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Albert looked dominant once again. (Milan World Cup photo by Joe Sales)

by Dan Seaton and Bart Hazen

World champion Niels Albert, for the second time in two weeks, dominated the competition, winning the GP van Neerpelt on Sunday.  “This victory was for my manager,” Albert said after the race, “because he has lost someone.” Albert rode clear of the field early in the race and soloed to the finish on an unusually balmy September day in Belgium.  Of his efforts and manager Christophe Roodhooft’s loss, Albert said, “It’s very close to my heart and this is the only way I can support him.”

Second place finisher Zdenek Stybar who crossed the line some thirty seconds back from Albert in his first race of the season, told reporters that suffered in the early season heat.  “I could only follow [Albert] in the first twenty minutes,” he said. “Then I had a bad time. But I am very happy, it was my first ‘cross.”

Perennial favorite Sven Nys struggled in his first race of the season after a solid race at the Mountain Bike World Championships, finishing ninth, nearly two minutes back of Albert.  Nys, who struggled to find his rhythm on the ‘cross bike, told reporters that he made a number of mistakes during the race.  “Am I worried?” said Nys.  “No, I know what I’m doing. In October I will have to stand.”

Nonetheless, Nys told reporters that he was surprised by Albert’s form, “He had a great summer. I’ll do my best to bridge the gap in the coming weeks.”

Sunweb rider Klaas Vantornout finished third, nearly a minute back, while Czech rider Radomír Šimůnek crossed the line in fourth, just edging out Sven Vanthourenhout.

The U23 race was won by final year’s U23 Tom Meeusen (Telenet Fidea). Lubomir Petrus finished in second and Jim Aernouts completed the podium. Meeusen and Petrus rode in the lead for half the race. Due to a little mistake in a technical zone, Petrus dropped with Meeusen and the talented Belgian could take his first win of the season. His fourth win already in Neerpelt in his early career.

Full Results:

1ALBERT NielsBKCP – POWERPLUS1:00:03
2STYBAR ZDENEKFIDEA:00:34
3VANTORNOUT KlaasSUNWEB-PROJOB:00:59
4SIMUNEK RadomirBKCP – POWER PLUS:01:08
5VANTHOURENHOUT SvenSUNWEB-PROJOB
6PAUWELS KevinFIDEA CYCLING TEAM:01:34
7VERSTRAETEN JanKDL TRANS NV:01:40
8VANTHOURENHOUT DieterBKCP – POWERPLUS:01:52
9NYS SvenLANDBOUWKREDIET-COLNAGO:02:01
10VERVECKEN ErwinREVOR-JARTAZI CONTINENTAL TEAM:02:25
11AERNOUTS BartRABO CONTINENTAL TEAM:02:26
12BIANCO MarcoL´ARCOBALENO CARRARO TEAM:02:32
13VAN GILS WILANTZZPR:02:39
14BERDEN BenREVOR-JARTAZI CONTINENTAL TEAM:02:56
15VAN LEEUWEN PATRICKHET SNELLE WIEL:03:05
16VAN DEN BOSCH TomRENDEMENT HYPO CYCLINGTEAM VZW:03:42
17VAN AMERONGEN ThijsCT VAN VLIET EBH ADVOCATEN:04:00
18GIL MariuszVC LIEVESPURTERS:04:32
19BAZIN NICOLAS:04:43
20VAN NUFFEL TimRENDEMENT HYPO CYCLINGTEAM VZW:05:12
21DENOLF GianniBKCP – POWERPLUS:05:17
22VAN HEESWIJK ROYWV SCHIJNDEL:05:34
23BERCKMANS NicoDCM-GB VORSELAAR CYCLING TEAM VZW:05:49
24DE KORT TomAVB – CYCLING TEAM
25RONDELEZ BjornLINGIER VERSLUYS BEACHBIKERS TEAM VZW
26KALLENFELS JERRYEASYPAY GROUP
27WIND BRAMORC JANVAN ARCKEL
28DE SCHOESITTER StevenRUDYCO CYCLING TEAM
29CAUWELIER DriesCYCLING TEAM CAUWELIER ROESELARE
30DE MEESTER FreddyRIJSCHOOL AH – GENTSE VS
31SOETENS JanREVOR-JARTAZI CONTINENTAL TEAM
32BERTHOLET QuentinFIDEA CYCLING TEAM
33LEEMANS WimBKCP – POWERPLUS