Sven Nys rode a new Shimano XTR-level SPD prototype pedal to victory. © Cyclocross Magazine

Sven Nys rode a new Shimano XTR-level SPD prototype pedal to victory. © Cyclocross Magazine

One subtle change we did catch was that Nys was no longer riding the discontinued and coveted Shimano XTR M970 SPD pedals that so many pros still use due to their reduced shoe/pedal mud contamination issues compared to the M980 pedal. Instead, we saw a Shimano “prototype” pedal that had the lower profile of the M980 pedal but with some rough cutaways in the pedal body for gram savings and mud clearance.

Sven Nys' prototype pedal features gram-saving cutaways and a low profile. © Cyclocross Magazine

Sven Nys’ prototype pedal features gram-saving cutaways and a low profile. © Cyclocross Magazine

Nys’ pedal almost looks like the child of an M980 and M970 pedal. Upon close inspection, it appears to be a heavily-modified version of the M980 pedal, with the last few mm of the outboard body ground away, and some significant relief of material around the axle as well as around the pedal body where the axle enters. The large flat spots of the XTRA M980 pedals, the very areas that Shimano credited to a four-fold increase in surface area over the M970 pedal, have been largely whittled away. There’s now clearly less shoe-pedal contact area, which should make for less problems in the mud when things get sloppy.

This could be a preview of a revision on the XTR SPD pedal, as Shimano has alluded to us they are working on a redesign after complaints of mud problems with certain shoes, or it could mean that Nys simply ran out of M970 inventory and was forced to modify what he had available.

Nys also changed up his saddle this season, a surprising move given how many professional cyclists have famously used ten-year-old saddles on modern bikes because they get so attached to what is comfortable and works for them. He traded in his Selle Italia SLR Team saddle for a Prologo  XZero II TS Saddle with solid titanium rails—no carbon here in case the World Champ himself botches a remount. His cockpit has remained the same, however, with PRO Vibe UD carbon seatpost and handlebar and an alloy PRO PLT stem.

Sven Nys' relies on Prologo XZero titanium-railed saddles instead of Selle Italia from last year, but he reamins on  a PRO Vibe carbon post and bar. Cross Vegas 2013. © Cyclocross Magazine

Sven Nys’ relies on Prologo XZero titanium-railed saddles instead of Selle Italia from last year, but he reamins on a PRO Vibe carbon post and bar. Cross Vegas 2013. © Cyclocross Magazine

Nys remains on Shimano’s carbon C35 tubular wheels and the relatively affordable Shimano CX70 cantilever brake, the same components he used at the 2013 Worlds. However, he opted for white 33mm Dugast Typhoon tubulars to win Cross Vegas, even though many of his competitors raced file treads (including second place Jeremy Powers). Perhaps the added traction and cornering grip was an advantage, or perhaps when you’re the World Champ, tires do not make the race.

Sven Nys' winning-Colnago Prestige still features the affordable

Sven Nys’ winning-Colnago Prestige still features the affordable CX70 cantilevers but also the expensive, Nys special white Dugast 33mm Typhoons. Cross Vegas 2013. © Cyclocross Magazine

World Champion Sven Nys’ 2013 Cross Vegas-Winning Colnago Cross Prestige Cyclocross Bike Specs:

Frame: Colnago Cross Prestige, cantilever model
Fork: Colnago Cross Prestige
Headset: Colnago
Handlebars: PRO Vibe, UD Carbon
Stem: PRO PLT alloy
Brakes: Shimano CX70 cantilever brakes
Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace C35 35mm carbon tubular wheelset, 1339g
Tires: Dugast Typhoon 33mm tubulars, white
Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 11-speed Di2 STI Levers
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 11-speed Di2
Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 11-speed Di2
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 11-speed, 46/38t
Cassette: Shimano 10-speed, 11-25t,
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 11-speed
Pedals: Shimano XTR SPD prototype pedals 
Seatpost: PRO Vibe UD carbon
Saddle: Prologo XZero II TS Saddle with Solid Titanium Rails

World Champion Sven Nys’ 2013 Cross Prestige Cyclocross Bike Photo Gallery: