Meeusen making strides with Ruddervoorde third place
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meeusen making strides with Ruddervoorde third place

by Kyle Moore at 10:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
 
Albert says he’s not currently able to win races

Tom MeeusenTom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) has struggled off-and-on recently with occasional stomach problems and lack of confidence, back luck and bad form. But a third place finish in the opening round of the Superprestige cyclocross series has Meeusen seeing the glass half full.

Meeusen had a fighter’s race in Ruddervoorde, Belgium on Sunday, consistently falling behind the leaders and then fighting back. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) took the early lead and eventually won the race, and Meeusen battled early to join the front group along with Lars van der Haar (Rabobank) and Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL).

Once there, Meeusen fought to stay, subject to constant pressure from Vantornout and Nys. The Telenet-Fidea rider would lose ground in the corners but then battle back in the straights.

Fighting stomach problems going into the race, Meeusen admitted that he wasn’t betting on himself to perform well.

“I didn’t really have what it took to win. So therefore, I think third is great,” Meeusen elaborated. “More was not to be. I was not good enough. Had I been betting on myself, I would have lost that money I played, therefore I am very happy.”

Meeusen was eventually able to distance both Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and van der Haar, but he was no match for the world champion Nys in the battle for second.

“I let the competition get ahead in the corners, but I knew I would be fast enough to get back on again. I’m really very sore,” Meeusen said of his stomach issues. “I’m doing everything possible to get back in order. I want to be 100 percent at both the Koppenbergcross [on Friday] and in the Superprestige Zonhoven [next Sunday].”

Albert, meanwhile, has been off the pace so far in the first two World Cup rounds. He was better on Sunday in Ruddervoorde, but in the end could manage only fifth place. He said that he doesn’t currently have what it takes to match up with compatriots Nys and Vantornout, or even the young Dutchman van der Haar, who has swept both World Cup races so far.

“I will feel better soon. But I’m not good enough to race for the win,” Albert admitted of his current racing form.

The former world champion put in an effort to bridge to the early leading group, as he knew it contained the names that would eventually settle the victory. Once there, he took a turn on the front, eventually pulling out an eight-second lead by himself. But both Vantornout and Nys came quickly back to him at the moments of their choice, before eventually distancing Albert and relegating him to a spot off the podium.

Albert burned several matches early, “and with that, my race was immediately over,” he stated. “I’m clearly not ready for winning. I could not make my effort last long enough. After my good start to the season, I’m seeming to have a relapse. I’ll keep working hard in the coming weeks, and will try to get back on top again as soon as possible.”

Albert has a top-notch set of team-mates with him in the BKCP-Powerplus stable, in German champion Philip Walsleben and U23 bump-up Wietse Bosmans. Walsleben has taken a third place and a runner-up finish in the first two World Cup rounds, but he suffered in Ruddervoorde, crashing in the sandy section, and coming home 12th. Bosmans rode to 15th.

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