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Superprestige #6 Hoogstraten- C1
Hoogstraten, Belgium, February 3, 2008
Albert buys himself a birthday present
By Brecht Decaluwé
Niels Albert took advantage of the battle between Sven Nys and his rival Bart Wellens for the overall classification in the Superprestige Series, using that game to jump away from the lead group midway through the race while Nys and Wellens watched each other. Nobody was able to bridge up to the U23 world champion, who is clearly the strongest rider of the moment in cyclo-cross.
"I've been riding really strong since the Belgian championships, and this weekend I was very motivated to show that the U23 world champion is able to beat the elite guys," Albert said, and he then explained what had been motivating him so well this weekend. "I'm turning 22 on Tuesday and I wanted to give myself a nice present," the young Belgian smiled.
Newly crowned elite world champion Lars Boom decided not to start in Hoogstraten due to fatigue. Behind Albert, UCI-leader Sven Nys successfully defended his lead over Bart Wellens in the overall classification, making the last event in Vorselaar next week redundant. Belgian champion Nys was helped by a stumble in the sand from Wellens during the last lap.
Albert didn't worry much about this background battle and steamed towards another big win in his fantastic season. Although he had predicted that team-mate Simunek would be the man to beat on Sunday, he left the Czech rider without a chance. "After a couple of laps I noticed that Simunek wasn't so good and we looked each other in the eyes. When you train with each other day in, day out, then you know what to do; the strongest man would go for the win," Albert explained.
Sven Nys was another happy man at the finish line as he managed to secure his eighth overall win in the Superprestige Series. "I came here to secure my classification. I had no other goals as I feel it's over for me. Making the conclusion is easy: next year I'll have to ride fewer races," Nys talked about the lack of form that has been bothering him the last month. "They tried to grant the overall win to someone other than me, but still I manage to claim the series for the eighth time; that proves that I'm the most consistent rider of the field," Nys said.
Wellens was a disappointed man in sixth place, one place behind his rival for the overall classification in the Superprestige Series. The Belgian Fidea-rider cursed himself for a crash during the final lap which dropped him from third to sixth place. Wellens needed to finish ahead of Nys to stay in the hunt for the ovall, but due to his stumble he had no chance to overtake the UCI-leader. "Stupid last climb," Wellens acknowledged that he lost all chances in the sandy hill.
"I just had to consolidate my position and fend off Nys, but then that hill came. I couldn't ride it up and instead of stepping away to the left, I lost my balance and stumbled to the right. Anyway, I felt this wasn't a real cyclo-cross course," Wellens explained while cursing about the lost chance. "The luck I had yesterday in the GvA-trophy was lacking here, but that's sport I guess. The only goal left this season is Vorselaar [his home race]," Wellens expressed his hope to claim at least one more victory this season.
Czech champion Zdenek Stybar had a great start, but he was the man who couldn't stay on Niels Albert's wheel when he attacked halfway through the race. "It was the same as yesterday as I was leading during the first few laps, but then he jumped away when I made a mistake. Nevertheless I am very satisfied with my performance. I'm still in good form and want to improve all my rankings in the upcoming weeks," Stybar said.
Sven Vanthourenhout finished on the podium in a big race for the first time this season and he was satisfied with his current form. "I can't be unhappy as I'm on the podium for the first time in a while. I've got the good sensations back and I feel like I'm a rider again," the Sunweb-rider said. In the sprint he was beaten by Stybar, but managed to hold off Simunek. Still there was a bad feeling about that sprint as it was clear that Vanthourenhout moved to the right to block Simunek who came through a small gap. "I didn't know Simunek was there and moved to the right. I didn't give allow him any space, something I didn't want to give him but he was blocked for only half a second," Vanthourenhout explained.
Jonathan Page - sole American at the start – led the race during the third lap when there was still a big group together. The Sunweb-rider dropped away halfway through the race, but then managed to bounce back and claim a strong tenth place, his best result in a Superprestige race this season.
How it unfolded
The surprise from the world championships in Treviso, Italian Alessandro Fontana, took the best start and led the bunch from the gun. Klaas Vantornout took over, but then Stybar launched the first serious attack of the race. The Czech champion got away with Vantornout and Fontana.
