GIETEN, NETHERLANDS – After what could be the worst start imaginable, just a day after taking the victory at the third race in the 2013-2014 World Cup series in Koksijde, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) managed a miraculous recovery to take the win at Superprestige Gieten.
Albert wasn’t the only one to have a bad start to the race. The event in general barely avoided a major disaster, as the signage along the finishing straight came crashing down on the course just before the men were start. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured, although a worker was knocked down by the falling signage. See the signage crash in our 2013 Superprestige Gieten video highlights.
Kwadro-Stannah teammates Martin Bina and Radomir Šimunek took the early lead with many of the more recognizable names close behind. Albert, however, was in last place as the field hit the barrier section in the middle of lap one. In a dramatic turn, Albert not only made up the lost ground, but also became instrumental in the eventual breakup of the lead group, following a crash and broken spoke suffered by World Champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL).
By the end of lap one, a group of seven had formed including Bina, Nys, Lars van der Haar (Rabobank), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), and Telenet-Fidea riders Corné van Kessel, Rob Peeters and Tom Meeusen. Albert, thirty seconds down on the group, was clawing his way through the field.
The lead group continued to swell, as riders were able to bridge up on some of the technical sections. Nys mounted an attack in the second lap on the lakeside section of sand, but misfortune struck as he went down on his right side in a wooded section of the course, likely bending his derailleur hanger in the process. Moments later, a chain jammed between his cassette and wheel forced the World Champion to shoulder his bike and run the course to the pits, all but certainly losing his top spot in the Superprestige standings.
By mid-race, the front had regrouped and Albert was in a position to bridge the gap, quickly moving to the front. A huge attack by Van der Haar followed by pace-making effort from Albert separated the pair and Vantornout from the field, and by the end of the fifth lap, the trio had an eight second advantage over the next group.
With three laps to go, it came down to a battle between Albert and Van der Haar as Vantornout was unable to keep up with continued attacks by both riders, neither of whom were able to gain an advantage. Then, on the final sandy run up, Van der Haar missed his pedal on remount and continued to struggle to clip in, allowing Albert to gain the small but decisive gap in the final moments. Albert, exhausted from the effort, sat up knowing he had secured the win, leaving the fast-sprinting van der Haar to bang his bars in frustration knowing what could have been if it came down to a sprint.
Meeusen finished third over Philipp Walsleban (BKCP-Powerplus) after the two chasers desperately tried to close the gap to the leaders in the final laps of the race. The victory, coupled with Nys’ abandonment, moves Albert into the lead of the Superprestige standings.
Niels Albert, Lars van der Haar, Tom Meeusen at the 2013 Superprestige in Gieten. © Thomas van Bracht / Cyclocross Magazine
In the Elite Women’s race, Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) made up for her sixth place finish yesterday with a decisive win over Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP). Reza Hormes (Orange Babies), who we haven’t seen much of in the early season, took the early lead, followed by Cant with a pass in the wooded section. But before the end of the first lap, Wyman had moved ahead of Cant, increasing her lead each lap.
The battle for second shaped up between Cant and Sabrina Stultiëns (Rabobank-Liv/Giant), the early race leader at yesterday’s World Cup race in Koksijde. The pair seemed evenly matched until Cant’s bike handling in the technical sand sections allowed her to gain the advantage. Stultiëns finished third, five seconds behind.
The only U.S. racer in attendance at Gieten, Crystal Anthony (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) had a spectacular performance, finishing seventh 2:32 down from the leader. The next race in the Superprestige Series takes place in Diegem, Belgium on December 29.
Superprestige Gieten Men’s Race, Last Lap Video
Superprestige Gieten Women’s Race Video
2013 Superprestige Gieten Elite Men's Results:
|2||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||1:01:43|
|12||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||1:02:17|
|15||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||1:02:47|
|17||Micki VAN EMPEL||NED||1:03:54|
|21||Patrick VAN LEEUWEN||NED||1:04:52|
|25||Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE||BEL||1:05:32|
|26||Eddy VAN IJZENDOORN||NED|
|36||Rik VAN IJZENDOORN||NED|
2013 Superprestige Gieten Elite Women's Results:
|6||Sophie de Boer||(Ned)||0:02:17|
|10||Asa Maria Erlandsson||(Swe)||0:03:35|
|11||Monique van de Ree||(Ned)||0:03:50|
|14||Bianca van den Hoek||(Ned)||0:03:57|
|19||Lindy Van Anrooij||(Ned)||0:04:54|