Niels Albert won a muddy night of 'cross racing at the Superprestige round in Diegem on Sunday evening. The World Champion held off Czech Zdenek Stybar in a two-man duel and became the new leader of the Superprestige Series. Yesterday's World Cup Winner Kevin Pauwels was third.
Former series leader Sven Nys was confronted with a mechanical and abandoned the race after the penultimate lap. He had been riding in third place. The mechanical cost the nine-time series winner another chance at the Superprestige overall.
"A night 'cross isn't easy, but I did a great job this weekend with the World Cup and the Superprestige," said Albert. "It's looking good for me, but I can be confronted with mechanicals, too," Albert said to VT4.
Runner-up Stybar wasn't dissapointed with his performance. "Saturday wasn't good, but it didn't stay on my mind. I came back twice [to Albert], but a third time wasn't possible," Stybar said. The Czech was hindered by a spectator during the race though he chose not to complain about the problem. "I received a knock from a inattentive spectator, but that can happen."
Even though World Champion Albert hadn't been looking forward to riding under the flood lights, he launched the first attack of the evening. Czech champion Stybar and Belgian champion Nys tried to catch back up to Albert, but halfway the second lap, Nys dropped off of Stybar, who then bridged up towards Albert.
Albert and Stybar weren't planning to work together and exchanged series of attacks. During the fourth lap, Albert managed to create a small gap of a handful of seconds over Stybar. The Czech champion wasn't giving up the fight and kept hanging tough about five seconds back. Stybar clawed back to within three seconds, but going into the penultimate lap, Albert showed persistence and extended his lead to 12 seconds. It was enough to secure the victory and the leader's position in the Superprestige Series.
Runner-up Stybar is the only rider left who can threaten the Belgian rider for the overall victory since Nys abandoned the race.
Nys faced a broken rear derailleur and didn't finish the race. "I had an off day and didn't have any power in the legs. I tried to make the best of it by fighting for third place, and that was working out until my rear derailleur broke," Nys said to VT4.
The Belgian had been leading the series and hoped to claim a 10th overall victory which no longer seems possible. "It didn't make sense to run like hell in order to make it to the pit because there's another race in two days [at Loenhout]. You always have to be on the podium if you want to win the Superprestige Series; my classification is ruined," Nys said.
Kevin Pauwels, winner of the World Cup round in Heusden-Zolder on Saturday, was riding for fifth place during the penultimate lap. Suddenly, he had a podium spot in sight when Nys put his foot to the ground.
Gerben De Knegt rode in third, but couldn't hold off a surge from Pauwels. The two sprinted for the remaining podium spot, Pauwels narrowly won it. "I'm very happy after what happened last week, when I finished only 32nd [in the World Cup of Kalmthout]. I had to dig deeper than yesterday, especially during the last lap, and of course, I was lucky that Nys had a mechanical," Pauwels said.
The first American rider was Jonathan Page in 15th place. After crashing hard during the World Cup round in Zolder, Jeremy Powers was able to finish 25th in Diegem. Troy Wells crossed the line in 33rd - two places ahead of Brian Matter.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Niels Albert (Bel)||1:00:56|
|2||Zdenek Stybar (Cze)||0:00:08|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel)||0:01:36|
|4||Gerben de Knegt (Ned)|
|5||Bart Wellens (Bel)||0:01:47|
|6||Klaas Vantornout (Bel)||0:02:07|
|7||Erwin Vervecken (Bel)||0:02:11|
|8||Enrico Franzoi (Ita)||0:02:23|
|9||Bart Aernouts (Bel)||0:02:37|
|10||Radomir Simunek (Cze)||0:02:47|
|11||Philipp Walsleben (Ger)||0:02:54|
|12||Rob Peeters (Bel)||0:03:05|
|13||Martin Zlamalik (Cze)||0:03:18|
|14||Steve Chainel (Fra)||0:03:37|
|15||Jonathan Page (USA)||0:03:41|
|16||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned)||0:03:54|
|17||Tom Van den Bosch (Bel)||0:04:26|
|18||Wilant van Gils (Ned)||0:04:29|
|19||Mariusz Gil (Pol)||0:04:32|
|20||Thijs Al (Ned)||0:04:45|
|21||Ben Berden (Bel)||0:05:22|
|22||Fabio Ursi (Ita)||0:05:28|
|23||Quentin Bertholet (Bel)||0:05:42|
|24||Marek Cichosz (Pol)||0:06:00|
|25||Jeremy Powers (USA)||0:06:12|
|26||Tommy Nielsen (Den)||0:06:14|
|27||Stijn Huys (Bel)||0:06:39|
|28||Jody Crawford (GBr)||0:06:43|
|29||Mike Thielemans (Bel)||0:06:51|
|30||Milan Barenyi (Svk)||0:06:57|
|31||Christoph Pfingsten (Ger)||0:07:24|
|32||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned)||0:07:29|
|33||Troy Wells (USA)||0:07:59|
|34||Marco Ponta (Ita)||0:08:11|
|35||Brian Matter (USA)||0:08:20|
|36||Robert Glajza (Svk)||0:08:28|
|37||Keiichi Tsujiura (Jpn)|
|-1lap||Justin Lindine (USA)|
|-1lap||Martin Haring (Svk)|
|-1lap||Lukas Kloucek (Cze)|
|-2laps||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)|
|-3laps||Gareth Whittall (GBr)|
|-4laps||Masashi Matsui (Jpn)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Niels Albert (Bel)||84||pts|
|2||Zdenek Stybar (Cze)||81|
|3||Sven Nys (Bel)||71|
|4||Klaas Vantornout (Bel)||66|
|5||Kevin Pauwels (Bel)||64|
|6||Bart Aernouts (Bel)||52|
|7||Gerben de Knegt (Ned)||42|
|8||Erwin Vervecken (Bel)||40|
|9||Radomir Simunek (Cze)||38|
|10||Enrico Franzoi (Ita)||34|
|11||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)||31|
|12||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel)||22|
|12||Rob Peeters (Bel)||22|
|14||Philipp Walsleben (Ger)||19|
|15||Jan Verstraeten (Bel)||12|
|16||Bart Wellens (Bel)||11|
|17||Françis Mourey (Fra)||7|
|17||Martin Zlamalik (Cze)||7|
|19||Wilant van Gils (Ned)||3|
|19||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned)||3|
|19||Mariusz Gil (Pol)||3|
|22||Ben Berden (Bel)||2|
|22||Jonathan Page (USA)||2|
|22||Steve Chainel (Fra)||2|
|25||Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned)||1|
|25||John Gadret (Fra)||1|
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