Albert sees light of day in SP Diegem
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Albert sees light of day in SP Diegem

by Bjorn Haake at 1:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 

Niels Albert won the Superprestige Cross in Diegem, held after dark and with floodlight providing orientation to the riders. Albert beat Zdenek Stybar and yesterday's World Cup winner, Kevin Pauwels. Sven Nys abandoned the race after a mechanical problem.

Albert is not a big friend of the nighttime races, but made the best of it by prevailing on the muddy course in Diegem. "A nighttime cross is not very comfortable to ride," he said to Sporza after the race. "But I did some good stuff this weekend: Saturday in the World Cup and now today at the Superprestige."

Albert increased his lead in the Superprestige standings over Stybar to three points and over Nys to 14 points. "It looks good for me, but like Nys I can still have technical troubles. How many times can I still win here? That depends on how long I still race," Albert said with a smile. 

It was Albert's first win at Diegem. Nys won the race four times. The record holder is Roland Liboton, who won the race eight times in a row (1982-1989) and also in 1980.

Nys on the other hand saw the race for the overall all but completed. "In the Superprestige it is over for me. To win the overall, you always have to be on the podium."

Nys had a weekend to forget. In the World Cup race he fell hard and today he had a mechanical. "Because of the fall in Zolder I didn't have a good day today. But I showed character and I tried to stay in third," Nys said. "That seemed to work until my chain broke. I could have walked over to the pit." But Nys reasoned he would have killed his legs that way. "In two days there is another cross," Nys said, looking ahead to the Gazet van Antwerp race in Loenhout.

Albert raced the way he likes it when he has a good day: attack from the gun. Only Stybar was able to put up some sort of opposition. "I am happy," Stybar said to Sporza. "Saturday wasn't good, but I was able to put it past me. I came back twice, but the third time I couldn't." The race wasn't quite free of incidents for Stybar, either. "I was hit by a spectator who didn't pay attention, but these things happen."

Yesterday's winner Pauwels was happy with third. "I am very satisfied, especially after last week, when I finished 32nd. I dug even deeper today than yesterday in Zolder, especially in the last lap. And I was lucky [to make it onto the podium] because of the mechanical from Nys."

Bart Wellens is on the way back up and came home in fifth. "That was a real cyclocross race. I am happy. I still miss some race time," Wellens said. He had a long gap in racing due to a virus. "I also worked hard for Pauwels, that was the least I could do."

Results

1. Niels Albert
2. Zdenek Stybar
3. Kevin Pauwels
4. Gerben de Knegt
5. Bart Wellens
6. Klaas Vantornout
7. Erwin Vervecken
8. Enrico Franzoi
9. Bart Aernouts
10. Radomir Simunek
11. Philipp Walsleben
12. Rob Peeterts
13. Martin Zlamalik
14. Steve Chainel
15. Jonathan Page

Superprestige Standings (after six from eight rounds)

1 Niels Albert 84 points
2 Zdenek Stybar 81
3 Sven Nys 71
4 Klaas Vantornout 66
5 Kevin Pauwels 64
6 Bart Aernouts 52
7 Gerben de Knegt 42
8 Erwin Vervecken 40
9 Radomir Simunek 38
10 Enrico Franzoi 34

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