Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) won the Superprestige round at Gieten on Sunday and took the series lead as mechanicals hamstrung fellow breakaway Lars van der Haar (Rabobank) and world champion Sven Nys (Crelan-KDL).
With 10 laps remaining Nys had been on the front of a 10-man group containing most of the usual suspects save Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), who was back in a chase with Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games).
But Nys slid out in a slick corner and then seized up his rear derailleur, leaving him with a long run to the pits. As he legged it toward a spare bike, Albert worked his way past and up to the leaders.
With Nys out of the hunt, some 45 seconds down, Albert moved to the front of the lead group and gave it the gas. Van der Haar and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb) went with him, but only the Rabobank rider could stay with him. Vantornout lost the wheel with slightly more than three laps remaining, and Nys would abandon the race a lap later.
Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Philipp Walsleben (BKCP) were chasing some eight seconds down as the leaders began the final go-round, but they wouldn’t close the gap.
Then, what seemed certain to be a two-up sprint for the win ended as a mechanical tripped up van der Haar, who was left to bang his bars in frustration as Albert celebrated his second win of the weekend.
Meeusen outsprinted Walsleben for third.
Albert took over the lead of the Superprestige series with 66 points. Nys slipped to second with 58, tied on points with Vantornout, who now sits third overall.
In women’s racing, Helen Wyman (Kona Factory) took the victory over Sanne Cant (Enetherm-BKCP) with Sabrina Stultiens (Rabobank-Liv-Giant) third.