Late to the party, but I did see the Worlds live and was extremely happy to see Sven win his second rainbow jersey!!
What a way to do it too...remember, after last year's worlds and his disappointing performance there, Nys openly questioned whether he'd even go to Louisville or other world championships anymore. It turned out to be nothing more than severe disappointment of a winner, and Nys did line up. Then there was the "put all the races on Saturday" hiccup from the organizers when the water in the nearby river was rising rapidly, which couldn't have helped the riders in their concentration either.
In the end it was an old-fashioned, hard race and Nys is still the man to beat in those even at his age. It's no coincidence that another hardman survivor type like Vantornhout managed to hold on the longest. I agree that Pauwels looked quite dangerous during the race, but he said afterwards that he didn't feel like he had the legs to actually win...I assume he was doing the things he did to increase Vantornhout's chances.
Nys adding a second world title (finally!) to his otherwise amazing career, if anyone deserves this it's him. Always professional, always classy, considerate, responsible and a great example for everyone. And, I'm pretty sure, clean.
Funny epilogue: when he crossed the line the VRT commentator Michel Wuyts asked a rhetorical question if we were looking at the greatest cyclocrosser of all times. This sparked a minor controversy in Belgium, where Roger de Vlaeminck (himself one time world champ CX, but speaking for his brother Eric, 7 time world champ) and Roland Liboton, 4 time world champ, appeared in a talk show to point out that this was a stupid question. They felt that there is no doubt that Eric De Vlaeminck was the best cyclocrosser of all time, saying that "even if Nys won another 5 world championships he still wouldn't be the best".
Roger was very emotional in his defense, saying that "Nys isn't even the best of his generation" (referring to Boom and Stybar who chose the road) and that he didn't even rate Nys among the top 3 of all time. Liboton was a little calmer and stated that De Vlaeminck was the best, with him and Nys on a shared second place.
You can see the entire interview here if you can understand it, and even if you don't you can see the fervor in De Vlaeminck's eyes.
Nys' response to these two old men? Classy as always, two tweets saying
"I really don't need to be the greatest cyclocrosser of all time. I'll leave those honors to Eric De Vlaeminck and Roland Liboton. I am happy to be nr. 3"
"Honored to be named along two great champions like them."
War. War never changes. The end of the world occurred pretty much as we had predicted: Too many humans, not enough space or resources to go around. The details are trivial and pointless, the reasons, as always, purely human ones.