Albert still in intensive care

Niels Albert remains in the Intensive Care Unit at the university clinic in Gent, as his torn spleen...

Niels Albert remains in the Intensive Care Unit at the university clinic in Gent, as his torn spleen continues to cause the cyclo-cross rider problems. The 22-year-old crashed over the weekend while warming up for the Superprestige race in Gavere, Belgium.

Albert’s manager Christoph Roodhoort had earlier said that the young Belgian was expected to be out of the ICU on Monday. However Albert’s spleen was still bleeding. "The doctors didn't want to take any risks," Roodhoort told Sporza.be.

The cyclo-cross rider was still having a lot of pain in his chest and back, and felt poorly, Roodhoort said. "The spleen has to repair itself, and that lasts several days," he said. "It is hoped that Albert will be back on his bike in two weeks."

Niels said on Monday that he now must aim for the UCI World Cyclo-cross Championships, scheduled for January 31 - February 1 in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands. "His condition won't be that of the past few weeks, but he will have time to build it up," said Roodhoort. "I think it will work out."

It's an incredibly bad stroke of luck for the Belgian, whose breakthrough season has been characterised by strong performances against the likes of Sven Nys and Lars Boom, arguably the discipline's two best exponents. He had been leading the Superprestige series before his crash, and looked set to continue shaking up the world cup series, given his second place in Pijnacker on November 9.

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