Niels Albert showed he is on form for next week's Belgian national cyclo-cross championships by winning the fourth and final round of the Fidea Cyclocross Classics in Tervuren, Belgium on Sunday.
After a slow start on the demanding muddy course, the 24-year-old Belgian bridged up to early leader Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) halfway through the race and then quickly left him behind. Belgian champion Nys tried to put the pressure on the leader but a small crash on the greasy course ended his chances of a comeback and Albert grabbed his fifth victory of the season.
“This one is unexpected. With my eye on the championships I wanted to take it easy but my legs started feeling good and I decided to go full gas anyway,” Albert told Belgian television channel VT4.
Nys was disappointed to crash and lose any chance of getting across to Albert, now his biggest rival for the Belgian national champion's jersey.
“During the first few laps I was struggling but then the engine suddenly started running," he explained. "I was hampered by crashes in front of my nose but once I had an open field in front of me I believed in my chances. My chances ended when I crashed. I would've loved to bridge up to him but I couldn't gain ground on him."
Telenet-Fidea's Tom Meeusen rounded out the podium. The young Belgian showed off his technical skills by hopping over the barriers. After the race Meeusen was shivering from the cold but was satisfied with third.
“Riding in shorts was a mistake with the icy water in the forest," he admitted. "I tried to support the attack from Peeters by doing some blocking work. Eventually I noticed Sven and Niels were better and I focused on third place."
Peeters' strong race was rewarded with a fourth place at the finish line. “I had a good start and quickly got a gap. I went full gas. Once I noticed they came back at me, I tried to recover in order to keep up. It wasn't possible. I made some mistakes and I quickly lost some positions,” Peeters said.
After leading the chase of Peeters, world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) faded back during the second half of the race. Last year's winner in Tervuren eventually finished in seventh place, well behind Albert.
“I didn't have a great start but eventually I led the chase with Niels. Then I made too many mistakes and started getting cold. I lost my focus too,” Stybar said on VT4.
The USA's Jonathan Page managed the hole shot but on the long sloping running section he quickly lost ground. During the first laps he rode together with Nys and Albert but he failed to join the Belgians on the way up to the front of the race. Page eventually finished 12th.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:59:10|
|2||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:00:21|
|3||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:55|
|4||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:24|
|5||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:26|
|6||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:31|
|7||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:43|
|8||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|9||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:01:46|
|10||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:02:28|
|11||Kenneth van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Revor||0:02:29|
|12||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:03:14|
|13||Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:04:19|
|14||Tom van den Bosch (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:04:25|
|15||Ben Berden (Bel) Qin Cycling Team||0:04:41|
|16||Marek Cichosz (Pol)||0:04:46|
|17||Matthias Bossuyt (Bel)||0:04:50|
|18||Patrick Gaudy (Bel)||0:05:19|
|19||Marek Konwa (Pol)||0:05:22|
|20||Mike Thielemans (Bel)||0:05:42|
|21||Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned)||0:05:53|
|22||Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux)||0:06:06|
|23||Bram Schmitz (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof||0:06:12|
|24||Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace||0:06:16|
|25||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:06:28|
|26||Jan Verstraeten (Bel) KDL-Trans||0:06:44|
|27 (-1 lap)||Kevin Cant (Bel)|
|28 (-2 laps)||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|29||Rikke Dijkxhoorn (Ned) Van Vliet EBH Elshof|
|30||Tom De Kort (Bel)|
|31||Matteo Trentin (Ita)|
|32||Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor|
|33||Gianni Denolf (Bel) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team|
|34||Daniel Ruiz (Spa)|
|35||Geert Wellens (Bel) Champion System LBS Team|
|36 (-3 laps)||Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder|
|37||Xabier Garcia (Spa)|
|38||Ryan Iddings (USA) Redline|
|39||Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized|
|40||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)|
|41||Dries Pauwels (Bel)|
|42||Sean Babcock (USA) Kona|
|43 (-4 laps)||Sven Van Eyndt (Bel)|
|44||Ritchie Denolf (Bel)|
|45 (-5 laps)||Shaun Adamson (Can) Cycle-Smart|
|46||Hikura Kosaka (Jpn)|