Albert unstoppable in Igorre mud

Second straight World Cup victory moves Belgian into series lead

Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) convincingly won the fourth round of the UCI's cyclo-cross World Cup in Igorre, Spain. Albert now moves into the World Cup lead as a result of the absence of the injured previous leader Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea). It is the former world champions Albert’s second World Cup win in a row.

“I've got a hard training week behind me and my legs didn't feel 100 percent but it was enough for the victory so I'm satisfied,” Albert told Sporza. Despite his absence at the start of the season, the young Belgian now tops the World Cup standings. “It was the only classification that was still within my reach; I did a good job here in Igorre.”

On a tough muddy course in the Basque region, it was French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) who finished as runner-up, 17 seconds behind Albert. “It's pleasing to be on the podium. I've battled with Niels Albert and Sven Nys. Hopefully I can beat them one day, maybe at the world championships,” Mourey told Sporza.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) joined Albert and Mourey on the Spanish podium and the Belgian champion was pleased with the outcome. “I'm satisfied with third place and expected nothing more. I have a good base but not a lot of sharpness at the moment due to the training load,” Nys said.

Despite travel problems posed by the Spanish air traffic controllers’ strike, most of the favourites lined up at the start line in Igorre. The most important absentee was the world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea), who is taking a break until the end of the year due to a knee injury.

Right after the start, some unfamiliar riders appeared at the front as the 37 starters sprinted into the mud. Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-Swisspower) didn't spare his energy and broke clear of the peloton during the first lap. Soon after that the Swiss rider faded back as the favourites turned on the gas.

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Mourey put distance into the rest of the big guns, while one surprising name was still present: local rider Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde. During the third lap Mourey dropped Wellens but one lap later the Belgian was replaced by his compatriot Niels Albert. Wellens faded further back and he was eventually joined by fellow Belgians Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea), Nys and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor).

“On this course it was better to ride alone. It's hard to overtake other riders because of the deep tracks. That's why I chose to ride in front. I had a good time,” Albert said.

Albert and Mourey created a gap of half a minute on this chasing group and it was soon clear that the winner was going to come from the front duo. During the seventh lap the race was decided when Albert upped the pace. Mourey was unable to hold Albert's wheel and slowly lost the battle.

With two laps to go, Albert had a gap of 12 seconds on Mourey while Nys had dropped the other Belgians for third place. The situation remained the same during the closing laps and Albert racked up his second win of the season. Mourey rolled across the line in second place, well ahead of Belgians Nys, Wellens, Pauwels and Vantornout. Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Offroad) won a sprint for seventh place from his Dutch teammate Gerben de Knegt.

German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) claimed ninth place just ahead of Christian Heule. The first Spaniard in Igorre was Murgoitio Rekalde, who surprised with a strong eleventh place on the demanding course.

Full Results
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus1:06:43 
2Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ0:00:17 
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:39 
4Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:55 
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:07 
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:01:33 
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:01:48 
8Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:01:49 
9Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:11 
10Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS0:02:17 
11Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)0:02:27 
12Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:02:31 
13Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:35 
14Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:41 
15Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 930:02:54 
16Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:03:17 
17Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:03:38 
18Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:04:16 
19Marco Bianco (Ita)0:04:18 
20Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:04:37 
21Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:04:57 
22Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof0:05:04 
23Romain Villa (Fra)0:05:52 
24Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles  
25Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)  
26Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus  
27Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus  
28Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team  
29Guillaume Perrot (Fra)  
30David Lozano Riba (Spa)  
31Daniel Ruiz Echeandia (Spa)  
32Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team  
33Geert van der Horst (Ned)  
34Mauro Gonzalez Fontan (Spa)  
35Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa)  
36David Juarez Alday (Spa)  
Elite Men UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup standings after 4 rounds
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus295pts
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team236 
3Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team230 
4Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ230 
5Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet229 
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor197 
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team193 
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team181 
9Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team174 
10Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus167 
11Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus152 
12Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team144 
13Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team138 
14Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus136 
15Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS127 
16Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team125 
17Marco Bianco (Ita)125 
18Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 93122 
19Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing121 
20Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)103 
21Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)83 
22Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor82 
23Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team81 
24Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team80 
25Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom71 
26Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof71 
27Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike67 
28Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team63 
29Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus63 
30Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus62 
31Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team62 
32Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor59 
33Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor56 
34Romain Villa (Fra)54 
35David Kášek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor53 
36Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles51 
37Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team49 
38Fabio Ursi (Ita) Buergi48 
39Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team46 
40Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team44 
41Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com44 
42Jirí Polnický (Cze) Sunweb - Revor41 
43Pirmin Lang (Swi) Buergi37 
44Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)31 
45Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com31 
46Vladimír Kyzivát (Cze) Johnson Controls Aš Mb31 
47Jérome Chevallier (Fra) AC Bisontine31 
48John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale29 
49Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles27 
50James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com27 
51Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)26 
52Tijmen Eising (Ned) Sunweb-Revor26 
53Laurent Colombatto (Fra) AC Bisontine25 
54Marco Ponta (Ita)24 
55Guillaume Perrot (Fra)22 
56Karel Hník (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team22 
57David Lozano Riba (Spa)21 
58Daniel Ruiz Echeandia (Spa)20 
59Florian Le Corre (Fra) Flers Cyclisme 6120 
60Kenneth Hansen (Den)19 
61Geert van der Horst (Ned)18 
62Wilant van Gils (Ned) CX Nederland18 
63Mauro Gonzalez Fontan (Spa)17 
64Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa)16 
65Marek Cichosz (Pol) Legia-Felt16 
66David Juarez Alday (Spa)15 
67Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole13 
68Václav Metlicka (Svk) Johnson Controls Aš Mb11 
69Milan Barenyi (Svk)10 
70Mik Garrigan (Can)8 
71Tommy Nielsen (Den)8 
72Michael Schweizer (Ger) Stevens Racing Team7 
73René Lang (Swi)6 
74Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banská Bystrica6 
75Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)6 
76Craig Richey (Can) Cyclocrossracing.Com p/b Blue5 
77Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv3 
78David van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus3 
79Xabier Garcia Irazola (Spa)2 
80Robert Glajza (Svk) BKP2 
81Gusty Bausch (Lux)1 

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