Bpost Bank Trofee: Niels Albert solos to victory in Krawatencross Lille
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bpost Bank Trofee: Niels Albert solos to victory in Krawatencross Lille

by Ben Atkins at 10:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
BKCP-Powerplus rider puts World championship disappointment behind him

niels albertNiels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) put the disappointment of losing his rainbow jersey in the previous weekend’s World championships by taking an emphatic solo victory in the Lille Krawatencross, just outside Antwerp, Belgium. The recently-turned 27-year-old escaped a large group, containing most of the big names in the race, on the second of eight laps and steadily increased his lead to take a comfortable win, and increase his overall lead in the Bpost Bank Trofee.

Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) managed to tear himself clear of a four-man chasing group in the final corners of the race and crossed the line in a clear second place. Behind Vantornout new World Champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) managed to outsprint Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) for the final place on the podium, with Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) fifth.

Wellens leads the race from the line but Albert soon escapes

Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) was away from the line first, and led around the tight first corner onto the sandy course; in the middle of the pack, Wellens’ teammate Tom Meeusen’s bad season continued as he crashed around the corner, putting him into very last place. Former two-time World champion Wellens led around the whole of the first lap with Nys on his wheel, stringing out the rest of the field, but failing to make a break.

At the end of lap one there was a group of around 15 riders at the head of the race, but former World champion Albert moved forward and began to lift the pace higher.

Albert managed to pull himself clear, with Radomír Šimunek (Kwadro-Stannah) leading the chase behind him and, at the end of lap two, he was several seconds clear of the rest of the favourites, as Lars van der Haar (Rabobank-Giant) came to the front to lead the chase.

Pauwels pushed his way to the front, however, and broke clear in pursuit of Albert; behind him, van der Haar was leading Vantornout and Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) across, but the rest of the group was not far behind.

Across the line with six to go, Albert was just six seconds ahead of Pauwels, with the big group of chasers now 25 seconds back. The Sunweb-Napoleon Games rider was having trouble closing those last few seconds while, behind him, Nys broke away from the large group and set about closing him down.

Albert had opened up his advantage to 11 seconds by the end of lap three, while Nys was now at 21 seconds, and Vantornout 25. The former World champion was refusing to yield to the chasers, but the current wearer of the rainbow jersey was beginning to close him down.

Nys catches Pauwels but Albert is now long gone

Little by little Nys seemed to be gaining on Pauwels ahead of him, but Albert was edging further away from both of them. With four to go Pauwels was 13 seconds down, but Nys was still at 24 seconds; the main chase group was now 40 seconds behind, led by Vantornout, and seemingly out of the podium race.

In the chase group van der Haar bunny hopped the first hurdle, but misjudged the second and fell sideways between them. The Dutch champion took out German champion Walsleben, but neither was hurt and they quickly chased back up to the group.

Meanwhile, up ahead, Nys was closing on Pauwels, but Albert was still comfortably powering away ahead of them. The two chasers came together shortly before they crossed the line with three laps to go, but were now 31 seconds behind Albert; Pauwels spent the early part of the lap trying to shake Nys off again, but allowed the World champion to pass as he stumbled on a short, sandy slope.

Pauwels seemed to suspect another mechanical problem - like that which cost him his chances in the previous weekend’s World championships - and, as he remounted slowly, Nys left him behind.

The chasers get together as Albert cruises to the win

With two to go Albert’s lead was up to 47 seconds, with Pauwels having caught up with Nys, and Peeters, Wellens and Vantornout coming up behind them. Very soon the chase group was up to five, although Wellens was having trouble holding on as Nys accelerated again.

Wellens managed to catch up, and force his way to the front of the chase group but, at the bell the five of them were almost a minute behind Albert. Vantornout then moved past the Telenet-Fidea rider and tried to get away himself, which saw Nys dropped off the back of the group.

Peeters and Vantornout briefly got a little way clear of the others, and Pauwels jumped across the gap to join them. Nys got across in the woods, as Vantornout was the only one to dismount for the hurdles, but Wellens now seemed to be out of it.

Vantornout kept the pressure on but the other three refused to be left behind and, as they completed the final wooded section, Albert was heading for the win.

Sitting up and punching the sky Albert took his third win in the 2012/13 Bpost Bank Trofee, and increase his overall lead over Pauwels.  Finally Vantornout managed to tear himself clear of the others to take second place, while Nys just outsprinted Pauwels to take third.

Marianne Vos continues her winning ways to take women’s race

Despite attending the Rabobank-Liv/Giant team presentation, and a homecoming party to celebrate her retaking of the World championship the evening before, Marianne Vos continued her winning ways in the women’s race in Lille. The 25-year-old outsprinted local rider, Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) for the victory, after the two of them escaped from Vos’ Rabobank-Liv/Giant teammates Sanne van Paassen and Sabrina Stultiëns in the final lap.

Van Paassen rode alone to take third place, with Stultiëns beaten in the race for fourth by Belgian Ellen van Loy (Melbotech).

Result Krawatencross Lille Elite Men
1. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
2. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
3. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
4. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
5. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
6. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
7. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
8. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
9. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink
10. Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus

Result Krawatencross Lille Elite Women
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
2. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
3. Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
4. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Melbotech Cycling Team
5. Sabrina Stultiëns (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
6. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing
7. Amy Dombrowski (USA) Telenet-Fidea
8. Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team
9. Arenda Grimberg (Ned)
10. Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)


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