Mixed reactions to Albert's road ambitions
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mixed reactions to Albert's road ambitions

by Bjorn Haake at 10:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross

The reactions to the road ambitions of Niels Albert have been mixed. His BKCP-Powerplus team is fully supporting him in the plans, as it also looks to push into the road sector. BKCP-Powerplus already hired Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas), who has a successful road/cross career. Predictably, Belgian National Coach Rudy De Bie is less thrilled.

"I would find it a pity if Albert really switches to road cycling," De Bie said to Het Laatste Nieuws. "We would lose the almost-guarantee of winning. I don't see anybody with the super talent of [Sven] Nys or Albert. When those two are gone, it is up to Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout and Bart Aernouts to stand up. Good crossers, but not great winners. Maybe the foreigners will win more then."

De Bie isn't sure if some of the U23 or junior riders can step up to the level that Nys and Albert have set in the past few years. "With the younger ones, I see that [Tom] Meeusen did a big step forward the last few months. Together with Vincent Bastaens, Jim Aernouts and Joeri Adams this is a quartet with potential. Through hard work they can get very far, but they don't have the talent of an Albert or Nys," De Bie said.

Albert's plans fit well in with the team. "We want to build more of a road team at BKCP-Powerplus, so that Niels can ride a nice summer program," the team's manager Christoph Roodhooft told Het Nieuwsblad. "The hiring of Franzoi was the first step. Starting in 2011 we want to see if we can receive the Pro Continental status."


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