Niels Albert Fails to Repeat Success at Tour Alsace
Niels Albert couldn't find his legs at this year's Tour Alsace © Garry Ceuppens
In our constant habit of making up GC rankings for our favorite ’crossers partaking in road races, we bring you the seventh annual Tour Alsace, a six-day stage race held in Alsace, France. In attendance were Neils Albert, Christian Heule, Enrico Franzoi and Dieter Vanthourenhout. Albert, Franzoi and Vanthourenhout were representing their team, BKCP-Powerplus, and showed their combined strength by taking second place in the opening stage team time trial, missing out on the top podium spot by only seven-tenths of a second.
Last year, this was Niels Albert’s race. The 2009 World Cyclocross Champion won two of the stages, one with a sprint off the break-away in stage 2, and the other with a solo escape on the final climb of the final stage. His performance landed him fourth place overall.
Sadly, Albert was unable to repeat his success at this year’s offering, finishing 12 minutes down on the final stage and nearly half an hour off of GC. He finished in 60th place overall.
Top honors went to nine-time Italian Cyclocross Champion Enrico Franzoi (four of those wins in the Elite ranks), whose consistent performance landed him at eighth overall. Franzoi’s gap over his ’cross competitors was massive, with Christian Heule coming in at 32nd, 14 minutes off of Franzoi’s time. Vanthourenhout’s two top-fifteen placements weren’t enough to save him in the hills, and he finished off 49th in GC.