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Albert powers to his third Diegem win

Only one week after his comeback to the cyclo-cross scene, Belgian champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) nailed a first win, his third win in a row in Diegem. Albert dominated affairs in the muddy evening cross near Brussels. He finished with a gap of 16 seconds over Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) and 36 seconds on Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet).

"It's great to win here three times in a row. That's a unique accomplishment that nobody from this cyclo-cross generation has done," Albert said.

French youngster Aurélien Duval (Club Cyclisme Charlott') was the surprise of the day with his fifth place. In the overall rankings of the Superprestige Series, it is Nys who still dominates affairs with 78 points, which is five more than Pauwels.

"That's how you win a classification, by grabbing a lot of points on a bad day. I felt un-energetic," said Nys. The overall rankings of the Superprestige Series are no longer a target for winner Albert as he was out injured for four weeks in which he missed two rounds.

After his comeback in Essen last weekend, it was clear Albert was back on his old high level right away. "After last weekend, I realized that I was ok. Today there was humor during the warm-up, I felt relaxed. I'm enormously happy, and I didn't expect it," Albert said.

The first attacks in dark Diegem were led by world champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Team), but the Czech repeated his recent performances by fading halfway through the race. There were more accelerations from men like Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus), Mariusz Gil (Baboco) and Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) but none equaled the punch from Albert's attack in the third lap. Only Pauwels and Stybar were able to keep up with the Belgian champion. They recovered a little by hopping the barriers while Albert ran them.

"If I jump, I receive a painful knock on my wrist," Albert said of his decision not to hop the barriers. During the fourth lap, Albert accelerated again which cost Stybar his spot up front.

The Albert-Pauwels duo remained in front with Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea), Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team), Stybar and Duval trailing by 12 seconds.

During the fifth lap, Albert switched tactics. Instead of accelerating just ahead of the barriers, he now made his move in a short sand section. "Pauwels always managed to come back on me after the barriers, so I had to come up with something. I knew I had to make a gap before the barriers. If there's a bit of sand on the course I always feel like a kid on the playground," Albert said.

Pauwels stumbled slightly in the sand, and Albert was gone. "Niels was stronger. If the sand section hadn't been in the course, it might have been a closer game. I got stuck in the sand because I was hitting the high revs," Pauwels said.

Albert cruised to a well-deserved win. Pauwels easily held on for second place but behind him there was a battle going on for the remaining podium spot. Eventually it was Nys who finished well ahead of Aernouts, Duval and Wellens.

Further back Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) sneaked passed an empty Stybar. Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus) and Gil closed down the top-10 in Diegem.

Jonathan Page (Planetbike) was in touch with the lead group during the first lap. "I'm back on the way up. I rode a lot on my own today which hurt in the headwind," Page said. He faded slightly but never dropped back completely and eventually finished 16th at almost two minutes from winner Albert.

Full Results

1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus1:00:30
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:00:16
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:36
4Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:00:41
5Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.Aube0:00:45
6Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:00:55
7Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:01:01
8Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team0:01:04
9Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:05
10Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco0:01:06
11Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:01:25
12Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ0:01:29
13Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl0:01:32
14Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:01:36
15Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland0:01:40
16Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike-Blue Bicycles0:01:51
17Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept0:02:15
18Martin Zlamalik (Cze) Landbouwkrediet - KDL0:02:49
19Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team0:02:52
20Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team0:02:55
21John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:18
22Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:03:26
23Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:03:51
24Tom Van Den Bosch (Bel) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl0:03:56
25Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:04:03
26Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Barracuda0:04:08
27Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)0:04:11
28Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:04:18
29Stijn Huys (Bel) Orange Babies0:04:28
30Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:04:40
31Jelle Brackman (Bel)0:04:43
32Jo Pirotte (Bel)0:04:50
33Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team0:05:15
34Dries Pauwels (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team0:05:21
35Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar0:05:32
36Bart Verschueren (Bel) KDL-Landbouwkrediet0:05:52
37Mitchell Hoke (USA) Team Clif Bar0:06:33
38Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:06:37
39Dave De Cleyn (Bel)0:06:45
40Jeremy Durrin (USA) J.A.M. Fund - NCC0:06:58
41Sébastien Ugolini (Fra) CD Haute Garonne0:07:00
42Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh0:07:36
43Keiichi Tsujiura (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor-2laps
44Jake Wells (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team
45Simone Masciarelli (Ita)

Superprestige standings after 6 rounds
1Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet78pts
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor73
3Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quickstep Cycling Team68
4Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team65
5Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus57
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor54
7Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea50
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea50
9Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus41
10Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea30
11Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus26
12Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Team AA Drink-Leontien.nl19
13Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Landbouwkrediet16
14Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco14
15Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team11
16Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ11
17Aurelien Duval (Fra) U.V.Aube11
18Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet10
19Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet-Fidea9
20Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team8
21Marcel Meisen (Ger) Eddy Merckx-Indeland6
22Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Revor5
23Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team4
24Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus2
25Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels1
26Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team1

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