Niels Albert made an honorary citizen of Koksijde
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Niels Albert made an honorary citizen of Koksijde

by Ben Atkins at 12:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, World Championships
 
Cyclocross World champion honoured after his triumphant win in the sand dunes of northern Belgium

niels albertNiels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) has been made an honorary citizen of the Belgian town of Koksijde, following his victory in last month’s World cyclocross championships. It had already been announce that the winner of the tough race across the sandy course would have one of the steepest dunes named in his honour, but the town’s Mayor and council met yesterday to agree to grant this extra award.

The World champion was born in the town of Bonheiden, in the province of Antwerp - which was, coincidentally, also the birth place of ‘cross Kannibaal Sven Nys - but, since yesterday’s Koksijde council decision, now has two hometowns.

Albert clearly has an affinity with the sandy course at Koksijde, having already won the Duinencross World Cup race on the same course in November 2010. He was unable to defend his title in 2011 however, thanks to sustaining a broken wrist after being knocked off his bike in training. Like in his injury hit 2008/09 season though, he came back fresh, and was the strongest in the World championship race.

Just as in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, in 2009, the then 25-year-old rode away from the rest of the field in the first lap and managed to stay away to win alone and take his second rainbow jersey. The rest of the Belgian team was strung out behind him, finishing in an incredible top-seven for the home team.

The last time the World championships were held in Koksijde, in 1994, the race was won by Paul Herygers, who is now a co-commentator on Belgian TV channel Sporza. Herygers too was made a citizen of the town, and had the ‘Herygersduin’ (Herygers Dune) duly named after him.

The dune which was simply referred to as ‘X-duin’ during last month’s race, has now officially become ‘Niels Albertduin’.

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