39-year-old Belgian Sven Nys took his 50th UCI cyclo-cross World Cup victory on Sunday, claiming the Koksijde win

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Veteran Belgian cyclo-cross star Sven Nys showed the young pretenders that he’s very much still got it, with the 39-year-old taking the victory from 21-year-old Wout Van Aert. It’s Nys’s 50th UCI World Cup win in a career that has spanned nearly two decades.

Nys let out a roar of delight as he crossed the line in the classic Belgian ‘cross race on Sunday in front of an appreciative home crowd. Not only is it Nys’s landmark 50th World Cup win, but it’s also his first for three years – the half century has been a long time coming.

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Van Aert and 20-year-old Dutch world champion Mathieu van der Poel are very much seen as the future of cyclo-cross, but it was fitting for Nys to see out his final season before retirement with a historic win.

“This is how I end my career – as a champion!” Nys said via Twitter. He announced that he would retire in March 2016 earlier this season.

Nys’s win attracted praise from across the world of professional cycling, with Swiss former time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara (Trek) one of the first to congratulate him via Twitter.

Trek pro Haimar Zubeldia simply said: “Just @SvenNys!! #Legend”

Wouter Van Aert leads Sven Nys in the 2015 Koksijde World Cup Cyclo-Cross

Wouter Van Aert battled Sven Nys throughout the finale of the sandy race

Sven Nys wins the 2015 Koksijde World Cup Cyclo-Cross

Sven Nys got the better of Van Aert in the finale

Sven Nys wins the 2015 Koksijde World Cup Cyclo-Cross

… and Nys can’t believe that he’s won his 50th World Cup