Albert triumphs in Scheldecross at Antwerp in BKCP sweep
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Saturday, December 07, 2013

Albert triumphs in Scheldecross at Antwerp in BKCP sweep

by Kyle Moore at 11:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
Van der Poel steals the show on first elite stage with second place, Walsleben secures third

Niels AlbertIt was a clean sweep of the podium for the BKCP-sponsored cyclocross team in the elite men’s Scheldecross race in Antwerp on Saturday, part of the Soudal Cyclocross Series. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) won going away, for his third straight victory.

Mathieu Van der Poel (Enertherm-BKCP), the junior cyclocross and road race world champion, put on a display in his first race with the big boys, grabbing second place.

Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) rode to third. Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) outdueled Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea) to round out the top five.

Albert took an early lead and pushed a quick tempo with world champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL) just behind him. Albert has tried a variety of strategies so far this season, starting very slowly and then moving up, and starting quickly before falling back – and lately, everything has worked for the Belgian.

On Saturday, Albert dropped back after the quick start, riding from lap two through the mid-point of the race at the rear of the long line that established at the front.

But with still more than a lap to race, Albert was at the front again. He rode solo through the final lap with ten seconds on Van der Poel. The formidable former world champion saluted the crowd, as well as the young Dutchman behind him, in the finish straight.

Van der Poel couldn’t help but crack a smile as he crossed for second, and Walsleben raised an arm as well, all three having zipped up their jersey fronts to show off their sponsor’s impressive day.

How the race played out:

Marcel Meisen (Kwadro-Stannah) took the hole shot next to a dangerously placed fence post, though Albert was soon around him and leading. He swapped again with Meisen through the first sand section, where young and old both had trouble, as Nys came down and Van der Poel got caught up as well. The world champ wasn’t fazed, however, and was soon up to Albert at the head of the race as it exited the sand. Albert was pressuring with Nys in his shadow, as Peeters and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) rode third and fourth.

At the end of the first lap, Albert had eased a little, and Peeters and Vantornout were almost on them. Walsleben was latching on as well, with 19-year-old Wout Van Aert (Telenet-Fidea) just behind. His early charge over, Albert dropped back somewhat on lap two, as Walsleben came to the fore and broke out a little on Nys. The German champion bobbled at the top of a stair step, so the top ten-plus riders continued together in single-file line.

Along with Van Aert, Van der Poel was impressing already by lap three. The youngsters were sixth and seventh in line in the lead group, which was being paced by Peeters. The under-23 riders, combined barely older than the world champion Nys, were nearly mistake-free through three laps.

Peeters led the bunch over with six laps left, while both Albert and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) were lurking at the back of the line, which also included the AA Drink duo of Bart Aernouts and Thijs Van Amerongen, as well as Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Napoleon Games). BKCP-Powerplus team-mates Wietse Bosmans and Dieter Vanthourenhout were at the back of the large leading group.

Vantornout took the lead for his turn at the front, flanked by Nys, Peeters and Van der Poel. Nys grabbed the lead in the sand on lap four, and had begun to extend, but many around the world wouldn’t see it as the broadcast connection went bad for the remainder of the race.

Though many wouldn’t see it, Van der Poel continued to move up through the middle portion of the race. He took the lead from Nys on lap four, but the big names weren’t going away. Walsleben screamed around the youngster with an attack to start the next lap, which Peeters accelerated to cover. Albert followed Walsleben and Peeters into the lap, and the trio achieved a gap over the group behind.

Albert eventually wore down the two riders with him, going ahead alone with a lead he would not relinquish. Van der Poel had fought back behind though, closing down to Walsleben and Peeters and eventually setting off after Albert.

The chase kept the young Dutchman close, but the race belonged to Albert, who waved a tribute to his young pursuer over the finish line.


Katie Compton keeps on in Antwerp:

It wasn’t with the same authority that she has used in her previous world cup victories this season, but Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) was again the best on Saturday, winning the Soudal Cyclocross race at Antwerp. An outstanding race by Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) kept the American close, and got the Belgian champion to a runner-up finish. British cyclocross champion Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) was third.

Ellen Van Loy (DNCS-Pro 2012) led the first lap, replaced in the sand by Cant, with Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank), recently back from injury, just behind and riding well early. Cant had soon pulled open a lead on Van Loy and the rest, but the English-speaking champions – Harris and Compton - were still within range.

A lap later, Compton, who celebrated a birthday this week, had put a little distance on Harris and was up to Van Loy, and both were just behind Cant. On the sand the next time around, Compton had swooped into the lead, but bobbles by the American there allowed Cant to dart back around. After her last world cup victory in Koksijde, Compton noted some of her struggles in the sand. But those issues, just like any she had in Antwerp, would be relatively unimportant given the final outcome.

With rain trickling down, Harris slowly worked herself away from Van Loy. Ahead, Compton had pulled out a gap on Cant, but a lapped rider unwilling to give up her line briefly slowed up, and irked the American.

Nonetheless, Compton stayed ahead of the pesky Belgian champion, who took second. Harris soloed in for third, ahead of a visibly shaken Van Loy.

Soudal Classics Cyclocross – Scheldecross at Antwerpen Elite Men’s Brief Results:

1, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus)
2, Mathieu Van der Poel (Enertherm-BKCP)
3, Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus)
4, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games)
5, Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea)
6, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games)
7, Wout Van Aert (Telenet-Fidea)
8, Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Napoleon Games)
9, Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL)
10, Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus)


Elite Women’s Brief Results:

1, Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
2, Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP)
3, Nikki Harris (Telenet Fidea)
4, Ellen Van Loy (DNCS-Pro 2012)
5, Loes Sels (DNCS-Pro 2012)
6, Githa Michiels (Belgium)
7, Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea)
8, Karen Verhestraeten (Sengers Ladies)
9, Laura Verdonschot (DJ.Matic-Kortrijk)
10, Monique Van De Ree (Netherlands)

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