Defending champion Niels Albert's bid to retain his Belgian national cyclo-cross championship title in Hooglede-Gits has hit a potential stumbling block after he confirmed that he is suffering from a heavy cold ahead of next weekend's event.
Albert won last year's title with victory in Antwerp, stepping up on podium finishes in 2008 and 2009. But after winning last week in Loenhout, he pulled out of an event in Leuven on December 30. The 25-year-old then visited the doctor on Monday and has been diagnosed with mild pneumonia.
"On Monday, the doctor told me that I was suffering from a viral infection," Albert said. "It's actually the beginning of pneumonia, as I have mucus in my lungs and my sinuses are inflamed. This is probably the result of too little rest during the Christmas period and I need to rest this week. Hopefully I can get better and I will start on Sunday."