Going into the third of ten laps Simunek – who just came back to the leaders – jumped away on the finish line. His team-mate Albert, Nys, Stybar, Fontana and Vantornout followed swiftly. A couple of seconds later Erwin Vervecken followed with Vanthourenhout, Page and Wellens on his wheel. The American took over when the speed dropped in the front and he led the big group throughout the third lap; it was the fastest lap of the race at 6'04.
Niels Albert accelerated during the fourth lap and Stybar, Nys and Sven Vanthourenhout were alert and followed the U23 world champion. Page was the first chaser ahead of Fontana, Simunek and three Fidea-riders behind him. Halfway through the lap Albert accelerated again and Stybar had to drop a couple of metres on the young Belgian. At the finish line Albert had ten seconds on Nys, Stybar and Vanthourenhout.
Midway through the next lap Nys sat up in the chasing group and dropped back to a group with his direct rival for the GC, Bart Wellens. Albert extended his lead up to 15", but then made a mistake and was tripped up in the sand. Simunek led the group behind his team-mate, but didn't seem to drop his speed.
Albert extended his gap on twelve chasers to 25 seconds on lap six, including all the big names except for French champion Mourey and Richard Groenendaal. More riders were coming back to the main group where no real chase was organized, making Albert's lead grow up to more than 40 seconds.
During the seventh lap Wellens moved up to the front, showing he was still keen on being a threat for Nys in the GC. The UCI-leader was riding six positions further and when Simunek got stuck in the sand, and Wellens was gone. Meanwhile Fontana went down in a slippery corner, and while Sven Vanthourenhout barely managed to avoid a collision with the Italian – Nys slipped and went down as well. Fontana had mechanical problems and was confronted with a long distance walk to the pit, while Nys could continue without a problem.
Stybar launched a comeback on his team-mate Wellens, and he dropped Simunek, Vanthourenhout, Pauwels and Nys. With two laps to go, Albert had 45" on Stybar, who was doing the most work, and Wellens. Nys pulled himself back to the two men in front while riding at 55" from leader Albert.
Nys' group bridged up towards the two Fidea-riders where Wellens was suffering to stay on Stybar's wheel. The Czech champion jumped away right when Nys joined them. For some reason Wellens didn't allow Stybar to get away and he brought Nys, Vanthourenhout and Simunek back to the best position to battle for second place.
While Stybar and Sven Vanthourenhout moved up into Wellens' wheel, Nys was still at the back of the group. There was major upset in the Fidea-camp when Wellens went down in the sand and Nys immediately decided to launch an attack as he realized it would become an impossible job for Wellens to overtake him during the last lap.
While Niels Albert crossed the line, Nys kept leading Stybar and Sven Vanthourenhout. Nys allowed the others to go as he realized the overall victory in the Superprestige Series was his. Stybar sprinted to the second place ahead of Sven Vanthourenhout who held off Simunek with a strange manoeuvre.
Nys didn't bother sprinting, as he was sure to finish ahead of Wellens. Four Fidea-riders crossed the line, and a couple of seconds later Page closed down the top ten. Despite his bad luck, Fontana managed to claim a good result; the Italian champion beat Rob Peeters in the sprint for 12th place. No real surprises were noted today, although there were poor performances from Francis Mourey and Richard Groenendaal who didn't bother battling for glory.
