By Brecht Decaluwé
Niels Albert pulled off a dramatic come from behind victory in the second World Cup race of the season in Tabor, Czech Republic on Sunday. It was the first World Cup victory out of two tries of the 22 year-old Belgian's career. Thanks to his second place in Kalmthout last week, Albert takes over the World Cup leader's jersey from compatriot Sven Nys who finished fourth in Tabor.
Albert was delayed by a crash at the start, and had to fight his way up to the lead group over the first six laps. After some time to rest, Albert went on the attack just as World Cup leader Sven Nys crashed.
Albert pulled out no more than a fifteen second lead on a chasing group with Czech champion Zdenek Stybar, his compatriot Martin Bina and Nys. Nevertheless, Albert held his lead to win solo with Stybar grabbing the second place before an impressive Bina, who pulled off his first ever podium result in a World Cup race. Nys was fourth ahead of the Fidea duo Bart Wellens and Kevin Pauwels.
"I'm super happy," said Albert, who was denied his first World Cup win in a tight spring against Nys in last week's World Cup. "This is the confirmation from my performance in Kalmthout." Albert, the 2008 under-23 world champion, is in his first year racing as an elite at the World Cup level.
His race in Tabor was nearly ruined after he was caught up in a crash at the start. He patiently worked his way up through the field, and regained his composure. "I started to get into the rhythm with three laps to go after encountering bad luck in the first lap. I attacked very fast and created a gap. Once I had more than ten seconds I knew the others wouldn't be coming back, not on this course," Albert said.
See Cyclingnews'full coverage of the Tabor World Cup.