Posts Tagged ‘sven nys’

When Promo Films Go Bad

November 6, 2013

Words: Ian Cleverly

You may, like us, be considering a visit to Hoogerheide for the cyclo-cross Worlds in February. In which case, I warn you now, probably best not to watch the official promo film.

Mention of the Spanish Inquisition early on over a stirring slice of Prokofiev, by a voiceover artist clearly resting between Hollywood horror gigs, sets the tone. It goes rapidly downhill from there.

Petrified priests, retreating Spaniards, cowering Germans – all crop up in this incredible four minutes of filmic nonsense. You have to feel sympathy for Adri van der Poel and Marianne Vos, who were obviously conned into making guest appearances. Bet they’re regretting it now.

By the time dreadful, hairy, flute-wielding Dutch rockers Focus are assaulting your ears to images of local industry and assurances that the “living is easy” in the vicinity of the Wall of Brabant, you may well have vouched never to visit Hoogerheide or its environs. Entirely reasonable.

The Spanish Inquisition is too good for the makers of this film. Come to think of it, never mind Truth and Reconciliation committees on drug use. Brian Cookson should be asking questions about this nonsense. If UCI money was involved in its making, demand a refund.

Complete Control

February 8, 2012


Words: Ian Cleverly Photos: Daniel Sharp

There was a point, early on in last weekend’s ‘cross race, when the penny dropped. Picking myself up for the second time in quick succession, my team-mate Graham, held up yet again by another’s impetuous behaviour and poor bike handling, issued the following advice: “Calm down!”

It was aimed at me. He was quite correct. A bad start in a ‘cross race is not the end of the world, especially when there is snow on the ground and mistakes to be made. Allow others to make the mistakes while staying loose, focussed and (most importantly) upright. Just because somebody shoves it up the inside on a hairpin bend, doesn’t mean to say you have to shut the door, causing you both to hit the deck. And losing one place approaching a technical section should not raise the hackles unduly. Keep calm, carry on and wait your chance – as opposed to getting riled, tightening up and crashing. Again.

Had I seen the previous day’s excellent GVA Trofee race in Lille (thanks to Dave Haygarth for pointing it out) perhaps the first lap mayhem would have been avoided. The closing stages, with eight men – including Pauwels, Nys, Albert and Stybar – still in contention for the win are some of the finest racing I have seen all season. It certainly knocks the procession of the World Championships at Koksijde into touch.

The winner was Tom Meeusen and the winning move was genius. Nys takes the inside line approaching the right-hander into the woods, pushing Meeusen wide and off his line, with Stybar leading. Tom simply dismounts immediately, sprints round the trees and has the momentum to emerge from the section in the lead, and the power to take the sprint from the front.

It is an object lesson in thinking on your feet – literally, in this instance. The vastly experienced Nys played his ace; the youngster reacted in a split second and got the upper hand. They call him The Iceman, apparently, because of his ability on frozen courses. He’s certainly a cool customer, and that quick thinking and calm under pressure are attributes we could all make use of.

I met Meeusen a few years back at a Fidea team training day in Belgium. Reigning world champion at the time, Erwin Vervecken, pointed out the teenager to me as being one to watch in the future, so I have always looked out for him. Truth is, he blows hot and cold, but when he’s good – like in Lille – he’s very, very good.

Should you have an hour and a half to spare, settle down and watch the whole race. It’s worth it. If not, forward to 1hour 20mins and watch from there. You might learn something. I did.