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The former world champion is dead last after the first half lap but gradually makes his way back to the front before distancing van der Haahr a few hundred metres from the line; Nys abandons on a disastrous day for the world champion

Photo: John de Jong

LARS VAN DER HAAR

NEWS

NIELS ALBERT

RIDER PROFILE
|
NEWS

SUPERPRESTIGE

NEWS

TOM MEEUSEN

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
24.11.2013 @ 16:26 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) made a truly incredible comeback in today's Superprestige race in Gieten to take his second win in just as many days. Having been last on the course after the first half lap, the former world champion spent several laps in chase mode before  getting back to the front where he distanced all his rivals to take another solo win on a completely disastrous day for Sven Nys.

 

Last weekend, Sven Nys appeared to be unstoppable while Niels Albert struggled to match the pace of his arch rival. This week, the roles have been swapped around as Albert added today's Superprestige race in Gieten to the win he took in yesterday's World Cup race in Koksijde.

 

Halfway through the first lap, nothing suggested that Albert would go on to win the race. During the opening sprint, he had been hit by a rival's bike and was the last on the course. When he started the second lap, he was more than 40 seconds behind the leaders and appeared to be completely out of contention.

 

Albert refused to give up and while his main rivals battled it out in the main peloton, he put his head down and gradually passed riders on the course. Halfway through the race, he finally made the junction but appeared to fatigued after his long chase.

 

Nonetheless, he only spend half a lap to recover from his efforts before hitting the front. His accelerations created a strong front trio as he was joined by Klaas Vantornout and Lars van der Haahr in the lead group.

 

Vantornout quickly fell off the pace and so the race was set to be decided between Albert and van der Haahr. The Dutch champion is the faster sprinter and appeared to have everything under control when he suddenly unclipped his foot just as Albert launched his final acceleration at the top of the final climb. With no time to get back, a clearly annoyed van der Haahr had to settle for second while Albert finished off his impressive comeback in style.

 

The race was a complete disaster for overall Superprestige leader Nys. Having got his race off to a good start, he crashed while riding in first position and damaged his bike as a consequence. Forced to run for a long time to get to the pits, his race was effectively over and after a short chase, he decided to abandon the race.

 

With the win, Albert takes over the lead in the Superprestige standings from Nys who now finds himself tied with Vantornout in seconds. With a big 8-point gap to close, Nys has his work cut out for him if he wants to win a 13th Superprestige title. The next round takes place on December 29 in Diegem.

 

A delayed start

The race got off to an unfortunate start as several barriers fell to the ground just as the riders were ready to take off. The freezing riders had to wait for a few minutes while they tried to stay warm in the cold conditions.

 

With a couple of minutes delay, the race finally started and for once, the opening sprint wasn't won by either Klaas Vantornout or Lars van der Haahr. Instead, two riders from the Kwadro-Stannah team took control in the early part of the race while yesterday's winner Niels Albert had a terrible start. One minute after the start, the Belgian was the last rider on the course after having been hit by another rider during the opening sprint.

 

Good start for Nys

Sven Nys found himself in the completely opposite position as he was riding in second position behind Martin Bina in the early part of the first lap. Lars van der Haahr was well-placed on the wheel of the world champion, with Corne Van Kessel and Klaas Vantornout just behind.

 

At the first passage of the line, Van Kessel, Nys, Bina, van der Haahr, Vantornout, Rob Peeters and Tom Meeusen had a small gap over a chase group that contained Julien Taramarcaz, Bart Aernouts and Philip Walsleben. Kevin Pauwels was far behind in the fourth group while Albert was even further behind, crossing the line with a time delay of 40 seconds.

 

Walsleben bridges across

Van Kessel took the responsibility to set the pace on the second lap while Walsleben made a small sprint to get across to the front group that was now made up of 8 riders. Taramarcaz, Bart and Jim Aernouts and Niels Wubben were the nearest chasers but failed to make any ground on the leaders.

 

At the second passage of the line, Nys hit the front as he started to put his rivals under pressure. Meanwhile, Bart Wellens had bad luck as the veteran Belgian crashed and lost all hopes of a good result.

 

More riders rejoin the front group

Nys was not riding full gas and so Wubben and Bart Aernouts managed to rejoin the front group which now consisted of 10 riders. The world champion led for most of the time on the third lap before giving way to Meeusen who was the first rider to cross the line to start the fourth lap.

 

A sight hesitation in the main group allowed Taramarcaz, Thijs Al, Thijs van Amerongen, Dieter Vanthourenhout and a few others to join them. Pauwels and Albert were now both riding in the second group and desperately trying to get back in contention.

 

Albert gets closer

Peeters hit the front halfway through the lap and strung things out but as they hit the finishing straight, they once again slowed down. At the passage of the line, the Albert-Pauwels group was just 15 seconds behind.

 

Taramarcaz set the pace early on the fifth lap before Nys once again hit the front. On a steep descent, the world champion opened a small gap but he was still not ready to commit himself 100% to the cause.

 

Three riders get a gap

Nonetheless, Bina was unable to follow the pace and suddenly he had created a gap that allowed Nys, Taramarcaz and Vantornout to go off. The trio passed the finish line with a 7-second gap over the peloton which was led by Walsleben.

