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Albert completes post-world title pilgrimage

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After 23.5km of walking, even Niels Albert deserves from frites

After 23.5km of walking, even Niels Albert deserves from frites (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Niels Albert after his pilgrimage

Niels Albert after his pilgrimage (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Niels Albert and his BKCP Powerplus team owners and fans rest up after the hike

Niels Albert and his BKCP Powerplus team owners and fans rest up after the hike (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The walkers gather outside the basilica in Scherpenheuvel

The walkers gather outside the basilica in Scherpenheuvel (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The pilgrims: Niels Albert and his supporters after the 23.5km walk from Tremelo

The pilgrims: Niels Albert and his supporters after the 23.5km walk from Tremelo (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Commentator Michel Wuyts was at the finish to greet Niels Albert and his supporters

Commentator Michel Wuyts was at the finish to greet Niels Albert and his supporters (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Niels Albert lights a candle at the basilica in Scherpenheuvel

Niels Albert lights a candle at the basilica in Scherpenheuvel (Image credit: Photopress.be)

After a season of set-backs, Niels Albert promised that, if he won the 2012 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Koksijde, he would make the pilgrimage from Tremelo, where he lives, to the Scherpenheuvel basilica, one of Belgium's most holy sites.

True to his word, the new world champion set off on the 23.5km hike along with Christophe and Philip Roodhooft, the owners of the BKCP-Powerplus team and about 65 supporters.

After a stop halfway in Aarschot, the entourage and Albert arrived at the basilica at 2pm and were greeted by commentator Michel Wuyts and more fans. Albert treated his fans to free frites and lit candles in the church following the successful hike.

"It turned out better than expected," Albert said according to Cyclo-cross.info. "Quite good. I'm not that tired, but you feel like you have a sturdy walk in your legs. In the end it was a fun and sporting day, socializing with the fans.

"I don't think I will become a fanatical hiker, though ... I'd gladly have another world title on my palmares, but that doesn't mean I'm going to repeat this pilgrimage to Scherpenheuvel every time."