Nys, shown here at Koppenberg, will again pull on the Belgian national jersey. © Bart Hazen

On a course that was so muddy that officials had to shorten it, Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) showed that when the conditions are at their worst, he is at his best. With 2011 Champion Niels Albert, Kevin Pauwels, Sven Vanthourenhout, Tom Meeusen, Bart Aernouts, Rob Peeters and Nys all lined up for the start, the Belgian National Championships aimed to again be the most hotly contested national jersey of the year.

Almost from the gun, however, it was clear that this was to be Nys’ race. After an initial surge by Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), which shed all but Nys, Nys took control at the front and powered away. Albert clung to him as long as he could, but by the third lap, Nys had 10 seconds on the soon-to-be former champion. Albert fought hard to claw back to Nys, but in the mud Nys was in a class of his own and crossed the finish line a minute up on Albert. This is the eighth time Nys has pulled the Belgian National jersey onto his shoulders. Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) took an impressive third.

“I had come to win gold,” said Albert. “Nys was better today and that’s the story. I had started well and had a gap, but when Sven caught me, I felt he was better. And when he had a gap of 25 seconds, it was over. The best won.”

Nys woke this morning with a pain in his back, and was unsure if he would even start the race. “I really thought I would have to disappoint everyone,” he said. “A few hours ago I was in the pit and now this. Mentally, I really struggled. It was emotional, because I thought I would not participate.”

Missing from the race was Telenet-Fidea rider Bart Wellens, who suddenly collapsed yesterday with a high fever and kidney and liver failure. After apparently slipping into a coma, he is currently stabilized in intensive care and able to speak. It is clear, however, that his season has ended.

COMPLETE RESULTS

Place
Name/Team
Time
 
1Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet)1:02:20 
2Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)@:52 
3Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea)@1:17 
4Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet)@1:31 
5Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)@1:37 
6Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus)@2:13 
7Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept Cycling Team)@2:41 
8Kenneth Van Compernolle (Style & Concept Cycling Team)@3:05 
9Bart Aernouts (Rabo - Giant Offroad Team)@4:02 
10Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb Revor)@4:15 
11Joeri Adams (Telenet Fidea Cycling Team)@5:27 
12Jim Aernouts (Sunweb Revor)@6:11 
13Vincent Baestaens (Landbouwkrediet)  
14Quentin Bertholet  
15Zico Waeytens  
16Jelle Wallays