Four victories in three weeks for Thibau Nys and an expanding range: “I didn’t expect that”

Four victories in three weeks for Thibau Nys and an expanding range: “I didn’t expect that”
Four victories in three weeks for Thibau Nys and an expanding range: “I didn’t expect that”

You didn’t have to be a soothsayer to predict the progress of Thibau Nys this season. But rereading the article that we offered you three weeks ago on the eve of the Baal rider’s return to the road, we realize that the kid from the Lidl-Trek still managed to surprise us.

The one who was still described as a “puncher” is now much more than that. Authoritarian winner of the Tour of Hungary, which offered two finishes at the summit, after having imposed himself as an adventurer in a mountain stage of the Tour de Romandie, Thibau even managed to impress… Sven, his father known for being a double world champion of cyclo-cross.

“I did not expect that”, let out father and son in unison, but several hundred kilometers apart from each other, after Thibau’s victory in the general classification of the Tour of Hungary. The young rider told our colleagues at Nieuwsblad while his father told Laatste Nieuws, who followed the last stage in the living room of the nine-time winner of the Belgian cyclo-cross championship.

“We had hoped to see him win a stage but the general classification was something else”, confides Sven. “Especially when we see how much pressure he was under on this last stage. This surprises me much more than his stage victories. Hat”savors the dad.

”Every day he pushes his limits and we don’t yet know how far he can go. His progress tends to make us believe that he can become a runner capable of excelling on difficult climbs. But we must avoid falling into euphoria. We know that competing in a grand tour will be necessary for his development but it is good that he is not at the Giro currently, even if it was an option.

It remains to be seen whether his American team will send him to the Vuelta at the end of the season. Which could call into question his winter cyclo-cross program. It must be said that the kid is driven by too great a desire to do well and that he does not consider for a second turning his back on the plowed. “It’s not easy to channel him, he can’t stand defeat”, concedes Sven. “He was disappointed after Frankfurt (where he took 13th place after being locked in the sprint, Editor’s note). His coach must slow him down more than motivate him.”

Belgian Thibau Nys wins the Tour of Hungary, Wout Poels wins the last stage

”I didn’t come to Hungary for the final ranking”

The main person concerned concedes that he exceeded his own expectations in Hungary. “I didn’t come to win the final ranking. I didn’t think I could do it.” However, Thibau Nys’ first feeling upon arriving at the last stage was… disappointment. “I wanted to win a third stage in a row. I had great feelings but I was too focused on the final ranking.”

A disappointment quickly passed when it was time to take stock of his week. “I wasn’t really surprised this Saturday, I knew I was capable of beating the best at this finish.” Nys won this victory with the yellow jersey at the top of a 1.4km climb at 6%. A punchy finish perfect for his qualities as an explosive runner. This is also the step he had checked off before the start of the week. The way he dominated Marc Hirschi, in a long sprint, is reminiscent of his victory at the Canton of Aargau GP, in June 2023, against the same Hirschi.

Where he really surprised everyone, starting with his dad Sven, was the day before, when he won the third stage at the top of a 15 kilometer pass at 5%, the last 3 kilometers of which were at more than 8% average slope. Especially since a climber of the quality of Emmanuel Buchmann had set things on fire by attacking at the steepest point of the slope.

Well helped by his teammate Matthias Vacek, Nys limited the damage before coming back like a cannonball in the last 300 meters to win and take control of the general classification ahead of seasoned climbers like Wout Poels, Yannis Voisard and Harm Vanhoucke. And confirm their final victory two days later while sending a team like UAE Team Emirates home empty-handed. A rather rare occurrence this season…

Unfortunately for the Emirati team, it will not be enough to empty the piggy bank to afford the talents of the Belgian nugget since Thibau Nys is under contract with Lidl-Trek until 2026. The American team and Nys’ personal trainer , Paul Van den Bosch, hold here a real diamond in the rough whose limits we do not yet know.

The next Tour de Suisse, where the puncher-climber-sprinter-adventurer will seek his second World Tour victory after the one won at the Tour de Romandie, will perhaps continue to broaden the rider’s horizons. Or maybe not: “Who would have said after the Koppenberg cross (last November 1, Editor’s note) that I would no longer win the slightest cyclo-cross this winter? This final victory in Hungary will perhaps be the last of my season”tempers the main interested party.

But something tells us that he drew the conclusions from his mid-flight explosion last winter, when he went straight after his road season. This time, Nys arrived rested and well prepared. We won’t stop him anytime soon.

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