After his win in the floodlights of Diegem on Monday evening Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) was back on the top step of the podium and with his morale sky high again.
And it seems the 24-year-old Belgian has reached top form at just the right time with races coming thick and fast in the next few days and the national championships less than two weeks away.
“Bring on the championships,” a smiling Albert said. “I checked the weather forecast on meteoonline.be and it seems like the weather's changing in my favour.”
Higher temperatures could turn the courses at the upcoming races into mud-fests and that's when Albert's big engine comes in handy. After his win in Diegem it seemed like the former world champion picked up something that should lead him to even more victories in the future but he’s not ready to share his secret just yet.
“Yesterday I showed that I can perform in the snow and today I did the same on ice. Nys is indisputably the best rider on ice and I was able to win from him. Technically he was slightly better but on the pavement I had the upper hand. I've learned something today,”
“The other day somebody asked me for an interview to talk about tactics and training methods but I'm not doing that. I didn't listen a lot to what my parents said but if there's one thing I remember then it's this: don't tell anybody what you've learned because the competitors are listening along,” Albert said.
Albert's start of the season was ruined by a knee injury but he quickly returned to form. Nevertheless winning seemed difficult as he always got blocked by world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) or Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet). Albert capped his first win of the season in the World Cup round in Koksijde, notching up another victory one week later in Igorre, Spain. Despite these wins a strong performing Nys kept him from winning in the last few weeks.
When Nys had an off-day on Sunday afternoon Albert suddenly was confronted with a road cyclist Lars Boom in the World Cup round in Zolder (Belgium). Boom and Albert were way ahead of the rest of the field but it was Boom who grabbed the flowers. On Monday afternoon Albert finally stood on top of the podium once again.
“I worked hard during the training camp in Spain and now it delivers. Yesterday I finished second and now I captured the victory. I'm more than happy with my Christmas weekend,” Albert said.
On Wednesday Albert will be aiming to capture his fourth win of the season in Loenhout (Belgium) where the fifth round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy will be contested.