes nine Belgian championship titles, seven overall World Cup victories, twelve overall victories in the Superprestige series and eight overall victories in the GVA Trofee.
Also this season is the Cannibals of Baal usually the measure of all things. For this reason, the focus of the Soudal Classic in Leuven was not only on the fans, but also on the camera. Like a race day in the life of one Legend looks, this photo report informs about it.
Sven Nys travels to the races in his own mobile home, the size of which should inspire some ProConti team managers to dream. The fans are already eagerly awaiting him.
//The preparation - fan contact and track exploration
In Leuven, the elite race started at 14:30 p.m. As usual, the course was inspected before the race. For Nys it started with an autograph session. But he was also surrounded on the track, but here more by the media.
//The preparation - bike check and lunch
The journey to the races usually takes place the day before or in the morning of the race day. After exploring the route, Nys retires to his camper van for lunch. While he is there eating his last meal before the race, his mechanics prepare the bikes for the competition.
As the reigning world champion, Nys has access to the best material the cyclocross market currently has to offer. Dugast gives it hand-sewn tubular tires specially designed with the rainbow stripes. The implement itself comes from Trek. Nys rides the brand new Boone. [Link] He doses his ride with Shimano's new hydraulic disc brakes.
//The preparation – final touches
After lunch and a little rest, Nys starts with the immediate race preparation. In addition to warming up on the roller, this also includes putting on your racing clothes. This happens a few minutes before he is called to the starting grid.
Nys starts the race cautiously at first, but works his way up the field lap by lap. From the fifth round he is at the top together with Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games).
He drives a tactically clever and also very controlled race up to the last lap. He only attacks in the last kilometer and is able to detach himself decisively from Pauwels. Meeusen had dropped back shortly before due to a defect. In the end, Nys wins with a safe lead and thus lives up to its role as favourite.
//After the race
Immediately after the race, the top drivers go to a tent set up behind the podium area. Here they wash themselves and give their first interviews before being called onto the stage for the ceremony.
In addition to flowers, Nys also received a handsome trophy as a tribute to his victory in Leuven. Back in the mobile home, however, he first has to sit down next to the dirty dishes, after all, work comes first...