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Albert unstoppable in Igorre mud

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Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde stayed with the leaders early in the race.

Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde stayed with the leaders early in the race.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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It was nothing but mud for the World Cup in Igorre

It was nothing but mud for the World Cup in Igorre
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Mud.

Mud.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Niels Albert miraculously mud-free after his World Cup win in Igorre.

Niels Albert miraculously mud-free after his World Cup win in Igorre.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Wellens beneath several kilo's of mud.

Bart Wellens beneath several kilo's of mud.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Sven Nys only managed a third place in Igorre

Sven Nys only managed a third place in Igorre
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus) on his way to the World Cup victory in Igorre

Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus) on his way to the World Cup victory in Igorre
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) had a brilliant race, but wound up missing the podium

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) had a brilliant race, but wound up missing the podium
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant)

Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant)
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Niels Albert is the new leader of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup after round four in Igorre.

Niels Albert is the new leader of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup after round four in Igorre.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Men's podium (l-r): Francis Mourey, Niels Albert, Sven Nys

Men's podium (l-r): Francis Mourey, Niels Albert, Sven Nys
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Winner Niels Albert managed to wipe some of the grime off of his chest to showcase his sponsors at .the finish line.

Winner Niels Albert managed to wipe some of the grime off of his chest to showcase his sponsors at .the finish line.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) dries to find some firmer ground along the barriers.

Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) dries to find some firmer ground along the barriers.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) pulls away from French champion Francis Mourey.

Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) pulls away from French champion Francis Mourey.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Niels Albert celebrates his second World Cup victory of the season.

Niels Albert celebrates his second World Cup victory of the season.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) dropped his chase companions to finish alone in third place.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) dropped his chase companions to finish alone in third place.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) pushes the pace at the front of the race.

French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) pushes the pace at the front of the race.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sven Nys powers through the sloppy parcours in Igorre, Spain.

Sven Nys powers through the sloppy parcours in Igorre, Spain.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team) en route to a 5th place finish in Igorre.

Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea Cycling Team) en route to a 5th place finish in Igorre.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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There was no shortage of mud for the World Cup race in Igorre, Spain.

There was no shortage of mud for the World Cup race in Igorre, Spain.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Belgian champion Sven Nys rides to a podium finish.

Belgian champion Sven Nys rides to a podium finish.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb - Revor) is hardly recognizable beneath the mud.

Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb - Revor) is hardly recognizable beneath the mud.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The men's field tackle a slick run-up early in the race.

The men's field tackle a slick run-up early in the race.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Switzerland's Marcel Wildhaber (Scott - Swisspower MTB-Racing) led the race on the race on the opening lap.

Switzerland's Marcel Wildhaber (Scott - Swisspower MTB-Racing) led the race on the race on the opening lap.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Igorre World Cup became a two-man race between Niels Albert, left, and Francis Mourey.

The Igorre World Cup became a two-man race between Niels Albert, left, and Francis Mourey.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cleaning up the mud while creating more mud...

Cleaning up the mud while creating more mud...
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb Revor)

Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb Revor)
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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The pit crews had their work cut out for them in Igorre

The pit crews had their work cut out for them in Igorre
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde leads Sven Nys in Igorre

Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde leads Sven Nys in Igorre
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink Cycling Team) finished 16th in Igorre.

Thijs van Amerongen (AA Drink Cycling Team) finished 16th in Igorre.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Early winter storms blanketed the mountains near Igorre in snow

Early winter storms blanketed the mountains near Igorre in snow
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) celebrates his World Cup win in Igorre, the Belgian's second of the season.

Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) celebrates his World Cup win in Igorre, the Belgian's second of the season.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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A muddy Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) has won his second straight World Cup 'cross race.

A muddy Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) has won his second straight World Cup 'cross race.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) finished in second place, 17 seconds behind Albert.

French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) finished in second place, 17 seconds behind Albert.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) finished in third place.

Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) finished in third place.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Fifth place finisher Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea)

Fifth place finisher Kevin Pauwels (Telenet - Fidea)
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Bart Aernouts (Rabobank - Giant Off Road Team) covered in mud from the Igorre, Spain circuit.

Bart Aernouts (Rabobank - Giant Off Road Team) covered in mud from the Igorre, Spain circuit.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Men's podium (l-r): Francis Mourey (FDJ), 2nd; Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus), 1st; Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet), 3rd

Men's podium (l-r): Francis Mourey (FDJ), 2nd; Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus), 1st; Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet), 3rd
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) became the new leader of the World Cup series.

Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) became the new leader of the World Cup series.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)

Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) convincingly won the fourth round of the UCI's cyclo-cross World Cup in Igorre, Spain. Albert now moves into the World Cup lead as a result of the absence of the injured previous leader Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea). It is the former world champions Albert’s second World Cup win in a row.

“I've got a hard training week behind me and my legs didn't feel 100 percent but it was enough for the victory so I'm satisfied,” Albert told Sporza. Despite his absence at the start of the season, the young Belgian now tops the World Cup standings. “It was the only classification that was still within my reach; I did a good job here in Igorre.”

On a tough muddy course in the Basque region, it was French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) who finished as runner-up, 17 seconds behind Albert. “It's pleasing to be on the podium. I've battled with Niels Albert and Sven Nys. Hopefully I can beat them one day, maybe at the world championships,” Mourey told Sporza.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) joined Albert and Mourey on the Spanish podium and the Belgian champion was pleased with the outcome. “I'm satisfied with third place and expected nothing more. I have a good base but not a lot of sharpness at the moment due to the training load,” Nys said.

