I watched the cross in Tervuren this AM via the interwebs as did tons of people. The coverage has been great this year with tons of friendly re-casters helping those with non-Belgian IP addresses see the goodness. Stybar put on a clinic of smoothness and grace which proved to be the decisive factor.
It's getting to be crunch time in January as everyone is gunning to peak for their National Championships and Worlds. Young guns are drilling it to make names at the front when not racing in their U23 categories and folks with weaker seasons are pushing hard to ensure they don't get dumped from their sponsors for next season. It's chaos and super emotional.
We've all watched Niels Albert become the super star that he is. Two seasons ago he would select races outside his normal U23 schedule and would show his face in the GVAs against Sven and the hardened pros to taste the pace and we could all see he was going to be a player. In essentially his first season he pulls on the world champ stripes. Amazing. When he's on it, Niels looks like he's riding 'like he stole it.' But when he's off his game or in difficulty, the hands go up, he's yelling or pulls antics like this...
Capital W weak.
Today Niels was on a tear bringing back Stybar. Clearly given that effort and dropping everyone in the chase group he demonstrated he was the most powerful rider on the day. He dropped everyone with three to go and when he came upon a lapped rider and had to dab, he had pedal problems due to clogged ice and snow. The frustration set in and he made EVERYONE know it. Coming into the pits he ejects his bike until it flipped into his band of waiting and loyal pit crew helpers. What a dick. I'd have handed him back a dirty bike with the words EAT IT NIELS written on the bar tape.
Doesn't he realize we don't give a shit? Save the drama Niels and do something we do give a shit about like chasing down Stybar. Watch Sven Nys in difficult moments like this. He will calmly step off his Colnago, assess his issue like a dropped chain, etc, and remount to get his job done. Even if he has to walk his bike when an issue makes it unrideable, he goes about it calmly and with a true professional attitude.
I guess what I am saying is that I've learned my lessons in the past by doing stupid things when I'm frustrated. Swearing out loud when there's kids around or general sulking. It's just beat. I've learned. But as a professional, I'd be giving him a tounge-lashing if I were BKCP Powerplus and saw that nonsense on Sporza along with millions of other Belgians who are influence by Niels and carry that to my product.
HTFU, Niels. Quit being a frigging baby. We really, honestly, are bored by it.