Thibau Nys notices his reputation within the peloton growing: "Maybe my status has changed a bit. They fight a bit more for my wheel than they used to"

Thibau Nys' step up this year didn't exactly come out of nowhere. Those who followed the Belgian talent's story closely have seen glimpses of his full potential last year already, but it's only now he's slowly establishing himself as a feared stage hunter and a rider with great promise for (hilly) classics. At recent Tour de Suisse, the 21-year-old scored his only second stage victory at the WorldTour level, but the path leading up to his triumph wasn't exactly straightforward.

In an appetizer for Suisse, the GP Kantons Aargau (1.1), the Lidl-Trek rider went down quite hard in the final sprint. Did that bother him? Not really, Nys assured IDLProCycling. "Yes, it was tough. I knew the initial intensity after the fall in Gippingen could still cause pain, and my body was still having a hard time in that first stage. But on the other hand, I also knew that things could be different the next day. You shouldn’t dwell too much on what happened the day before," he states realistically.

"It’s a new step. I see it as a situation I haven’t been in much before, so that’s nice," he refers to working for a leader like Mattias Skjelmose. "I get just as much satisfaction from helping the team as from going for my own success. All in all, it’s just fun to be on the road with such a good, motivated team."

Nys certainly enjoys racing alongside someone like Skjelmose, who ultimately finished third. "He’s one of the easiest leaders there is. You don’t have to worry about whether he’s on your wheel or not because he’s always there. He’s very dedicated to his craft."

Additionally, he shared a room with experienced Dutchman Bauke Mollema. "He’s someone with a lot of experience and a beautiful palmarès. If you can learn from riders like that, you’ll only perform better. Picking up little things from them is just fun."

Achieving immediate and continuous success in a race like Tour de Suisse wasn’t something Nys expected. "I still surprise myself quite often," he admits. "It’s nice to keep getting that confirmation that you’re doing well and to raise the bar even higher." He also notices that the peloton now looks at him differently. "Maybe my status has changed a bit. They fight a bit more for my wheel than they used to, especially in finals like in Suisse, Gippingen or Norway."

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