Sven Nys and Niels Albert write off World Cup chances after Cauberg disasters
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sven Nys and Niels Albert write off World Cup chances after Cauberg disasters

by Ben Atkins at 4:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
Classification effectively over for Belgium’s leading riders after opening round

sven nysSven Nys (Crelan-KDL) and Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) both wrote off their overall World Cup hopes after suffering separate disasters at today’s Caubergcross, the first round of the season-long series. Both of the Belgian ‘toppers,’ who have eight World Cup victories between them - with Albert the defending champion - lost ground on many of their rivals, and both are resigned to not making it back.

“The World Cup is gone immediately, but I am now old enough that into perspective," said Nys after the race to the Gazet van Antwerpen.

Nys was the biggest casualty of the day, with the World champion suffering three lots of bad luck during the hour-long race. An early crash saw him lose ground on the front of the group of big names, then a puncture saw him lose contact as he was forced to limp around for much of that lap before he could get to the pits.

The end for the World champion came soon afterwards, with him having almost fought his way back up into podium contention, when his chain snapped. Resigned to his fate, the Kannibaal van Baal shouldered his bike and walked back to his campervan.

"I don’t think I ever had so much bad luck in one race,” he said. “However, this can happen. In the beginning I was going pretty well and when [Rabobank’s Lars] van der Haar and [Sunweb-Napoleon Games’ Kevin] Pauwels quickly pulled away, I deliberately chose a more leisurely pace. I was also getting better, but with so much bad luck you have no chance. If you are good, you can certainly close a gap of twenty seconds on this course. But then the second puncture came at a very bad place and then I also broke my chain.”

Van der Haar rode away to take his first ever victory in the World Cup and, while Pauwels suffered his own share of problems, managed to take second place. The 22-year-old Netherlands champion, and the 2011/12 World Cup champion now sit in pole position for the 2013/14 title.

niels albert"I think the World Cup is already gone, but I do not lie awake now," said Albert in the Gazet van Antwerpen. "I had a really bad day, it just turned square. And then I had another bad start.

Missing from the group of favourites in the opening laps, Albert managed to fight his way back into contention in the middle of the race before fading to eleventh place at the finish.

“Starts are becoming a disaster,” he admitted. “If it is not fixed soon, I will lose a lot of crosses. There are always many people on the side who have commented on my starts, but I’ve heard no one with a possible solution.”


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