Niels Albert – the new prince of cyclo-cross
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Niels Albert – the new prince of cyclo-cross

by VeloNation Press at 11:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Press Release

He celebrates his 23rd birthday in a few days, and in the meantime Niels Albert offered himself the best present he could dream of: the rainbow jersey at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in the Elite category. It was the only jersey that he did not yet possess after his successes in Pontchâteau as a Junior in 2004, and in Treviso last year in the U23 category.

Niels Albert dominated the event at Hoogerheide on a circuit that was extremely rapid due to the cold, dry weather during the days before the Championships. His victory represents the summit of a truly exceptional career.

The Belgian rider, winner of this season’s World Cup race in Tabor before an accident forced him out of competition, attacked from the first of the 10 laps and progressively increased his lead over the rest of the field.

The Czech rider Zdenek Stybar, the only one who really tried to hold out against Albert, was never able to close the gap, and finally had to make do with second place – as he did 12 months ago in Italy.

The Belgian team controlled all the phases of the event and was able to complete its triumph of the day with a bronze medal for Sven Nys, winner of the World Cup.

From the outset the defending champion Lars Boom, who had been considered the man to beat in front of his home crowd, was unable to live up to his expectations. However, the disappointment of his modest 20th place did not affect the overall positive result of the Dutch who took out two victories in the hometown of organizer Adrie Van der Poel.

Van der Poel can afford to be pleased by the success of the event both from a sporting point of view (with a record number of 24 nations participating) and as far as the number of spectators was concerned (more than 30,000 people watched the competitions on Sunday).

The exploits of Tijmen Eising in the Juniors race and Marianne Vos, who celebrated her fourth Women Elite title (across all disciplines) helped sooth the bitterness of Boom’s defeat.

Eising, who dominated the World Cup, won the title in front of his compatriot Corne Van Kessel. The French rider Alexandre Billon accompanied the two young locals on the podium.

In the Women’s race, the versatile Vos demonstrated her speed in a sprint against the German Hanka Kupfernagel and the American Katherine Compton.

Philippe Walsleben could not have hoped for a better end to a season during which he won all the World Cup races: the German gave his rivals no chance in taking the World Champion title in the U23 category.

The silver medal went to another German, Christoph Pfingsten, and the bronze to the Polish rider Pawel Szczepaniak.

The 2010 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships will take place in Tabor, in the Czech Republic.

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