Albert repeats at GVA Trofee-Azencross

Despite undergoing treatment with antibiotics, Belgian champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) powered his way to a second win since his comeback from a wrist injury in Loenhout, Belgium. Albert completed a long solo effort to claim the fifth round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy for his third career victory in Loenhout.

"From my nose to the top of my head it's all shut," said Albert. "With a nose spray with eucalyptus it opened up. Thanks to my great form I managed to make up for my illness. I had a huge amount of power in my legs and today the course demanded power."

World champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) was runner-up at 16 seconds, four seconds ahead of Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet).

GVA-Trophy leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) bounced back from a disastrous start to finish sixth. Pauwels remains overall leader after five rounds with 113 points, 12 more than Stybar and 30 up on Albert.

Right after the start the riders entered the first muddy section and Pauwels collided with another rider. The overall leader faced an uphill battle as he found himself in last place after his mishap.

"I didn't look back and went for it," said Pauwels. "Of course there was a lot of traffic and all those guys race for their spot as well. Suddenly I noticed Tom Meeusen and that gave me morale to keep going."

While Pauwels worked his way through the field of about 60 riders the men in front didn't wait. Dutch champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) and world champion Stybar avoided a crash from early race leader Mitchell Huenders (Rings) in the same muddy section.

Stybar picked up the three bonus points at the intermediate sprint after two laps, Boom picked up two points and sole chaser Albert the remaining point. Stybar dropped back during the third lap while Nys started to gain ground. His rush forward was halted when Nys crashed against a pole, got back on his bike and then found out his chain was dropped.

"I made an steering error. I lost a lot of time. It's frustrating because it was my own fault," Nys said. The problems cost him about 20 seconds.

Belgian champion vs Dutch champion

In front Albert bridged up with arch rival Boom. The duo was chased by Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Stybar but those two didn't make up any ground on the leaders. Nys and Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) then bridged up to this first chase group.

In front Boom clearly struggled in the technical sections where Albert showed off his skills, such as jumping over the small ditch at the pit zone entrance. On the long road to the finish Boom, however, used his road skills and steamed back onto Albert's wheel.

During the fifth lap of the race Boom got dropped again and this time for good. "There was way too much turning around for me. Hopping that ditch? I'm a road rider and I don't risk that stuff," Boom said.

Boom was soon caught by Nys and co. in the chase group and the Dutch star lent a hand by going flat out in the wind on the long road at the finish. The Dutch champion's effort brought them back to within 12 seconds of leader Albert with three more laps to go.

Boom quickly dropped out of the chase group and nobody else seemed to have the punch to get back to Albert. Accelerations from Peeters and Wellens didn't bring the group any closer and they trailed Albert by 18 seconds with two laps to go and 31 seconds when they heard the bell for the last lap.

On that final lap Nys and Stybar powered away towards the podium spots while Albert rode steadily at the head of affair. As Albert rolled onto the finishing straight he had plenty of time to enjoy the applause from the huge crowds in Loenhout. Stybar sprinted to second place with Nys not contesting the world champion. "I knew I was going to lose the sprint and didn't care about the GVA-points," Nys said.

Telenet-Fidea riders Peeters and Wellens finished fourth and fifth while Pauwels ended his run in sixth place at 1:13 from winner Albert.

Cousins Sven and Dieter Vanthourenhout finished seventh and eighth while Boom eventually rolled across the line in ninth place. French youngster Aurélien Duval (CC Charlott) completed the top-10.

A little further back Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) demonstrated his rising form. He was in the mix for thirteenth place for most of the race but a bobble dropped his chain and made him lose ground in the final laps. Page just fell short of catching the fever-struck Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and the American rider finished sixteenth. "I was consistent today but that little bobble cost me some spots. I keep coming up though," a content Page said at the finish line in cold and windy Loenhout.

The next round of the GVA-Trophy will held on Sunday afternoon, January 1, 2012 in Baal, hometown of today's winner Albert but also from the "Cannibal from Baal" Sven Nys.

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Full Results
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:58:11
2Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:16
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:20
4Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:00:27
5Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:00:40
6Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:01:13
7Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:01:21
8Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:33
9Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank0:01:39
10Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.Aube0:01:46
11Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept0:02:23
12Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:29
13Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA
14Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:34
15Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:02:38
16Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles0:02:42
17Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL0:02:55
18Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:03:01
19Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea
20Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:03:19
21Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:03:26
22Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:03:34
23Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team
24Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team0:03:35
25Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:04:05
26Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco0:04:08
27Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:04:09
28Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem0:04:13
29Florian Vögel (Swi)0:04:29
30Romain Lejeune (Fra) U.V.Aube0:04:32
31Kobus Hereijgers (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:04:58
32Ben Berden (Bel) Ops Ale-Stoemper0:05:21
33Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda0:05:41
34Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl0:05:50
35Kristof Cop (Bel)0:05:54
36Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:06:13
37Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies0:06:15
38Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar0:06:59
39Jimmy Tielens (Bel) Team DW Bikes0:07:03
40Sébastien Ugolini (Fra) CD Haute Garonne0:07:06
41Martin Gujan (Swi) Cannondale Factory Racing-2laps
42Mitchell Hoke (USA) Team Clif Bar
43Marco Minnaard (Ned)
44Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh-3laps
45Yoann Corbihan (Fra) Hennebont Cyclisme
46Dries Pauwels (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team
47Keiichi Tsujiura (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor
48Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team
49Ryan Knapp (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross
50Jeremy Durrin (USA) J.A.M. Fund - NCC
51Miguel Fillaut (Fra) ASPTT Rennes Cyclisme-4laps
52Romain Pinot (Fra) VS Quimperois
53Jake Wells (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team
54Steven Van Vooren (Bel)
55Lewis Rattray (Aus)-5laps
56Scott Chalmers (GBr)
57Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels-6laps
58Andrew Stewart (GBr)
59Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
60Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team
61Jiri Polnicky (Cze) Sunweb-Revor
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Intermediate sprint
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team3pts
2Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank2
3Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus1
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Fastest lap
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team0:07:03.7
2Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:07:03.8
3Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:07:04.0
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GvA Trofee standings after 5 rounds
1Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor113pts
2Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team101
3Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus83
4Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet79
5Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea73
6Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea66
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team59
8Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea51
9Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor46
10Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet44
11Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept43
12Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl41
13Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus38
14Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea36
15Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco33
16Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team31
17Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet23
18Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus20
19Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL18
20Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team15
21Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank14
22Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland13
23Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles13
24Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels12
25Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.Aube11
26Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus9
27Robert Gavenda (Svk) Landbouwkrediet - KDL7
28Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl5
29Thijs Al (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl5
30Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda4
31Dave De Cleyn (Bel)4
32Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor3
33Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team3
34Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team2
35Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange - Magic-Sportfood.de2
36Kevin Cant (Bel) Van Goethem2
37Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea2
38Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team1
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Sprint standings
1Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team9pts
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor6
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet5
4Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus3
5Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea3
6Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank2
7Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea1
8Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea1

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