Albert on top again in Overijse
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Albert on top again in Overijse

by Bjorn Haake at 10:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results

Niels Albert scored season win number 13 in Overijse, Belgium, and showed he is back on the same form as in the beginning of the season, when he dominated cross races. Sven Nys and Kevin Pauwels fought hard for second place, with Pauwels edging out Nys by a few seconds.

Albert was his old self from start to finish. "I felt good on this course, it really suits me well." Unlike in past races, it was Pauwels and not Nys or Zdenek Stybar, who provided the biggest challenge for Albert. He countered Albert's initial attack in lap three and stayed put. "It took me a while to shake Kevin off my wheel," Albert acknowledged on Belgian TV.

Albert was happy for Pauwels' good performance and even could smile that his rival scored the fastest lap, seven hundredths of a second faster than Albert. Pauwels also won an extra 1500 euro for being in the top five the last three years. Still, he wasn't a 100 percent satisfied. "It's not quite as good as last year, when I won," he acknowledged.

Nys thought he could catch up with Albert later in the race. "I was always only 20 seconds back. I thought I could close the gap, but Niels was really powering along. Yesterday, he did lose time in the end." For Nys, there was no doubt about the accuracy of the result. "Niels is the deserved winner."

Tough parcours

Albert revealed his tactics to not lose as much time in the finale as yesterday. "The first two laps I took it easy," he said. "This is a super-tough parcours," he added. "That's good for me - the harder the better!"

Indeed, the race near the sports grounds of Overijse, with a little lake adding to the scenery, has it all. Tough ascents, muddy sections, tight corners, a section in the forest, fast descents and even a section of cobblestones. No wonder many spectators came out to watch the race.

Nys confirmed this from the racer's perspective. "This is a really beautiful course. You need technique, power and speed."

When Albert had finally gotten rid of Pauwels, Nys came back and attacked Pauwels. But the latter stayed close in past Nys again in the final lap to finish second.

Albert had time to celebrate early with many friends in the audience. "That was great support," he said. Overconfident, he waved to them as he approached the final muddy sections. There, he almost crashed when he wasn't concentrated. This would have been the only way for him to lose today.


1. Niels Albert
2. Kevin Pauwels
3. Sven Nys
4. Bart Aernouts
5. Zdenek Stybar
6. Tom Meeusen
7. Dieter Vanthourenhout
8. Klaas Vantornout
9. Gerben de Knegt
10. Sven Vanthourenhout



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