Winner of Dwars door Vlaandern and Ronde van Vlaandern, Saxo Bank-SunGard’s Nick Nuyens has recieved a lot of questions on the Saxo Bank-SunGard Facebook fansite. Here are his answers:
What has been your biggest motivation with your training building up to this season? Also have you done much differently this year in contrast to the past few seasons?
“To win Ronde van Vlaandern has always been a dream for me and was my major season goal this year. For a Belgian rider, Ronde van Vlaandern is the biggest one-day race there is. Usually, I’m doing the opening races in Omloop and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne but this year I waited using Tirreno as my primary build-up race. Pino (team trainer) has also played a crucial role for me and we have been working closely together in order to get where I am now. At the same time, I’m now with a team where my boss has told me not to worry about results. Bjarne knows how much I wanted this and he is given me the confidence needed to believe in myself to achieve it.”
Why did you choose to join Saxo Bank-Sungard as opposed to another team?
”When I first talked to Bjarne, he told me that he would like to work with me opposed to other team leaders who have quite a different approach craving something before even signing. I felt Saxo Bank-SunGard was the natural choice because they acknowledge the fact that winning is only possible by corporation and teamwork.”
Are you considering participating in any races in Denmark?
“If I get picked for the World Championships, then yes. I’m not sure if I’m going to be there for the Tour of Denmark this year. I did the Danish tour in my no pro season where my mum and aunt were eager to get Bjarne’s autograph and they got it. And right after Tour of Flanders, they asked for another.”
What is your next big goal and what are the criteria for success in that race? (Janus) Basnov).
“My next big goal is Amstel Gold Race this Sunday. If I do the race without making mistakes, I’ll be content as I’m not expecting any certain position. If I win, that’s super but I simply want to be happy about my own performance in general.”
Who is your biggest opponent in Amstel?
“No one can do a finish like Gilbert so I have to get rid of him before the finale. But it’s all about keeping fresh and choose the right moment to open up the race or sprint. But after 250 kilometers on a hilly course, an uphill finish will only suit the rider in the best condition anyway.”
When did you realize the victory was well within reach in Flanders?
“At Bosberg – on the last climb. I knew it was possible to take the win as the race was neutralized. On the final three kilometers, I was pretty sure my chances were good. I had to close the gap to Cancellara and Chavanel and I had to fight inch by inch as they were moving incredibly fast but I kept screaming to myself: “I must and I will!” I like the game first and foremost – I’m a tactical rider.”
Are we going to see you in Paris-Roubaix sometime?
“I like to watch that race! Actually, I did it a couple of times but as I’m allergic to dust my chances of getting a good result in the race are slim. Ronde van Vlaandern and Amstel are a better fit.”
What are your interests/hobbies?
“I always enjoyed playing soccer and when I finish my cycling career I’ll probably take on recreational soccer again. I like to watch it and I have Anderlecht as my favorite team. As my disco days are well over having a wife, two kids and a third on its way, I prefer going to a nice restaurant to hang out with friends for a few hours.”
Fabian Cancellara is called Spartacus – what should we call you?
“Well, I’m more of a tactical rider and people say that I have the talent to be at the right spot at the right time so they are calling me “The sniper”. My force is my tactical skills.”
How’s life different now than before Ronde van Vlaandern?
“All of a sudden, I seem to have a lot of friends. I know that everything goes up and down. When you’re doing well, people are usually on your side which is cool but of course I’m aware that if I don’t make those results, the same people will be gone. I know where I have my true support.”
Nick Nuyens declared this final question the best one:
What do you think that makes riders grow and shine when they enter the Saxo Bank-SunGard team and makes them fade when they leave?
“There’s a certain atmosphere in this team. There’s something magical about being in this team that naturally makes you shine. Everybody’s on this team because of their passion in cycling, their loyalty and their willingness to go in new directions and still not compromising the basics – team spirit. Bjarne knows that it’s the small things that make a difference in the end and he pays attention to everything and to everyone on the team and that’s getting the best out of me. But it’s not only Bjarne. It’s the spirit of the team. Everyone’s easygoing and we’re all good at allowing each other space and passing on confidence. I’m feeling stronger, fitter and more than confident than ever and I know it’s because of the certain magical touch of the team.”
Interview Courtsey of Team Saxo Bank-Sungard