Elite Men 1 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Cras 2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 3 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 4 Radomír Simunek (Cze) Palmans-Cras 5 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 6 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 7 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 8 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 9 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 10 Jonathan Page (USA) Sunweb-Pro Job 11 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 12 Alessandro Fontana (Ita) Gruppo Sportivo Forestale 13 Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 14 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 15 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne-Chain Reaction Cycles 16 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans-Cras 17 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 18 Marco Bianco (Ita) Arcobaleno Carraro 19 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sports Drinks 20 Arne Daelmans (Bel) 21 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 22 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 23 Marius Gil (Pol) 24 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Easypay Cyclocross Team U23 1 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 50.10 2 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.08 3 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) CT Van Vliet EBH Advocaten 4 Lukás Kloucek (Cze) Selle Italia Guerciotti 5 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.33 6 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank 0.43 7 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) 1.03 8 Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 1.09 9 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Team Löwik Meubelen 10 Jan Van Dael (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 11 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Edegem BC 12 René Lang (Swi) 13 Joeri Adams (Bel) Rabobank 1.33 14 Davy De Scheemaeker (Bel) A.W.S. Cycling Team Kasterlee 15 Rik van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Palmans-Cras 1.43 16 Kristof Cop (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 1.54 17 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 2.01 18 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 2.08 19 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) Jan Van Arckel 2.20 20 Giovanni Denolf (Bel) Palmans-Cras 21 Jerry Kallenfels (Ned) Easypay Cyclocross Team 3.23 22 Kenneth Verdickt (Bel) Scott USA Cycling Team 23 Kristof Zegers (Bel) WSC Jonge Renners - Booischot 3.28 24 Dennis Verhoeven (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 3.46 25 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans-Cras 4.05 26 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 4.14 27 Jordy Van Erp (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 4.22 28 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 4.28 29 Bart Hermans (Bel) Balen BC 4.50 30 Edwin Arts (Ned) 5.28 31 Vincent Van Hooste (Bel) Asfra Racing Team 32 Wim Thijs (Bel) Edegem BC 33 Dries Pauwels (Bel) Juniors 1 Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) 38.11 2 Sean De Bie (Bel) 0.34 3 Stef Boden (Bel) 4 Tijmen Eising (Ned) 0.56 5 Lars van der Haar (Ned) 1.01 6 Geert van der Horst (Ned) 1.09 7 Zeb Willems (Bel) 8 Harm Van Der Sanden (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 1.30 9 Sven Beelen (Bel) 10 Jasper Ockeloen (Ned) 11 Matthias Bossuyt (Bel) 1.43 12 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) 1.49 13 Michiel Dieleman (Bel) 1.59 14 Wietse Bosmans (Bel) 15 Daan Meijers (Ned) 16 Arnaud Grand (Swi) 2.11 17 Corné van Kessel (Ned) 2.15 18 Valentijn Van de Velde (Bel) 2.18 19 Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) 2.33 20 Kaj Slenter (Ned) 21 Kevin Smit (Ned) 2.49 22 Michael Winterberg (Ger) 23 Simon Geets (Bel) 24 Jonathan Bervoets (Bel) 2.54 25 Niels Koyen (Bel) 26 Valentin Scherz (Swi) 3.00 27 Ritchie Denolf (Bel) 3.36 28 Bas Krauwel (Ned) 4.04 29 Kenny Maes (Bel) 4.09 30 Thomas Gysbrechts (Bel) 4.17 31 Bart Barkhuis (Ned) 32 Robin Poelvoorde (Bel) 4.27 33 Sieën Veestraeten (Bel) 4.45 34 Sam Van Hemelen (Bel) 4.49 35 Jonas De Boey (Bel) 5.19 36 Raf Risbourg (Bel) 5.32 37 Robby Cobbaert (Bel) 5.41 38 Jens Joosen (Bel) 39 Jelle Storms (Bel) 40 Lennerd Van den Bleeken (Bel) 41 Dimi Diels (Bel) 42 Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) One lap behind 43 Cees de Ridder (Ned) 44 Kristiaan Claeskens (Bel) 45 Martinez De Luis (Spa) 46 Joachim Janssens (Bel) 47 Jens Van den Bosch (Bel) 48 Dimitri Michielsen (Bel) 49 Rutger La Haye (Bel) 50 Kevin Deboel (Bel) Novices 1 Laurens Sweeck (Bel) 27.00 2 Bart De Vocht (Bel) 3 Mike Teunissen (Ned) 0.22 4 