In the presence of the King of Belgium, Albert II, it was home rider Niels Albert who captured the rainbow jersey at the cyclo-cross world championships. It was the second world title of his career. The six other Belgians at the start captured the following six positions, claiming a unique Belgian top-7 at the world championships.
Albert blasted away halfway through the opening lap for an long solo ride in the Koksijde dunes. A massive crowd of more than 70,000 spectators – according to the police - saw the 26-year-old cross the finish line in disbelief. Just like the winner of the 1994 cyclo-cross world championships, Paul Herygers, the 2012 winner will have a dune on the course named after him.
“I thought about that the last time I rode it, thinking that he was now mine. This feeling is unbeatable. It’s the biggest win of my career. Now my season is a success,” Albert said.
After his first-lap attack Albert was nearly caught back by World Cup winner Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) who trailed him by only four seconds at the end of the second lap.
“Then I started making small mistakes and you pay the price for that,” Pauwels said.
The gap with Albert grew up to 16 seconds and then Pauwels was joined by favorite Sven Nys (Belgium). The duo weren’t able to move a single second closer to Albert who kept pacing through the dunes of Koksijde. Halfway through the race Albert enjoyed a lead of 38 seconds and clearly Nys and Pauwels weren’t getting any closer.
On the contrary a few laps later they were caught back by the four remaining Belgians, while trailing Albert by fifty seconds.
The battle for second place was won by outsider Rob Peeters (Belgium), capturing the best result of his career. He sped away in the last lap from Pauwels and Tom Meeusen (Belgium).
“During the race I started to believe in it. During the world championships on home soil I was able to rise above myself,” Peeters said.
Another favorite, Kevin Pauwels, profited from a late mistake from Tom Meeusen to claim the last podium spot. “He went over the handlebars which was good for me. I came here for the podium and I’m satisfied with that,” World Cup winner Pauwels said.
Fellow favorites Sven Nys and defending champion Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) didn’t have an answer against the sand skills from Albert and slowly faded back, finishing seventh and thirteenth. After the race Nys stated that it might have been his last world championships race.
“It might have been the last one I rode. Maybe I’m not made for this. I pulled it off one time and it’ll remain the only one,” Nys said on Sporza.
Behind the Belgian top-7 it was Radomir Simunek who finished as best of the rest, more than one minute behind Nys, the last of the Belgians. Due to a strict appliance of the 80% rule only 24 riders were allowed to finish the race with German rider Christoph Pfingsten finishing dead last at 5:10 from winner Albert. Only one American rider managed to finish in the same lap of the winner. Ryan Trebon (USA) finished 18th, four minutes behind the winner.
“I’m not proud of that. I want us all to perform well,” Trebon said. After a great start he quickly faded outside the top 15. “Actually I could’ve taken the holeshot but didn’t want to lead it out in the sand so I would not screw things up. I aimed for a top 15 but the running pushed me over the limit,” Trebon said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Niels Albert (Belgium)||1:06:07|
|2||Rob Peeters (Belgium)||0:00:24|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Belgium)||0:00:30|
|4||Tom Meeusen (Belgium)||0:00:34|
|5||Bart Aernouts (Belgium)||0:00:35|
|6||Klaas Vantornout (Belgium)||0:01:09|
|7||Sven Nys (Belgium)||0:01:11|
|8||Radomir Simunek (Czech Republic)||0:02:15|
|9||Philipp Walsleben (Germany)||0:02:25|
|10||Simon Zahner (Switzerland)||0:02:31|
|11||Steve Chainel (France)||0:02:37|
|12||Francis Mourey (France)||0:02:48|
|13||Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)||0:03:17|
|14||Aurelien Duval (France)||0:03:41|
|15||Niels Wubben (Netherlands)|
|16||Julien Taramarcaz (Switzerland)||0:03:42|
|17||Gerben De Knegt (Netherlands)|
|18||Ryan Trebon (United States Of America)||0:04:02|
|19||Marcel Meisen (Germany)||0:04:06|
|20||José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain)|
|21||Twan Van Den Brand (Netherlands)||0:04:07|
|22||Mariusz Gil (Poland)||0:04:22|
|23||Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands)||0:04:40|
|24||Christoph Pfingsten (Germany)||0:05:10|
|-1lap||Christian Heule (Switzerland)|
|-2laps||Jeremy Powers (United States Of America)|
|-2laps||Marcel Wildhaber (Switzerland)|
|-2laps||Enrico Franzoi (Italy)|
|-2laps||John Gadret (France)|
|-2laps||Jiri Polnicky (Czech Republic)|
|-2laps||Martin Zlamalik (Czech Republic)|
|-3laps||Mitchell Huenders (Netherlands)|
|-3laps||Vladimir Kyzivat (Czech Republic)|
|-3laps||Timothy Johnson (United States Of America)|
|-3laps||Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spain)|
|-3laps||Ian Field (Great Britain)|
|-3laps||Petr Dlask (Czech Republic)|
|-3laps||Clément Bourgoin (France)|
|-3laps||Sascha Weber (Germany)|
|-3laps||Marco Ponta (Italy)|
|-3laps||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spain)|
|-3laps||James Driscoll (United States Of America)|
|-5laps||Christopher Jones (United States Of America)|
|-5laps||Mirko Tabacchi (Italy)|
|-5laps||Yu Takenouchi (Japan)|
|-5laps||Magnus Darvell (Sweden)|
|-5laps||Martin Haring (Slovakia)|
|-5laps||Gusty Bausch (Luxembourg)|
|-5laps||Christian Helmig (Luxembourg)|
|-5laps||Cristian Cominelli (Italy)|
|-6laps||Craig Richey (Canada)|
|-6laps||Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spain)|
|-6laps||Vaclav Metlicka (Slovakia)|
|-6laps||Daniel Geismayr (Austria)|
|-6laps||Keiichi Tsujiura (Japan)|
|-7laps||Karl Heinz Gollinger (Austria)|
|-7laps||Lewis Rattray (Australia)|
|-7laps||Robert Gehbauer (Austria)|
|-8laps||David Quist (Norway)|