Will this be the winning bike in Hoogerheide? We say no.
The last major cyclocross race of this season is this weekend, and it’s the biggest of them all — the 2014 world championships in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands. Among the rider to watch will be two-time elite men’s winner Niels Albert. The Belgian has had an up and down season by his standards, but he’s proven himself a big game player in the past and should never be counted out.
If Albert is to dethrone reigning world champ, and fellow Belgian Sven Nys, he’ll need a flawless performance from body and bike. Only Albert can take care of the former. The later will be up to his support staff and his Colnago Prestige race machine. Actually make that five race machines, which is how many bikes Albert brings to each race. Always good to have options.
Each bike is spec’d with an array of top shelf parts that includes a full Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 Di2 electronic shifting drivetrain. Albert runs standard 46-39 chainrings mated with either a 12-25 or 12-27 cassette depending on the course and conditions. Pedals are Shimano XTR. All cockpit componets and his seatpost are top shelf PRO models. His saddle is a PRO Turnix. Wheels are carbon fiber Dura-Ace C35 wrapped with Dugast tubulars. Braking is provided by TRP Revo X Carbon stoppers.
Here is a video walk-through of the bike courtesy of our friends at the Global Cycling Network.
While we are talking this weekend’s world championships, we’d be remiss if we didn’t break down the key riders to watch at Hoogerheide. Besides Albert, here is our list of the top 10 riders to watch, which unfortunately does not include a U.S. man. They’re best hope? Top 15… Our predicted winners: Lars van der Haar (men’s elite), Marianne Vos (women’s elite), and Wout van Aert (Under-23).
1. Sven Nys: Reigning world champ. 2x world’s winner. Best ’cross racer ever?
2. Tom Meeusen: Won final round of the World Cup. Never medaled at world’s.
3. Francis Mourey: French national champ. Won Namur World Cup.
4. Philipp Walsleben: 2009 U23 champ. German national champ. 2nd in World Cup.
5. Lars van der Haar: Reigning World Cup champ. Home favorite. Top sprinter.
6. Marianne Vos: 6x world champ. Won every cross world title since 2009.
7. Katie Compton: 8x U.S. national champ. Won 2013-14 World Cup. Can she beat Vos?
8. Sanne Cant: Best Belgian women’s rider. Current Belgian champ. Can she move up podium?
9. Mathieu van der Poel: Never lost at cross world’s as junior. Can he duplicate as U23?
10. Wout van Aert: Only rider to truly challenge Mathieu van der Poel in U23 this year.