Despite travel problems posed by the Spanish air traffic controllers’ strike, most of the favourites lined up at the start line in Igorre. The most important absentee was the world champion Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea), who is taking a break until the end of the year due to a knee injury.

Right after the start, some unfamiliar riders appeared at the front as the 37 starters sprinted into the mud. Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-Swisspower) didn't spare his energy and broke clear of the peloton during the first lap. Soon after that the Swiss rider faded back as the favourites turned on the gas.

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) and Mourey put distance into the rest of the big guns, while one surprising name was still present: local rider Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde. During the third lap Mourey dropped Wellens but one lap later the Belgian was replaced by his compatriot Niels Albert. Wellens faded further back and he was eventually joined by fellow Belgians Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea), Nys and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor).

“On this course it was better to ride alone. It's hard to overtake other riders because of the deep tracks. That's why I chose to ride in front. I had a good time,” Albert said.

Albert and Mourey created a gap of half a minute on this chasing group and it was soon clear that the winner was going to come from the front duo. During the seventh lap the race was decided when Albert upped the pace. Mourey was unable to hold Albert's wheel and slowly lost the battle.

With two laps to go, Albert had a gap of 12 seconds on Mourey while Nys had dropped the other Belgians for third place. The situation remained the same during the closing laps and Albert racked up his second win of the season. Mourey rolled across the line in second place, well ahead of Belgians Nys, Wellens, Pauwels and Vantornout. Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant Offroad) won a sprint for seventh place from his Dutch teammate Gerben de Knegt.

German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) claimed ninth place just ahead of Christian Heule. The first Spaniard in Igorre was Murgoitio Rekalde, who surprised with a strong eleventh place on the demanding course.

Full Results
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus1:06:43
2Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ0:00:17
3Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:39
4Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:00:55
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:01:07
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor0:01:33
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:01:48
8Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team0:01:49
9Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:11
10Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS0:02:17
11Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)0:02:27
12Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team0:02:31
13Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:35
14Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus0:02:41
15Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 930:02:54
16Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:03:17
17Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing0:03:38
18Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team0:04:16
19Marco Bianco (Ita)0:04:18
20Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:04:37
21Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team0:04:57
22Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof0:05:04
23Romain Villa (Fra)0:05:52
24Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles
25Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)
26Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus
27Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus
28Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team
29Guillaume Perrot (Fra)
30David Lozano Riba (Spa)
31Daniel Ruiz Echeandia (Spa)
32Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team
33Geert van der Horst (Ned)
34Mauro Gonzalez Fontan (Spa)
35Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa)
36David Juarez Alday (Spa)

Elite Men UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup standings after 4 rounds
1Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus295pts
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team236
3Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team230
4Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ230
5Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet229
6Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor197
7Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team193
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team181
9Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team174
10Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus167
11Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP-Powerplus152
12Eddy van Ijzendoorn (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team144
13Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team138
14Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus136
15Christian Heule (Swi) Champion System LBS127
16Mariusz Gil (Pol) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team125
17Marco Bianco (Ita)125
18Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 93122
19Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing121
20Egoitz Murgoitio Rekalde (Spa)103
21Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned)83
22Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor82
23Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team81
24Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Stevens Racing Team80
25Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom71
26Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet EBH Elshof71
27Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike67
28Thijs Al (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team63
29Mitchell Huenders (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus63
30Radomir Simunek Jr. (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus62
31Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team62
32Martin Zlámalík (Cze) Sunweb - Revor59
33Ondrej Bambula (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor56
34Romain Villa (Fra)54
35David Kášek (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor53
36Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles51
37Sacha Weber (Ger) Stevens Racing Team49
38Fabio Ursi (Ita) Buergi48
39Robert Gavenda (Svk) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team46
40Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team44
41Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com44
42Jirí Polnický (Cze) Sunweb - Revor41
43Pirmin Lang (Swi) Buergi37
44Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)31
45Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com31
46Vladimír Kyzivát (Cze) Johnson Controls Aš Mb31
47Jérome Chevallier (Fra) AC Bisontine31
48John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale29
49Joachim Parbo (Den) Kch Leopard Cycles27
50James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com27
51Isaac Suarez Fernandez (Spa)26
52Tijmen Eising (Ned) Sunweb-Revor26
53Laurent Colombatto (Fra) AC Bisontine25
54Marco Ponta (Ita)24
55Guillaume Perrot (Fra)22
56Karel Hník (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team22
57David Lozano Riba (Spa)21
58Daniel Ruiz Echeandia (Spa)20
59Florian Le Corre (Fra) Flers Cyclisme 6120
60Kenneth Hansen (Den)19
61Geert van der Horst (Ned)18
62Wilant van Gils (Ned) CX Nederland18
63Mauro Gonzalez Fontan (Spa)17
64Erlantz Uriarte Okamika (Spa)16
65Marek Cichosz (Pol) Legia-Felt16
66David Juarez Alday (Spa)15
67Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole13
68Václav Metlicka (Svk) Johnson Controls Aš Mb11
69Milan Barenyi (Svk)10
70Mik Garrigan (Can)8
71Tommy Nielsen (Den)8
72Michael Schweizer (Ger) Stevens Racing Team7
73René Lang (Swi)6
74Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banská Bystrica6
75Mirko Tabacchi (Ita)6
76Craig Richey (Can) Cyclocrossracing.Com p/b Blue5
77Rene Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvesterhude Rv3
78David van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus3
79Xabier Garcia Irazola (Spa)2
80Robert Glajza (Svk) BKP2
81Gusty Bausch (Lux)1

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