Diether Sweeck (Bel) 0.37 5 Jesper Baelen (Bel) 6 Robin Wennekes (Ned) 0.41 7 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) 1.04 8 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) 1.06 9 Jens Adams (Bel) 1.25 10 Jelle Cant (Bel) 1.50 11 Tim Merlier (Bel) 2.05 12 Hendrik Sweeck (Bel) 13 Niels Van den Driessche (Bel) 14 Joeri Hofman (Bel) 15 Tijs Van Aert (Bel) 2.12 16 Jeroen Meijers (Ned) 2.15 17 Rob Leemans (Bel) 18 Simon Lapeire (Bel) 19 Jordy Van Staeyen (Bel) 2.18 20 Leander Bertels (Bel) 3.00 21 Daniel Peeters (Bel) 3.03 22 Frederik Geerts (Bel) 23 Ben Kerrebrouck (Bel) 24 Jeffrey Mellemans (Bel) 3.25 25 Nick van Dijke (Ned) 3.37 26 Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) 3.55 27 Toni Geeraerts (Bel) 4.05 28 Yoeri Bertels (Bel) 4.35 29 Joshua Omez (Bel) 5.10 30 Joeri Vermeiren (Bel) 5.22 31 Robin Delanghe (Bel) 5.36 32 Kris Vermeir (Bel) 6.00 33 Robin Van den Bruel (Bel) 6.21 34 Jellen Schiettecatte (Bel) 6.41 35 Eelke van der Horst (Ned) 36 Klaas Vermetten (Bel) 7.09 37 Dieter Peeters (Bel) 38 Maaike Lanssens (Bel) Superprestige standings U23 standings after six rounds 1 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) CT Van Vliet EBH Advocaten 80 pts 2 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) 71 3 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 67 4 Bart Verschueren (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 44 5 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank 40 6 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 34 7 Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 33 8 Jan Van Dael (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 31 9 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Heinz von Heiden Focus 30 10 Paul Voss (Ger) 25 11 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 12 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans-Cras 13 Joeri Adams (Bel) Rabobank 14 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Team Löwik Meubelen 24 pts 15 Wim Leemans (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 23 16 Maxim Debusschere (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 22 17 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 20 18 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) Jan Van Arckel 16 19 Hans Becking (Ned) BeOne-Chain Reaction Cycles 15 20 Lukás Kloucek (Cze) Selle Italia Guerciotti 12 21 Kevin Eeckhout (Bel) Sunweb-Pro Job 11 22 Remco Broers (Ned) 9 23 Giovanni Denolf (Bel) Palmans-Cras 8 24 Dave De Cleyn (Bel) 6 25 René Lang (Swi) 26 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Edegem BC 5 pts 27 Kevin Cant (Bel) AWS Cycling Team Kasterlee 28 Jaimey Driscoll (USA) FiordiFrutta Elite 4 pts 29 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Asfra Racing Team 30 Twan van den Brand (Ned) 31 Davy De Scheemaeker (Bel) A.W.S. Cycling Team Kasterlee 2 pts 32 Bart Bruyndonckx (Bel) 33 Rik van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Palmans-Cras 1 Juniors 1 Stef Boden (Bel) 81 pts 2 Tijmen Eising (Ned) 66 3 Harm Van Der Sanden (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil-Merida 52 4 Geert van der Horst (Ned) 51 5 Arnaud Grand (Swi) 50 6 Jasper Ockeloen (Ned) 42 7 Lars van der Haar (Ned) 38 8 Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) 28 9 Sean De Bie (Bel) 21 10 Kaj Slenter (Ned) 11 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) 19 pts 12 Sven Beelen (Bel) 18 13 Marek Konwa (Pol) 14 Peter Sagan (Svk) 15 Wietse Bosmans (Bel) 16 Matthias Bossuyt (Bel) 15 pts 17 Valentin Scherz (Swi) 18 Kevin Smit (Ned) 19 Bas Krauwel (Ned) 14 pts 20 Matthias Rupp (Swi) 21 Zeb Willems (Bel) 13 pts 22 Steven van Leijen (Ned) 12 23 Simon Geets (Bel) 11 24 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) 25 Micki van Empel (Ned) 26 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) 10 pts 27 Ruben Veestraeten (Bel) 28 Michael Winterberg (Ger) 9 pts 29 Vinnie Braet (Bel) 8 30 Michiel Dieleman (Bel) 7 31 Tommy van Beem (Ned) 6 32 Corné van Kessel (Ned) 33 Bart Barkhuis (Ned) 4 pts 34 Steven Galens (Bel) 35 Rob van der Heijden (Ned) 2 pts 36 Petr Marvan (Cze) 37 Gregor Lendemann (Swi) 38 Daan Meijers (Ned) 1
Men 2007 Sven Nys (Bel) 2006 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 2005 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) 2004 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) 2003 Sven Nijs (Bel) 2001 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) 2000 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) 1999 Sven Nijs (Bel) 1998 Bart Wellens (Bel) 1997 Peter Willemsens (Bel) 1995 Paul Herijgers (Bel) 1994 Peter Willemsens (Bel) 1993 Paul Herijgers (Bel) 1992 Gustaaf Van Bouwel (Bel) 1991 Dirk Pauwels (Bel) 1990 Wim Lambrechts (Bel) 1989 Kurt De Roose (Bel) Women 2000 Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned)