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Albert leads Belgian domination

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Niels Albert (Belgium) led from the front and never looked back

Niels Albert (Belgium) led from the front and never looked back
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The finishing straight was packed with Belgian fans

The finishing straight was packed with Belgian fans
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Riders with one lap to go

Riders with one lap to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ryan Trebon (USA) all by himself in the sand dunes

Ryan Trebon (USA) all by himself in the sand dunes
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain) rounding a corner

Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain) rounding a corner
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zdnek Stybar (Czech Republic) could only manage 13th place

Zdnek Stybar (Czech Republic) could only manage 13th place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Radomir simunek (Czech Republic) was surprisingly the top Czech rider today

Radomir simunek (Czech Republic) was surprisingly the top Czech rider today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Klaas Vntornout (Belgium) having a top five ride

Klaas Vntornout (Belgium) having a top five ride
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) never really had a chance to reel in Albert

Sven Nys (Belgium) never really had a chance to reel in Albert
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Neils Albert (Belgium) with two laps to go

Neils Albert (Belgium) with two laps to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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This family may have had the best seats in the house

This family may have had the best seats in the house
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The crowds were impenetrable today

The crowds were impenetrable today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Chris Jones (USA) competing in his first cyclocross world championship

Chris Jones (USA) competing in his first cyclocross world championship
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Belgians basically raced a team time trial today

The Belgians basically raced a team time trial today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Rob Peters (Belgium) was ecstatic with his second place finish

Rob Peters (Belgium) was ecstatic with his second place finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Two hundred photographers were on hand to document the racing this weekend

Two hundred photographers were on hand to document the racing this weekend
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Racers ran more of the course as the race progressed

Racers ran more of the course as the race progressed
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Tim Johnson (USA) with one lap to go

Tim Johnson (USA) with one lap to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Keven Pauwels (Belgium) riding to a bronze meda

Keven Pauwels (Belgium) riding to a bronze meda
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Keven Pauwels (Belgium) trying to manage the endless sand

Keven Pauwels (Belgium) trying to manage the endless sand
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Neils Albert (Belgium) with three laps to go and nobody behind him

Neils Albert (Belgium) with three laps to go and nobody behind him
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Matthieu Boulo (France) was not having the race he had hoped for

Matthieu Boulo (France) was not having the race he had hoped for
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Rob Peters (Belgium) rode solidly the whole race

Rob Peters (Belgium) rode solidly the whole race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The starting line was a sea of blue

The starting line was a sea of blue
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) having a laugh at the starting line

Sven Nys (Belgium) having a laugh at the starting line
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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USA Champion Jeremy Powers warming up

USA Champion Jeremy Powers warming up
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Zdnek Stybar had a massive number of fans on the course

Zdnek Stybar had a massive number of fans on the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jamey Driscol (USA) concentrating on his line

Jamey Driscol (USA) concentrating on his line
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ryan Trebon (USA) sliding down the hill

Ryan Trebon (USA) sliding down the hill
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Belgium Cycling Team has high hopes today

The Belgium Cycling Team has high hopes today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The deep sand wreaked havoc with drive trains

The deep sand wreaked havoc with drive trains
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The sand has a bit of moisture in it, making the going rough

The sand has a bit of moisture in it, making the going rough
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The medal presenters awaitoimng their moment

The medal presenters awaitoimng their moment
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain), 2010 world mountain biking champion

Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain), 2010 world mountain biking champion
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jamey Driscoll (USA) testing the rideability of this section in practice

Jamey Driscoll (USA) testing the rideability of this section in practice
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain) forced to dismount in practice

Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain) forced to dismount in practice
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jamey Driscoll (USA)

Jamey Driscoll (USA)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Ryan Trebon (USA)

Ryan Trebon (USA)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jonathan Page (USA) descending in deep sand

Jonathan Page (USA) descending in deep sand
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Aurelien Duval (France) got off to a brilliant start

Aurelien Duval (France) got off to a brilliant start
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Sven Nys (Belgium) in third position at the end of lap one

