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Cyclingnews 2008 Reader Poll Results

Best male Cyclo-cross rider

Nys on top, but Boom is closing in

By Laura Weislo

Still in the World Cup lead, but the broken zipper on the jersey is a little symbolic of Sven Nys' vulnerability.
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There has been just one year when Sven Nys was not voted best male 'cross racer, way back in 2003, and once again the Eddy Merckx of cyclo-cross has taken the top honours in this year's reader poll. However, just as Nys has shown that he can be beaten on the mud and sand of the 'cross circuit, his margin of victory in our poll is his lowest in the history of our poll.

Nys still won handily with 48.68% of the votes, but it was a mere shadow of last year's crushing 68%. The reason? World Champion Lars Boom took home 17.1% - more than any second place finisher has gotten in our poll since Nys himself was narrowly defeated by Bart Wellens in '03.

The poll numbers are demonstrative of the chinks in Nys' armour which have made themselves evident over the course of this season. Sure, he's still leading all of the classifications that matter: the World Cup, the UCI rankings, the Superprestige and the GvA Trophy, but this year he's only taken 10 wins, far fewer than his cannibalistic tendencies usually provide. This time last year, Nys had 15 wins to his name. However, his victories this season include two World Cups (Kalmthout and Igorre), three Superprestige race and two GvA Trophies.

Boom has only three wins so far this season, but last year's World Championship title earned the Dutchman 17% of your votes. The soon to be 24-year-old [December 30th, happy birthday Lars!] made his victories count by winning two World Cups (Pijnacker and Nommay) and one GvA Trophy race. In between, he came down with a serious infection which knocked him out of competition for two weeks.

Another youngster who won liberally before succumbing to the hard knocks of 'cross is Niels Albert, third place in our poll with 5.72% of the votes. Albert came out swinging early, taking wins in Erpe-Mere, Zonhoven, and Ardooie before winning the World Cup in Tabor and the Superprestige race in Veghel-Eerde. But two weeks later he was in the hospital after a crash in Gavere during the warm-up left him in Intensive Care with a ruptured spleen.

Bart Wellens claimed fourth in the poll with just 20 votes over the top American, Jonathan Page. US champion Ryan Trebon slipped into sixth ahead of the Cannondale duo Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson. Three-time World Champion Erwin Vercecken, Radomir Simunek and Zdenek Stybar rounded out the poll.

Results

                                                                                 Votes  %age
1 Sven Nys                                                                        5207  48.68%
2 Lars Boom                                                                       1829  17.10
3 Niels Albert                                                                     612  5.72
4 Bart Wellens                                                                     573  5.36
5 Jonathan Page                                                                    553  5.17
6 Ryan Trebon                                                                      525  4.91
7 Jeremy Powers                                                                    461  4.31
8 Timothy Johnson                                                                  407  3.81
9 Erwin Vervecken                                                                  316  2.95
10 Radomir Simunek                                                                 108  1.01
11 Zdenek Stybar                                                                   105  0.98
                                                                          Total: 10696