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Kermiscross Ardooie - C2
Ardooie, Belgium, October 16, 2008
Page is best sparring partner for Albert
By Brecht Decaluwé
Just like last year Niels Albert won the mid-week cross in Ardooie. The 22-year-old Belgian outclassed the other riders by leaving them behind early on. The U23 world champion steamed over the course for half an hour and then finished at ease with still half a minute ahead of the number two, Jonathan Page.
The US-rider surprised many locals as he held off a top quality field including world champion Lars Boom and Klaas Vantornout, who recently finished second behind Sven Nys at the first Superprestige race in Ruddervoorde. Nys and Bart Wellens both skipped this mid-week race, the Belgian cross stars are focusing on the first World Cup race of the season in Kalmthout on Sunday.
When Albert attacked, Stybar tried to follow but eventually the Czech champion dropped back and a big group of about fifteen riders rode together. Nobody seemed keen on taking the initiative as they realised that the battle for the victory was already over.
"Why wait," Albert said to sport.be after the race. "I wanted to make a good training of it anyway, which I always do on Thursday and believe me, out in the forest I'm going fast as well." Halfway through the race the local riders Vantornout and Vanthourenhout rode together at more than a minute from Albert.
Fifteen seconds behind the three Belgians there was a more international group of three riders that included former triple world champion Erwin Vervecken, current world champion Boom and also Page. Albert kept going fast and his gap reached a maximum of 1'20" over a group that now included Page, who had closed the fifteen-second gap on his own.
Albert took it easy in the final moments of the race but behind him the battle for second place started to heat up. Page attacked before the sand sector – which he passed perfectly – and behind him the Belgians were struggling. Vantornout crashed in the sand and took Vanthourenhout along with him, allowing Page to take the second place.
"I rode a well thought-out race," Page said to Cyclingnews. "I took an easy start as I tried to ride smart and save energy. In a technical part of the course I tried to move up and that's how I bridged up to the group behind Albert. In the last lap I knew I had to be in front on that same technical section and in the sand pit I heard Vantornout going down, so I could create a gap. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to suffer all race long to end up nowhere, like I did last weekend," Page said.
Dieter Vanthourenhout beat Vantornout in the sprint for the remaining podium spot but the latter couldn't care too much about that. "I was just bad today," said Vantornout. "Despite feeling so bad it was good to see that I see fought for second place but in the sand I just went over the handle bars and Page was gone of course."
Dieter Vanthourenhout was relieved that he felt better than earlier this week. "I wasn't feeling great but I'm getting back to the form I had in Erpe-Mere, which is promising ahead of the World Cup in Kalmthout," Vanthourenhout said.
Dutchman Boom was happy with his sixth place in Ardooie. The world champion finished on a poor eighteenth spot in Ruddervoorde last weekend and Boom realises that his best cross form isn't quite there yet. "The cross sensations were much better than in Ruddervoorde. Last year I was only going well from Tabor on and this year I'm aiming to be good over there again; Kalmthout is probably coming a little too soon to fight along for the win," Boom said to sport.be.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Stijn Vercaemer /www.cyclingview.be
Images by Isosport/www.isosport.be
1 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans - Cras 1.04.06 2 Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike 0.38 3 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Palmans - Cras 0.49 4 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 0.59 6 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 1.00 7 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.17 8 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.23 9 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 1.27 10 Jan Soetens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 1.30 11 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 1.36 12 David Willemsens (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 2.18 13 Ben Berden (Bel) Revor Cycling Team 14 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) Sunweb Projob Cycling Team 2.20 15 Marco Bianco (Ita) L´Arcobaleno Carraro Team 2.45 16 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 2.52 17 Bjorn Rondelez (Bel) Lingier Versluys Beachbikers Team VZW 2.58 18 Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 3.05 19 Ian Field (GBr) 3.13 20 Gianni Denolf (Bel) Palmans - Cras 3.32 21 Geert Wellens (Bel) AVB-USSspa Cycling Team Kasterlee 3.54 22 Kris Lapere (Bel) MEZ Team Belgium Snellegem 4.05 23 Frederik Herpol (Bel) MBK - Delsol Team 4.26 24 Michael Muller (Swi) 25 Nico Clarysse (Bel) Cyclingteam Oost-West VZW 4.32 26 Bjorn Selander (USA) Ridley Factory Team 4.35 27 Steven De Caluwe (Bel) SDC - Rogelli Cycling Team 5.35 28 Daniel Summerhill (USA) Felt-VMG U23 Team 6.32 29 Geoffrey Clochez (Fra) 6.35 30 Julien Laidoun (Fra) 6.41 31 Crespo Vazquez (Spa) Aquagest Club Ciclista 6.52 32 Camiel Van Den Bergh (Ned) Rendementhypo.be CT 33 Stefano Boggia (Ita) 34 Adam Myerson (USA) Time Pro Cycling 35 Steve Gruwier (Bel) SDC - Rogelli Cycling Team 36 Jo Naert (Bel) Lingier Versluys Beachbikers Team VZW 37 Steven De Schoesitter (Bel) Rudyco Cycling Team
2007 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans Cras 2006 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 2005 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cyclocrossteam 2004 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Quickstep - Davitamon 2003 Wim Jacobs (Bel) Spaar Select 2002 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Spaar Select 2001 Bart Wellens (Bel) Spaar Select 2000 Peter Van Santvliet (Bel) Spaarselect