Sven Nys (Belgium) in third position at the end of lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) chasing Albert

Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) chasing Albert
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Neils Albert (Belgium) went to the front on lap one

Neils Albert (Belgium) went to the front on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) takes the holel shot

Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) takes the holel shot
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Belgium had six front row strters

Belgium had six front row strters
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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All Belgian affair at the Words

All Belgian affair at the Words
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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The all Belgian podium in the men's race

The all Belgian podium in the men's race
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Niels Albert (Belgium) claims the world title

Niels Albert (Belgium) claims the world title
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Niels Albert (Belgium)

Niels Albert (Belgium)
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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New world champion Niels Albert (Belgium)

New world champion Niels Albert (Belgium)
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Home banker: Niels Albert (Belgium) led from start to finish

Home banker: Niels Albert (Belgium) led from start to finish
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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New world champion Niels Albert (Belgium)

New world champion Niels Albert (Belgium)
(Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Niels Albert (Belgium) can't believe what he's won

Niels Albert (Belgium) can't believe what he's won
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Niels Albert (Belgium) wins the men's race at the Worlds

Niels Albert (Belgium) wins the men's race at the Worlds
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

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.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Niels Albert (Belgium)1:06:07
2Rob Peeters (Belgium)0:00:24
3Kevin Pauwels (Belgium)0:00:30
4Tom Meeusen (Belgium)0:00:34
5Bart Aernouts (Belgium)0:00:35
6Klaas Vantornout (Belgium)0:01:09
7Sven Nys (Belgium)0:01:11
8Radomir Simunek (Czech Republic)0:02:15
9Philipp Walsleben (Germany)0:02:25
10Simon Zahner (Switzerland)0:02:31
11Steve Chainel (France)0:02:37
12Francis Mourey (France)0:02:48
13Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)0:03:17
14Aurelien Duval (France)0:03:41
15Niels Wubben (Netherlands)
16Julien Taramarcaz (Switzerland)0:03:42
17Gerben De Knegt (Netherlands)
18Ryan Trebon (United States Of America)0:04:02
19Marcel Meisen (Germany)0:04:06
20José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain)
21Twan Van Den Brand (Netherlands)0:04:07
22Mariusz Gil (Poland)0:04:22
23Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands)0:04:40
24Christoph Pfingsten (Germany)0:05:10
-1lapChristian Heule (Switzerland)
-2lapsJeremy Powers (United States Of America)
-2lapsMarcel Wildhaber (Switzerland)
-2lapsEnrico Franzoi (Italy)
-2lapsJohn Gadret (France)
-2lapsJiri Polnicky (Czech Republic)
-2lapsMartin Zlamalik (Czech Republic)
-3lapsMitchell Huenders (Netherlands)
-3lapsVladimir Kyzivat (Czech Republic)
-3lapsTimothy Johnson (United States Of America)
-3lapsIsaac Suarez Fernandez (Spain)
-3lapsIan Field (Great Britain)
-3lapsPetr Dlask (Czech Republic)
-3lapsClément Bourgoin (France)
-3lapsSascha Weber (Germany)
-3lapsMarco Ponta (Italy)
-3lapsJavier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spain)
-3lapsJames Driscoll (United States Of America)
-5lapsChristopher Jones (United States Of America)
-5lapsMirko Tabacchi (Italy)
-5lapsYu Takenouchi (Japan)
-5lapsMagnus Darvell (Sweden)
-5lapsMartin Haring (Slovakia)
-5lapsGusty Bausch (Luxembourg)
-5lapsChristian Helmig (Luxembourg)
-5lapsCristian Cominelli (Italy)
-6lapsCraig Richey (Canada)
-6lapsAitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spain)
-6lapsVaclav Metlicka (Slovakia)
-6lapsDaniel Geismayr (Austria)
-6lapsKeiichi Tsujiura (Japan)
-7lapsKarl Heinz Gollinger (Austria)
-7lapsLewis Rattray (Australia)
-7lapsRobert Gehbauer (Austria)
-8lapsDavid Quist (Norway)

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