World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) soloed to victory in the last round of the World Cup in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. Despite his rib injury the Belgian was able to hold off Telenet-Fidea teammates Zdenek Stybar and Kevin Pauwels on the slippery course. The second place finish for Stybar - not contested by teammate Pauwels - was enough to finish four points ahead of Albert in the overall classification of the World Cup.
Albert had a terrible start and ended up riding in the pinball game in the middle of the bunch, together with US champion Timothy Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com). The world champion recovered well and started moving up towards a lead group of six riders that featured Sven Nys, Zdenek Stybar, Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank), Erwin Vervecken (Baboco-Revor) and a surprisingly strong Jonathan Page (Planet Bike).
During the fourth lap Albert joined the leaders where Nys and Stybar were setting the pace. Albert then powered to the lead and never eased off. Only Nys was able to keep up with the world champion but one lap later Nys clearly blew his engine and the Belgian champion opted to let Albert ride away. "I did what I could but it wasn't possible to go any faster," Nys told Sporza after the race.
Albert was eventually brought back but one lap later he accelerated again and this time got away with Stybar, the World Cup leader, and his Belgian teammate Pauwels. If Albert won the race Stybar needed to finish second to defend his World Cup lead and the presence of Stybar's teammate Pauwels was the ideal scenario for the Czech champion.
During the last lap Stybar and Albert dueled at the head of the race, hitting corners shoulder-to-shoulder. A minor mistake from Stybar was enough for Albert to create the decisive gap and grab his fourth World Cup win of the season. After the race Albert explained that he was able to start the race without stress. "After Roubaix I was disappointed on how I lost the World Cup. I enjoyed the training week in Spain and had no stress entering this race. I went full gas all race long because I wanted to have good sensations after this race," Albert told Sporza.
Crossing the finish line in second place, Stybar raised his hands in the air, too, as he was certain of the overall win in the World Cup. The Czech champion thanked his teammate Pauwels for his presence and help in front, which allowed Stybar to grab the World Cup title. "It was a really hard race for me but I'm really glad I could keep the jersey. I made a lot of mistakes but had to finish second if Albert won; Pauwels will receive a bottle of champagne," Stybar told Sporza.
Behind the top-three, Klaas Vantornout added another strong performance to his long list by finishing fourth, 42 seconds behind Albert. A group of four riders battled for fifth place with Nys besting Vervecken, De Knegt and Page.
All other US and UK-riders fell far off the top-10. US champion Timothy Johnson finished 32nd while his teammates Jamey Driscoll and Jeremy Powers crossed the line in 40th and 51st place. Troy Wells and Ryan Trebon had a terrible start and neither finished the race. UK riders Jody Crawforth, Ian Field and Paul Oldham finished 45th, 48th and 49th.
|1||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - Powerplus||1:02:37|
|2||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Telenet - Fidea||0:00:07|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Telenet - Fidea|
|4||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Revor||0:00:42|
|5||Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet||0:00:49|
|6||Erwin Vervecken (Belgium)||0:00:52|
|7||Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank||0:00:55|
|8||Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike||0:01:06|
|9||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank||0:01:22|
|10||Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus||0:01:29|
|11||Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Revor||0:01:30|
|12||Martin Zlamalik (Czech Republic)||0:01:31|
|13||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Bkcp - Powerplus||0:01:32|
|14||Christian Heule (Switzerland)||0:01:34|
|15||Petr Dlask (Cze) Telenet - Fidea||0:01:35|
|16||Nicolas Bazin (France)||0:01:47|
|17||Francis Mourey (Fra) Française Des Jeux||0:02:00|
|18||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) BKCP - Powerplus||0:02:09|
|19||John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale||0:02:14|
|20||Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland)||0:02:22|
|21||Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands)||0:02:28|
|22||Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy)||0:02:41|
|23||Bart Wellens (Be) Telenet - Fidea||0:03:00|
|24||Martin Bina (Czech Republic)||0:03:10|
|25||Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom||0:03:31|
|26||Thijs Al (Netherlands)||0:03:40|
|27||Wilant Van Gils (Netherlands)||0:03:46|
|28||Marco Bianco (Italy)||0:03:52|
|29||Marcel Wildhaber (Switzerland)||0:03:53|
|30||Mariusz Gil (Poland)|
|31||Jérome Chevallier (France)||0:03:57|
|32||Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:03:59|
|33||David Derepas (France)||0:04:00|
|34||Laurent Colombatto (France)||0:04:04|
|35||Magnus Darvell (Sweden)||0:04:09|
|36||Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Van Vliet Ebh Elshof||0:04:19|
|37||Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Continental Team Differdange||0:04:34|
|38||Kamil Ausbuher (Czech Republic)||0:04:38|
|39||Bram Schmitz (Ned) Van Vliet Ebh Elshof||0:04:39|
|40||James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com|
|41||Fabio Ursi (Italy)||0:04:49|
|42||Luca Damiani (Ita) Kenda Presented By Gear Grinder||0:04:57|
|43||Joachim Parbo (Denmark)||0:05:05|
|44||Patrick Van Leeuwen (Netherlands)||0:05:09|
|45||Jody Crawforth (Great Britain)||0:05:12|
|46||Johannes Sickmueller (Germany)||0:05:17|
|47||Keiichi Tsujiura (Japan)||0:05:35|
|48||Ian Field (Great Britain)||0:05:51|
|49||Paul Oldham (Great Britain)||0:05:55|
|50||Ivar Hartogs (Netherlands)||0:06:29|
|51||Jeremy Powers (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:06:38|
|52||Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Netherlands)||0:06:48|
|53||René Lang (Switzerland)||0:07:18|
|54||Andreas Moser (Switzerland)||0:07:30|
|55 -1lap||Mike Garrigan (Canada)|
|56||Gusty Bausch (Luxembourg)|
|57 -2laps||Peter Presslauer (Austria)|
|58 -3laps||Erik Box (Canada)|
|59 -4laps||Ariunbold Naranbat (Mongolia)|
|60||Boldbaatar Bold-Erdene (Mongolia)|
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