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“There are only three rounds left, and to jump over Albert, I would have to rely on bad luck for him. And I don’t want that. So I’m assuming that I’ll be battling for second," Nys tells Sporza

Photo: John de Jong

NIELS ALBERT

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SUPERPRESTIGE

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25.11.2013 @ 13:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Yesterday Sven Nys lost the overall lead in the Superprestige series when a crash and a subsequent mechanical put him so far behind his main rivals that he chose to abandon the race. Being 6 points behind new overall leader and yesterday's winner Niels Albert, the world champion now admits that 2014 is unlikely the year when he wins the series for the 13th time.

 

With wins in two of the first four round of the Superprestige series and a comfortable overall lead, Sven Nys had put himself in the perfect position to win the prestigious series for an impressive 13th time. Even his main rival Niels Albert had almost admitted defeat, saying that his chances of taking the overall win were not in his own hands.

 

However, everything was turned upside down in yesterday's fifth round in Gieten. Nys abandoned the race and as Albert took another solo win 24 hours after his win in the Koksijde world cup round, the former world champion now finds himself in first place in the overall standings.

 

Halfway through the race, nothing suggested that a change in the top position was on the cards. Nys was riding comfortably in the front position while Albert was chasing desperately after an early incident had seen him finish the first lap with a time delay of more than 40 seconds.

 

However, disaster struck for Nys when he crashed on a tricky descent and moments later found himself with a mechanical that forced him to do a long run to get to the pits. While Albert gradually got back in contention before initiating the crucial escape with Lars van der Haahr, Nys was now in chase mode and when he realized that he wouldn't score any points, he abandoned the race.

 

With 3 races left, Nys is now tied for second with Klaas Vantornout and has 8 points to make up on Albert. As every race offers 15 points to the winner, 14 points to the runner-up etc., Nys is in a very difficult position if he wants to defend his title in the series he has dominated in the past.

 

After the race, he admitted defeat.

 

“I was feeling good when I fell, and at the time, I was in control on course,” he told Sporza. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s the course and I have to accept it. If anything happens on this type of course, you’ll never be able to come back. You can make a difference anywhere, and it goes so fast. Moreover, 15 men came around me [during the crash].

 

“There are only three rounds left, and to jump over Albert, I would have to rely on bad luck for him," he added. "And I don’t want that. So I’m assuming that I’ll be battling for second.”

 

Nys later confirmed that assessment in a tweet. "The classification is gone. With these legs, that’s a shame. It was very much possible today,” he wrote.

 

While Nys had a bad day, Albert made a truly impressive performance when he came back from his disastrous start to win the race.

 

"At the start, I was riding in around 10th position," he told Sporza. "In front me, a rider unclipped his foot and I hit it. Before I knew it, I was lying on the ground and I was last. Afterwards, I had a lot of support from my teammates. Otherwise, I would not have been able to come back.

 

Albert and van der Haahr escaped with Vantornout and worked well together to drop the Belgian champion and keep Tom Meeusen and Philip Walsleben at bay. On the final lap, Albert tried repeated acceleration and when van der Haahr, unclipped his foot, he opened up the small gap that allowed him to take the win.

 

"Van der Haahr always wants to take turns," Albert said. "When I rode alone with him, there was an immediate understanding. We quickly agreed that we would decide the race on the final lap.

 

"I knew that I could not enter the finishing straight with Lars so I attacked in the sand. When Lars left a small gap, I knew that there was no reason to have doubts anymore."

 

The next round of the Superprestige series will take place on December 29 in Diegem.

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