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Albert conquers Koksijde sand

Niels Albert (BCKP-Powerplus) continued to take advantage of his excellent form, winning the third round of the UCI World Cup series in the sand of Koksijde, Belgium, which will host the 2012 world championships.

The Belgian surged clear of the other big names around half way through the race and disappeared on the up and down course.

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) tried to close the gap as Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Zdenek Štybar (Telenet-Fidea) marked each other but he faded and Stybar managed to pass him on the final lap. Wellens then stumbled on a slight rise, hindering Nys and allowing Stybar go clear to secure second place, 27 seconds behind Albert and just ahead of Nys.

Stybar still leads the overall classification of the World Cup but Albert took back 10 points and he's now trailing the world champion by just 15 points.

“I knew I would get back on winning ways one day; today was that day,” Albert said in the post-race interview with Sporza.

Tumultuous start

After a tumultuous start, the first lap was marked by the presence of the lesser-names of the sport at the front of the race, with Christophe Pfingsten (Van Vliet) hitting the front after the long start area. Albert had a bad start and came through outside the top-30 but didn’t panic. “I didn't start well but I managed to move up quite easily,” Albert said.

Once he joined the front of the race a lead group of nine riders formed. The race was decided just before halfway the race when Albert made a counter-attack after Nys' acceleration was slowed by a dropped chain.

“I saw Sven standing there but I just went past Gerben de Knegt because I knew he wouldn’t go well through the sand that was coming up. I wanted to create a selection as we were still riding in a large group. It's better to ride alone at your own pace,” Albert said.

It took a while before the chase of Albert got going and by that time he had a five second gap, although there were still four laps remaining on the demanding sandy course. Wellens led the chasers but one lap later the gap had grown to 13 seconds. During the following lap it grew even more, with Albert carving out half a minute on a group including Nys, Stybar, Wellens, Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) and Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant Offroad). In that chase group there was some annoyance about the lack of space on the course, especially for Nys. “The race was ruined. When you were third in the group at a dune run-up there was a good chance you came to a standstill and eventually ended up chasing 10 seconds behind,” Nys said.

Going into the last lap Wellens had a comfortable gap over rivals Nys, Stybar and Aernouts in the battle for second place. It would've been the first podium in a World Cup for the experienced Belgian this season but he faded in the latter stages of the race. “Someone who shouldn't chase me down, chased me down. Then I made a mistake in the sand. I couldn't click out of my pedal and crashed. By that time the podium was gone,” Wellens told Cyclingnews. Stybar took advantage of the delay and blasted clear to secure second place and secure his lead in the World Cup. Nys was hindered by Wellens' crash and settled for third place.

Johnson and Page suffer in the sand

US riders Timothy Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) didn't have a great day on the course that will be used for the 2012 world championships. Johnson couldn't take advantage of his front row start position and ended up riding in 33rd position. The US champion couldn't move up and eventually pulled out with two laps to go. Page started much better and rode in the front group after the first lap. After the race Page said he was hit by cramp with still three thirds of the race to go and after making a couple of mistakes, he faded and eventually finished 21st.

Full Results
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus1:06:05
2Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:27
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:31
4Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:00:32
5Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:42
6Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ0:00:56
7Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:00:58
8Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:01
9Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:03
10Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:02:43
11Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:03:02
12Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
13Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS0:03:20
14Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:03:31
15Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 930:03:48
16Marco Bianco (Ita)0:04:12
17Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus0:04:37
18Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team
19Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:04:39
20Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:04:45
21Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike0:04:54
22John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale0:05:39
23Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)0:05:52
24Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)0:06:00
25Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:06:04
26Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom0:06:29
27Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof0:07:11
28Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team-1lap
29Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor-2laps
30Laurent Colombatto (Fra) AC Bisontine
31Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team
32Timothy Johnson (USA)
33Wilant van Gils (Ned) CX Nederland
34Marco Ponta (Ita)-3laps
35Marek Cichosz (Pol) Legia-Felt
36Fabio Ursi (Ita) Buergi
37Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles
38Vladimír Kyzivát (Cze) Johnson Controls Aš Mb
39Romain Villa (Fra)
40Florian Le Corre (Fra) Flers Cyclisme 61
41David Kášek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor
42Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team
43Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus-4laps
44Tommy Nielsen (Den)
45René Lang (Swi)
46Craig Richey (Can) Cyclocrossracing.Com p/b Blue
47Jérome Chevallier (Fra) AC Bisontine
48Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv
49Xabier Garcia Irazola (Spa)
50Gusty Bausch (Lux)
51Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles
52Shaun Adamson (Can) Cycle-Smart-6laps
53Jorge Cantalicio Calero (Spa)
54Alberto Candelas Caballero (Spa)-7laps
DNFRadomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus
DNFOndrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor
DNFTom Flammang (Lux)
DNSRobert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team
DNSVáclav Metlicka (Svk) Johnson Controls Aš Mb
DNSMilan Barenyi (Svk)
DNSMartin Haring (Svk) CK Banská Bystrica
DNSRobert Glajza (Svk) BKP

World Cup standings after 3 rounds
1Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team230pts
2Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus215
3Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team181
4Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet164
5Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ160
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor147
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team145
8Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team128
9Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus123
10Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team121
11Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus114
12Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team111
13Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team103
14Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus99
15Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team95
16Marco Bianco (Ita)93
17Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing87
18Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 9386
19Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS85
20Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)83
21Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor82
22Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom71
23Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike67
24Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team63
25Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)63
26Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team62
27Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor59
28Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team57
29Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor56
30David Kášek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor53
31Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles51
32Fabio Ursi (Ita) Buergi48
33Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team46
34Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team44
35Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com44
36Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team42
37Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof42
38Jirí Polnický (Cze) Sunweb - Revor41
39Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus39
40Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus37
41Pirmin Lang (Swi) Buergi37
42Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com31
43Vladimír Kyzivát (Cze) Johnson Controls Aš Mb31
44Jérome Chevallier (Fra) AC Bisontine31
45Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team30
46John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale29
47James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com27
48Tijmen Eising (Ned) Sunweb-Revor26
49Romain Villa (Fra)26
50Laurent Colombatto (Fra) AC Bisontine25
51Marco Ponta (Ita)24
52Karel Hník (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team22
53Florian Le Corre (Fra) Flers Cyclisme 6120
54Kenneth Hansen (Den)19
55Wilant van Gils (Ned) CX Nederland18
56Marek Cichosz (Pol) Legia-Felt16
57Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole13
58Václav Metlicka (Svk) Johnson Controls Aš Mb11
59Milan Barenyi (Svk)10
60Mik Garrigan (Can)8
61Tommy Nielsen (Den)8
62Michael Schweizer (Ger) Stevens Racing Team7
63René Lang (Swi)6
64Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banská Bystrica6
65Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)6
66Craig Richey (Can) Cyclocrossracing.Com p/b Blue5
67Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv3
68David van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus3
69Xabier Garcia Irazola (Spa)2
70Robert Glajza (Svk) BKP2
71Gusty Bausch (Lux)1


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