After his second place in Hamme-Zogge world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) surprised by showing off a lot of knowledge about the future world championships course in Louisville, Kentucky. It turned out the Belgian rider already checked out video footage from last weekend's racing, and already has his travel plans set. That's in stark contrast with other top cyclo-cross riders who have their focus on the action at the old continent.
"I've seen the race and have been studying the course. I checked photos on the internet. If it's going to be dry there's only one man that I think about," Albert answered when Cyclingnews asked him about the racing action at the Eva Bandman Park. The attending journalists suggested Jeremy Powers as man to beat, but the current world champion waved that away.
"If the course is dry then Lars van der Haar is the big favourite," Albert stated. "If the weather turns foul then it's different."
"I plan to leave twelve days ahead, right after the last World Cup round in Hoogerheide, on Monday. The week ahead of the world championships I'll try to take part in a race over there too. I've got this title and I intend to keep it," Albert said.
For the 21 year-old Dutchman it was a surprise to hear from the current world champion he was the top favourite for the world championships title in the Elite Men category.
"Oh jee..., oh jee," he showed his surprise. "It would be great if I could do it. But sure you've got to take into account Nys and Pauwels as well. Albert too of course. Even on a dry course. He's got so much power. He points at me because of my sprint," Van der Haar said.
The Dutchman didn't plan to leave for Louisville as early as possible like Albert will. Van der Haar already travelled to the USA several times and learned from those experiences. "I travelled there three times and never suffered from the jet lag. I want to leave as late as possible, like on Thursday. It all depends on the national coach of course and if he wants to leave early then I'll follow.
"I just don't see what you can do there that you can't do at home. I'm the kind of guy who likes the time home. You know the food, the people, the area... I don't have to be there to focus on the race or to ride the course every day. At a World Cup you check out the course only once too," Van der Haar. The American riders suffer from being away from home too, Van der Haar acknowledged. "They'll be good for the world championships."
When Nys was confronted with the battle plans of Albert he was surprised. "I'm making plans for next weekend, in Hasselt and Gavere," Nys laughed. "Everybody knows that the world championships course – except for Koksijde – tends not to fit me. The courses are wide and not selective. A few months ago I wasn't even planning to take part at the world championships, so no, I'm not busy with it at the moment," Nys said.