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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #8 - CDM
Liévin, France, January 13, 2008
Race 2 - January 13: U23 Men
Albert way stronger than the rest
By Brecht Decaluwé in Liévin
Niels Albert, who rides the World Cup races in the Under 23 category despite successfully racing against the elite men throughout the season, demonstrated to his rivals in Liévin, France, that there's not much that can be done to stop his warpath towards the World Championships. The 21 year-old Belgian from Baal – like 'cross great Sven Nys – won the seventh round over Aurélien Duval and Paul Voss on what he had considered a bad day.
"It was awful," Albert claimed after the finish. "I've got an intensive training week under my belt, and the result was that I didn't feel good today. It just didn't go as usual; I didn't fly over the course."
Despite these sensations Albert dominated the race from the third lap on. Before that there was a short spell in the lead by the French champion Duval. He finished about forty seconds behind the man with sore legs. "Apparently it wasn't so bad after all," he grinned after Albert's 'bad condition' was noted to him.
By racing in the Under 23 category at the World Cup races, it is possible for Albert to get a good starting position at the World Championships in Treviso where he wants nothing else but the title. "From now on I'm steadily building up towards the World Championships," Albert continued.
Duval took a flying start and managed to create a good gap on the bunch. As expected Albert joined him after one lap and then left the French champion behind to start a long solo effort. "I wanted and managed to take a quick start," Duval said of his tactics. When Albert joined him, the talented young French rider didn't bother to follow the Belgian too long. "I let him go and focused on the second place. Albert is racing and beating the elite riders all year long, so I must remain realistic," Duval noted.
At the World Championships Duval does believe he will have a chance. "My main goal is to finish on the podium, but I'm hoping for more. You never know what happens, and maybe we can ride tactically with the French team, although normally Albert should win without any problem."
German talent Voss finished third and managed to keep Thijs Van Amerongen at a safe distance by the finish. Behind these four riders there was a huge gap on fifth-placed Jempy Drucker and the rest of the field.
The North Americans at the start in Liévin couldn't pull off a decent performance. Nicholas Weighall was the top USA-finisher in 33rd position; he was forced to stop the race as he was lapped with two to go. Chance Noble was lapped with three to go and finished 36th. Canadians Kyle Douglas and Shaune Adamson finished 38th and 39th. Carson Miller didn't finish the race, and will mainly remember the race for his search of the doping control location.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Brecht Decaluwé/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Isosport
1 Niels Albert (Bel) Palmans-Cras 53.27 2 Aurelien Duval (Fra) 0.40 3 Paul Voss (Ger) 0.52 4 Van Amerongen Thijs 1.05 5 Jempy Drucker (Lux) Fidea Cycling Team 2.12 6 Clément Bourgoin (Fra) 2.37 7 Julien Pion (Fra) 2.48 8 Jonathan Lopez (Fra) 2.55 9 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Rabobank 3.02 10 Guillaume Perrot (Fra) 3.10 11 Lukas Kloucek (Cze) 3.16 12 Boy Van Poppel (Ned) 3.22 13 Robert Gavenda (Svk) 3.41 14 Ivar Hartogs (Ned) 3.50 15 Ondrej Bambula (Cze) 3.57 16 Thibaud Taboury (Fra) 4.01 17 Marco Ponta (Ita) 4.04 18 Yannik-Johannes Tiedt (Ger) 4.07 19 Stijn Huys (Bel) Palmans-Cras 4.30 20 Yann Le Queau (Fra) 4.40 21 René Lang (Swi) 4.44 22 Jiri Polnicky (Cze) 4.50 23 Joeri Adams (Bel) Rabobank 5.00 24 Nico Brüngger (Swi) 5.16 25 Ole Quast (Ger) 5.25 26 Wim Leemans (Bel) 5.53 One lap behind 27 Marcel Meisen (Ger) 28 Sylwester Janiszewski (Pol) 29 Guillaume Dessibourg (Swi) 30 David Menger (Cze) 31 Mitchell Huenders (Ned) Two laps behind 32 Pawel Szczepaniak (Pol) 33 Nicholas Weighall (USA) Rad Racing NW Three laps behind 34 Thibaut Villa (Fra) 35 Romain Georges Lejuene (Fra) 36 Chance Noble (USA) 37 Aurélien Gizzi (Fra) 38 Kyle Douglas (Can) Four laps behind 39 Shaun Adamson (Can) 40 Lukas Prihoda (Cze) DNF Romain Lejeune (Fra) DNF Tom Meeusen (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team DNF Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team DNF Sascha Wagner (Ger) DNF Cristian Cominelli (Ita) DNF Fabio Ursi (Ita) DNF Tomasz Repinski (Pol) DNF Carson Miller (USA) Fred Meyer DNF Martin Haring (Svk) DNF Twan Van Den Brand (Ned)