There has been a bit more cross action recently with World Cup events at Namur and Zolder. The big winner was Sven Nys who finished 2nd (behind Kevin Pauwels) & 1st respectively and is tied with Albert in the lead for that competition, which is based on points.
Attention turned back to the BPBtrofee with today’s round held in Azencross.
This series is based on total time as opposed to points and Albert had a lead of 51s on Nys coming in to today.
Just like in recent races there was a lot of mud and ‘blubber’ on the course which had some interesting technical sections such as the ‘washboard’ which wouldn’t look out of place on a BMX track. And the beerglass section where fans seemed to enjoy throwing beer and then glasses over the riders, more if which later.
The race started and as usual there was a huge press to be first into the bend and muddy section, several of the top names lost some places here and when Taramarcaz went down early he held up Nys among others.
A small group finally formed at the front including Albert, Stybar & Vantornout, who scooped up the bonus seconds, while Pauwels desperately tried to bridge the gap to the leaders who were working well together. Nys was falling further back as he slipped and slid through the mud. He was also hit by a beer glass and decided to duck under the tape to find the loon responsible and ask him nicely not to throw things
In the meantime Albert tried to gap his co-leaders and managed to drop Vantornout. Stybar stuck to his wheel but looked tired with two laps to go. I guess this was a bit of gamesmanship because within seconds he had gapped Albert and had built up a lead of 7s. Albert seemed to be done for the day, but dug in to pull Stybar back. During the last lap Stybar again tried to ride away from Albert, but when he saw his biggest rival right behind him in the pits Stybar seemed to settle for a sprint finish, but Albert had other ideas.
Albert put in one more mighty dig through the washboard section and dropped Stybar for the final time to solo to victory in the Azencross. Not only that but he dealt out a hammer blow to Nys, who had been his closest threat for the series and increased his lead. Pauwels is now second in the series standings, but more than 5 minutes back. With three rounds to go it looks like Albert has this sown up.
The next televised race is in the Superprestige series at Diegem.
Check out the ‘cross calendar here.
Edited to correct spelling of Taramarcaz name & give some information on the series standings