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World champion Niels Albert leads the group
Albert switches focus to UCI 'Cross World Championships
After clinching yet another cyclo-cross victory in the World Cup round of Roubaix, veteran Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) warned his rivals that they shouldn't try to walk a different path when trying to beat him later this season. The 34 year-old Belgian champion is dominating the big races this season and already grabbed his tenth win of the season on the vélodrome in Roubaix.
The next few weeks there are some races on the program which are not part of any series and Nys sensed that some of his rivals were planning to skip some of these races in order to become fresher than himself.
"Often I'm told that I can't deal with the pressure at the world championships. You can also look at it as me being the one who's respecting the contracts throughout the season," Nys stated.
Nys did it before and he did it again in Roubaix: warning the younger generation that they kill their sport by neglecting the smaller races. "The strength of these small races is that they feature the big names in a real battle. That's why so many people come to these races but they'll disappear if they're not respected. It's no longer my concern but it is that from the younger riders. Before the season they're all signing contracts for all races. They feature on the race posters. When you're getting tired because of all the races it's tempting to skip some of these. To me, if you sign a contract with an organizer it's a matter of respect that you take part in the race. It's important that everybody is riding the same program. Moi, je roule," Nys told French journalists in Roubaix that he's respecting all his contracts.
"It's a fact that your form goes backwards by the end of the season. The problem for me is that not everybody arrives at that race with the same program. It's not always intended, like Niels Albert who was confronted with an injury last year. Due to those circumstances he showed up at the world championships with more energy. If everybody would ride the same program normally it would benefit me."
World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) won his title after suffering from a hand injury halfway the season, allowing him to sit out a lot of races. Albert didn't plan to skip any races this season though. "You miss out on a lot of start money too. Scratching races from my program is not an option. I will not do that. I will give the best of myself wherever I race," Albert said, adding that skipping races would be like admitting he's not strong enough.
Despite the domination of Nys this season Albert is still leading in the World Cup standings by fifteen points over Nys. The demoralized 26 year-old already seemed to have thrown the towel though after receiving a beating week after week. "There's not a lot to do against Sven right now. He's more explosive than me but that's not a big difference. Today he gained five metres and from there I let it go. I have to be content with my results. I'm no longer looking at any of the classifications. If you win a lot then you're automatically moving to the top and I'm not winning right now."
"I've been working hard in Spain last week and that might help during the second part of the season. We're working specifically towards the championships. What more can I do," Albert asked. Searching for a way to beat Nys is clearly on Albert his mind although he realized that maybe Nys would bring the solution himself. "Like Sven is right now, will it stay like that?"