Former cyclo-cross world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) made his comeback during the first round of the Superprestige Series in Ruddervoorde, Belgium, after being sidelined with a knee injury early in the cyclo-cross season. Albert’s comeback came earlier than predicted and the rider was pleased with his seventh place result, given the circumstances.
Albert told Cyclingnews before the race he would be pleased with a top 10 result. That would offer him enough points to stay in contention for the overall classification of the Superprestige Series.
“I can be satisfied with today’s performance. Seventh was the best possible result for me,” Albert said. “More wasn’t possible today. Form wise, I wasn’t good enough yet to ride in the desired third or fourth place during the last lap. Then you just have to undergo the race action.”
Albert rode most of the race in a group that battled for third place, but faded over the closing laps. He admitted the Ruddervoorde course doesn’t play into the hands of a rider returning from injury.
“It’s a hard race to start with. You lack rhythm and competition. The course here in Ruddervoorde was fast and technical; it was a real Stybar course,” he said. “It’s a hard course to deal with. It’s always turning fast and very hard to keep your position. During the next few weeks I have to build up my form and then all will be well.
“We’ll see what the season brings. Right now I’m just busy with my form and not really with the outcome of races,” Albert added.
Albert will look to build on Sunday’s performance over the next week when the cyclo-cross peloton heads to Aigle, Switzerland, for the first UCI World Cup round of the season.