 

The chase group had been trimmed down to just Walsleben, Meeusen, van der Haahr, Peeters, Bina and Aernouts while van Amerongen was riding on his own a little further adrift. Walsleben did a good job to close the gap and so a 9-rider front group had formed.

 

Disaster for Nys

Disaster struck for Nys when the world champion crashed while leading the peloton. He quickly got back on his bike and fell back to van Amerongen, with Albert leading the chase not far behind.

 

With Nys left behind, Vantornout hit the front and is tried to prevent the world champion from rejoining the front. Just as he was about to get back, disaster struck again when a mechanical forced him to run a long way to get to the pits and he was now far back in the field.

 

Albert gets back in contention

At the next passage of the line, Albert, Pauwels, van Amerongen and Vanthourenhout were not far behind the leaders while Nys had not even got a new bike when the two first groups passed the finish. The win was now beyond the world champion's reach and he could now only do his best to limit the damage in the overall Superprestige series.

 

Walsleben hit the front as they started the 7th lap but was quickly replaced by Meeusen. As no one really committed themselves, Albert, Pauwels, Vanthourenhout and van Amerongen rejoined the front group which now consisted of 12 riders.

 

Albert moves up

Meeusen led the group all the way around the lap and allowed Vantornout to take over when they hit the finishing straight. Albert used the opportunity to move forward in the peloton and as they left the asphalt road, he was riding in second position behind Vantornout. Nys crossed the line with a delay of 50 seconds and needed to finish in the top 15 to score points for the Superprestige standings.

 

Halfway through the lap, Albert decided it was time to kick into action and the Belgian hit the front with a fierce acceleration. Van der Haahr was quick to reach and stayed glued to his rivals wheel while Vantornout was riding in third position.

 

A front trio gets clear

On a sandy climb, a gap opened up behind Vantornout and suddenly, the first three riders had escaped. Walsleben sensed the danger and quickly moved to the front in a quest to reel in the escapees.

 

At the passage of the line, the front trio was 8 seconds ahead of the main peloton which had been joined by Wubben and Marcel Meisen. Nys had reduced his deficit to 45 seconds but still faced an uphill battle to make it into the top 15.

 

Albert applies the pressure

Van der Haahr realized that he was in a good position and so he took over the pace-setting. However, Albert had no intentions of slowing down and as the chasers got closer to the front trio, he once again hit the front.

 

The chase group had now split up under the hard pace set by Walsleben and Meeusen as Aernouts was the only rider who could keep up with the duo. Meanwhile, Albert was still applying the pressure and clearly had Vantornout on his limit.

 

Vantornout is dropped

On a sandy climb, it was too much for the Belgian champion who got dropped and decided to wait for the chasers which had been joined by Peeters. At the passage of the line, van der Haahr and Albert were 9 seconds ahead of Vatornout while the chasers were 6 seconds further adrift.

 

Knowing that van der Haahr has a fast sprint, Albert kept the pace high but the Dutch champion showed that he was still feeling well when he hit the front halfway through the lap. Meanwhile, Walsleben had created a gap to his companions that were led by a fading Vantornout. At this point, Nys signaled to the camera that he had nothing left in the tank and later chose to abandon the race.

 

Meeusen and Walsleben form a chase duo

Meeusen got across to  Walsleben and as they started the penultimate lap, they were 13 seconds beind the front duo. Vantonout and Aernouts were back in the main group.

 

Van der Haahr was still doing all the work in the front duo, clearly feeling well after his disappointing performance yesterday in Koksijde. He led all the way on the penultimate lap but was saving something for a final attack by Albert. As they passed the line to start the final lap, the gap to Walsleben and Meeusen had been reduced to 8 seconds.

 

Albert back on the front

Albert hit the front as soon as he heard the bell but was only setting a steady pace for much of the time. This allowed the two chasers to get even closer while Bina was now riding on his own in 5th.

 

Albert waited until a steep, sandy climb before launching his final attack but van der Haahr was apparently not troubled at all by the acceleration. The Dutchman was glued to Albert's wheel and always had a response when the former world champion tried to accelerate.

 

Disaster for van der Haahr

Albert tried one final acceleration at the top of the final climb and then disaster struck for van der Haahr. Forced to unclip, a gap opened up and there was no time to get back.

 

Albert took an impressive solo win ahead of an annoyed van der Haahr while Meeusen beat Walsleben in the sprint for 4th. Bina was 5th while Pauwels won the sprint in a larger group to take 6th on what was a disastrous day for Sven Nys.

 

Result:

1. Niels Albert

2. Lars van der Haahr

3. Tom Meeusen

4. Philip Walsleben

5. Marcel Meisen

6. Kevin Pauwels

7. Martin Bina

8. Bart Aernouts

9.  Klaas Vantornout

10. Rob Peeters

 

Overall Superprestige standings:

1. Niels Albert 66

2. Sven Nys 58

3. Klaas Vantronout 58

4. Philip Walsleben 53

5. Lars van der Haahr 53

6. Tom Meeusen 44

7. Kevin Pauwels 38

8. Rob Peeters 34

9. Bart Aernouts 33

10. Thijs van Amerongen 27

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