Niels Albert takes a muddy Jaarmarktcross with final lap attack
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Niels Albert takes a muddy Jaarmarktcross with final lap attack

by Ben Atkins at 10:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
World champion asserts himself over Sven Nys as tenacious Bart Aernouts takes second

niels albertNiels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) ended the three-year reign of Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) at the Soudal Jaarmarktcross in Niel, Belgium, with a final lap attack. The World champion accelerated away from Nys and Bart Aernouts (AA on a flat, muddy section, as he exited the pits ahead of the other two. The gap that he had created quickly grew, and Albert managed to solo to a comfortable victory.

Aernouts, whose tenacity and refusal to be dropped, prevented the race from descending into yet another duel between big rivals Nys and Albert. He too managed to drop Nys in the race finale, although the Belgian champion appeared to have sat up a little as the race was lost, and took a hard fought second place.

Nys crossed the line in third place, ahead of a fighting Bart Wellens (BKCP-Powerplus), with French duo Francis Mourey (FDJ-BigMat) and Aurelien Duval (UV Aube) not far behind.

The Jaarmarktcross - which rarely passes without incident - was to be the first real moddercross of the season, as recent bad weather had turned much of the circuit into unrideable slurry. Most riders changed their bikes at least once a lap as they were forced to run for much of the course.

Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus) led around the opening tarmac section, with all but a few forced to shoulder their bikes as soon as they hit the muddy grass section. Wellens then took over the lead, as the field lined out behind him.

Gradually Wellens began to force a gap, with French champion Duval and Albert on his wheel; several others managed to bridge across as they neared the end of the first lap however, only for Thijs van Amerongen (AA to pull away as the neared the line.

The rest of the field caught up with the Dutchman as they shouldered their bikes once more; van Amerongen’s teammate Aernouts managed to ride around the running field however, and managed to jump clear. Aernouts was soon joined by Duval as they crossed the tarmac section, and the two of them began to pull away.

Albert managed to edge his way up to the two leaders once more, and was soon followed by Nys. The four of them were clear at the end of lap two, with van Amerongen, Wietse Bosmans and Philipp Walsleben (both BKCP-Powerplus), Wellens and Mourey nine seconds behind.

As Albert stumbled at the top of a steep climb Nys pressed on, which almost got rid of Aernouts; Wellens was desperately trying to close the gap - with Bosmans in tow - almost taking himself off on a small descent in the process. The two-time World champion managed to shake off his young shadow however, and managed to join up with the leaders as they arrived on the finishing straight.

The French fight back but the Belgians turn the screw

Albert then began to push on however, with all but Nys left behind; despite the best efforts of Duval to rejoin the two Belgians, the race was already seemingly heading for another duel between the World and Belgian champion.

Sure enough, Albert and Nys were clear as they crossed the finish line, but Wellens and Aernouts had rallied once again - passing Duval - and were just a few seconds back. The four Belgians were together again as they shouldered their bikes on the first very muddy section, with the French champion not far behind.

Nys accelerated again on the short, steep climb, getting rid of Aernouts yet again, but yet again he fought his way back up to the leaders. Despite the apparent intentions of Nys and Albert to make it a two-man race once more, the four of them were together again as they crossed the line with two laps to go.

16 seconds back, Duval had been caught by Mourey, with the rest of the field scattered behind the two Frenchmen.

On the short, steep climb it was Aernouts’ turn to accelerate, which put paid to Wellens once and for all. The AA rider tried to press home the slight advantage that he had created, but Nys and Albert were persistently locked onto his wheel.

On a particularly muddy flat section though, Albert powered past Aernouts, with Nys quickly clawing his way across to the World champion, and the two big rivals finally found themselves alone as they approached the bell.

Refusing to give up though, and as they looked at one another, Aernouts fought his way across before they reached the line and hit the front again.

As they hit the first muddy section Nys and Albert both went through the pits to change their bikes, and Albert surged away from his rival on the way out. The World champion quickly opened up a lead that Nys - with Aernouts in tow - looked unable to close. With half a lap to go Albert was 20 seconds clear, and seemingly heading for victory.

All three changed their bikes at the second pit and, shortly afterwards Aernouts jumped away from Nys again. Albert was long gone by now though and, as he entered the finishing straight, he had plenty of time to zip up his skinsuit and sit up to salute the crowd.

Aernouts came in to take only his third podium - and first defeat of Nys - of the season, with the Belgian champion - apparently having given up - rolling in third.

Nikki Harris meets little resistance as she takes women’s race

With many of the big names of women’s cyclocross electing to ride in the USGP race in Louisville, Kentucky, there was little opposition for Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) as she easily won the women’s event. The British rider led the race almost from the start, gradually pulling further and further away from the rest of the field, and finished more than a minute clear of Dutchwoman Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Orange Babies).

In the absence of national champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP), Elen Van Loy (Kriekel Cycling Team Tessenderlo) had the honour of being first Belgian in third place, another minute further back.

Result Elite Men
1. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
2. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA
3. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
4. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
5. Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
6. Aurelien Duval (Fra) UV Aube
7. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA
8. Gerben de Knegt (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team
9. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
10. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea

Result Elite Women
1. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
2. Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team
3. Elen Van Loy (Bel) Kriekel Cycling Team Tessenderlo
4. Githa Michiels (Bel)
5. Nancy Bober (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team
6. Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren
7. Hilde Quintens (Bel) Van Goethem-Prorace-cycling team
8. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea
9. Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco-Revor Cycling Team
10. Margriet Helena Kloppenburg (Den)


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