Niels Albert dominated the UCI cyclo-cross world championships in Koksijde, Belgium, giving Colnago bikes yet another world title.
Albert and his BKCP teammates began using Colnago bikes in January and the Belgian blasted around the sandy course on his blue and white Colnago Prestige.
He finished 24 seconds ahead of Rob Peeters, with Kevin Pauwels third, as Belgian riders again dominated the world championships. Sven Nys finished seventh, while Radomir Simunek of the Czech Republic was the first non-Belgian in eighth place. He also competed on Colnago.
Alberto had struggled with a hand injury after a training crash in November but never gave up hope of winning a second world title and worked hard to be at his best for the biggest race of the cyclo-cross season. Cheered on by an estimated 60,000 home crowd, Albert rode a tactically perfect race, choosing to go clear alone early on the sandy course. His rivals perhaps thought he would fade but instead he conquered the sandy course with a classy performance.
“I had a very good day and my start was perfect. I got the lead on the first lap and my legs were very good. I got a five-second gap and decided that it was everything or nothing. It was everything and so I’m very happy,” Albert said as he savoured his second Elite world cyclo-cross title after also winning in 2009.
“I knew it was a hard course but I knew it was better to be ride alone on the sand. You can choose your own line and also recuperate before the ascents. That was good for me. My season is good now. I have two gold medals at just 26, so I’m very happy.”
Team Europcar has unveiled its new jersey and new Colnago bike colours as it prepares for another season of success in 2012.
The French team dominated the headlines during the 2011 Tour de France thanks to Thomas Voeckler fighting to defend the race leader’s yellow jersey and Pierre Rolland winning in L’Alpe d’Huez and taking the best young rider’s white jersey.
Both riders are part of the impressive Team Europcar line-up for 2012, along with Yukiya Arashiro, Christophe Kern, Anthony Charteau, Rafâa Chtioui, Sebastien Chavanel and talented neo-pros Angelo Tulik and Björn Thurau. The full line-up was unveiled at the official team presentation in Paris.
Team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau talked about the emotions of 2011 but also looked ahead to the new season: “2011 was a great moment. I’m very proud of what we achieved. I especially like that people said thank you because of the way we performed as a team. I in turn can only say thank you to our sponsors and to all of our riders. Winning is good but to move people with the way we ride with or hearts is even better. That’s we intend to do even more in 2012.”
Ernesto and Alessandro Colnago were present at the event and showed off the stunning C59 Italia and M10 Colnago bikes the Team Europcar riders will use in 2012. The bikes have a metallic green and matt carbon finish that will ensure he bikes stand out in the peloton.
The Colnago-CSF Inox team will ride the Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo and il Lombardia races in 2012 after receiving wild card invitations from race organisers RCS Sport.
The Italian team faced stiff competition for a place in some of the sports biggest races but can now look forward to another exciting season of racing and more success from some of the most talented young riders in cycling.
Ernesto Colnago welcomed the news that a team bearing his name will again compete in the biggest races in Italy.
“We’re extremely happy to see that the Colnago-CSF Inox team has been invited to the Giro d’Italia and RCS Sport’s other big races. I think RCS Sport has recognised that the Colnago-CSF Inox team represents the future of Italian cycling,” the legendary bike maker said.
“During all my years in cycling, I’ve always supported talented young riders in the hope they can develop into great riders. Quite a few have because my bikes have helped riders win over 40 world titles and hundreds of major races.”
“I’m now the main sponsor of the Colnago-CSF Inox team and I’m sure the team can do great things in 2012. Sacha Modolo is one of the fastest sprinters in the peloton at the end of a long hard race like Milan-Sanremo. He almost won it in 2010 and I’m sure he’ll be up there his year before battling with Mark Cavendish in the sprints at the Giro d’Italia.”
“The 2012 Giro d’Italia will also be a big opportunity for Domenico Pozzovivo. He’s one of the true pure climbers in the sport and can win the big mountain stages of the Giro. I’m also excited about Enrico Battaglin. He won the Coppa Sabatini last year while riding as a stagiaire with the team. He’s a huge talent and I think he’ll be the best neo-pro of 2012.”
The Colnago-CSF Inox team is currently working hard for the new season at a training camp in Tuscany. The team will make its debut at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina on January 23.
Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) won his eighth Belgian national cyclo-cross title in Hooglede-Gits after another masterful display of riding in the mud on his Colnago Prestige bike.
Nys beat Niels Albert to pull on the prestigious national red, yellow and black jersey, meaning Colnago bikes secured a dominant and historic one-two in the most competitive national champion in the world.
Nys has been a long-time user of the Colnago Prestige bike and even helped design it with Ernesto Colnago. Albert and his BCKP-Powerplus teammates began using the Italian bikes at the start of 2012.
Nys and Albert quickly distanced the rest of the field after two laps of the demanding course and then Nys surged ahead alone, leaving Albert struggling in the mud.
The final two laps were a march of triumph for Nys. He changed his Colnago Prestige for the last time and then began celebrating his victory with the crowd.
He was naturally emotional after taking his eighth national title victory.
“Not so much because of my performance but because of what happened during the day,” Nys told Belgian television, revealing he had to visit a doctor in the hours before the race to get treatment for a back problem.
“I really thought I was going to have to let everyone down. A few hours before the race I was struggling but now I’ve won. It was an emotional moment, I really didn’t think I was going to even race, let alone win.”
Nys is now expected to lead the Belgian national team at the UCI world cyclo-cross championships in Koksijde, Belgium at the end of the month.