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Cyclo-cross Legends: Niels Albert’s Incredible Bike Shop

Cyclo-cross Legends: Niels Albert’s Incredible Bike Shop


(cars passing) – Continuing our tour of
Belgian cyclo-cross legends, we’re here today in Tremelo, Belgium at one of the icons of the
sport’s bike shop, Niels Albert. He’s going to take us through his shop and show us some of the cool
stuff that he’s collected from over the years of racing, and all of his friends
that were in the sport. It’s going to be a little
bit of a history tour. It’s going to be a
little bit of cool stuff and insight from Niels
Albert, so let’s go. (soft electronic music) In May 2014, Niels Albert
announced to the world that he had to retire from racing. The two-time world champ and
Belgian cyclo-cross superstar declared that he had an
uncurable heart arrhythmia and would have to retire
from racing immediately. Four months after his
retirement, he was recruited to work with then up-and-coming
superstar, Wout Van Aert. Niels guided Wout to three
world championship gold medals, 2016, 2017, and 2018. And well, the rest is history. So we’re here with Niels, who is not needing a huge introduction, but has been Belgian champion,
let’s just say many times. – Yeah. – At least once as an elite. – Yeah, 2011 I was an elite. – It was a nice jersey. I remember it. – Yeah. – I think four times
in the junior under 23, and twice as an elite. – Yeah, it’s possible. – Famously, in Koksijde – Yeah – Where we’ve heard that you
have a dune named after you. – Yeah, that is correct. – That is pretty – That’s pretty amazing. – That’s pretty amazing. (both laugh) You’re like, “Hey,” to your wife, “let’s go take a walk on the beach.” And she’s like, “Well,
which one are you thinking?” And you’re like, “I’m thinking Koksijde.” – Niels Albert Beach. – Yeah, Niels Albert Beach. Exactly. (both laugh) I think over, I think 11 World Cup wins. – Yeah, it’s possible. I didn’t – Okay, a bunch. A bunch. – Yeah. – A lot of wins. And you’ve worked with some of the top names in the sport, Wout Van Aert, and most
recently Laurens Sweeck. Top names. And you’ve had
a lot of fun with that. Obviously your career, you’ve retired, but now you have this awesome bike shop and you’ve asked some of the riders, “Hey, can I have some cool
stuff to show off in the shop?” And that’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to take a little tour, – Yeah. Okay. – Of the Niels Albert Bike Shop. (soft music) – This one is his first
one. I get it from Wout, after the world champion
win in Gierle in 2016. – Gierle. – Yep, Gierle. – I was also there. That
was a really crappy day. – Yeah it was bad weather. – Terrible weather. – Terrible weather. And also
very hard for the material. – Yeah. – Because it was sand and rain. – Yes. Exactly. Yeah. – This one is his first one. – This is his first
world championship? Yes. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. – What, can you describe,
like, a little bit of that? Obviously for you, I think that was, like, proud papa bear. You had
to be pretty happy for him. – Yeah, that was the
year that he had a crash with Michael Vanthourenhout. – That’s right. – And you saw that Michael
was stuck with his feet in Wout’s front wheel. – That’s right. – And after the crash,
Michael’s head was down. And Wout was riding,
riding and wins the final. He wins the world title. – I know. – But I think they were both,
they were same boat even well. – Yeah. – I think that day, but, Wout was mentally – Strong. – A little bit stronger
than Michael that day. I think about the first one. The first one for me is special. – Yes. – Because I was retired two
years and it was Belgian soil. And when I think about
that race and still, – You get goosebumps. – Yeah. – That’s cool. – Okay, so let’s look at
number two because this one has a pretty cool story as well. – This one is from Luxembourg. This one is the bike
with the special tires. – Yeah, I know. There’s a lot
of talk about these tires. – Normally, we make, we built the tires special
for normally when it was snow. – Yes. – But then they are a little bit old, so they are really tough. And that’s why we put them on
tire because when it snows, then I was thinking, yeah
in snow and then you can put a little bit low pressure
in your tire. More feeling. – Yes. – But then the conditions
were totally different. But there are a lot of
rocks in the muddy sections. And with the new tires it doesn’t work. I don’t know (claps) and
it was one of the other, or the flat tire, and Wout just
keep riding and keep riding. – Yeah. – Yeah. – That’s right. So he had no flat? – No, no, no. – And, I think
Vanthourenhout had how many? – Four, I think. Four or five. – And there were people
that literally went through all of the wheels they brought. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. It
was done. Some guys. It was totally done. – It’s over. Yeah, they can’t keep, they couldn’t keep racing
they flatted so many times. – Yeah. – They didn’t have any more
wheels to be able to keep going. – Yeah, I can remember the
day that some parents were walking around in the pit area and ask, “Yeah, you have some wheels?
You have some wheels?” (short laugh) – That is – So it was crazy day. – That is crazy that the tire is, like, it’s just kind of the right combo of being – Now it’s flat. – thick enough. No of course, but – Now it’s flat. (laughs) I know. I know. But
the thickness of the rubber would be different than a
traditional tire, right? Because they’re so, they’re so thin now. And they want all of the
flexion, and the movement. But this is, like, so
thick that it was able to prevent the flats. – That was a difference. – It’s so cool. Okay, let’s
check out some other stuff. – Yeah. Okay. (soft music) – He had wings on this day. – It was not normal. – Yeah, (laughing) he
was on another level. So this is his third one, from Valkenburg, which was, in fact, my last
(claps) world championships. And I have to say that I do not have a great memory
from that race. (laughs) – I know the conditions were terrible. – Terrible. – Really, really heavy. – It’s not even like the correct word. It was worse than terrible. – I think six rounds? – Yeah. – I think the professional
guys did six rounds. – It was. – I think 10 or 11 minutes. – Yeah, exactly. – So yeah, it was really
a strange, a strange race. And yeah, Vanthourenhout
was the big favorite. – Of course. – But then we saw in
the last couple of days that the track was changing.
And it was really heavy. And that was, yeah, Wout
was growing mentally, during the week, – Yeah. – From the last world cup
to the world championships. He was mentally growing.
We talked a lot. And yeah, it’s possible Wout. It’s possible. – I also think that Matthew
had a lot of pressure to win. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think so. – And he hadn’t won since his first title. – Yeah, I think so. – And I think that Wout, just truthfully, his running was on, it was, phenomenal. He was running so fast. Expected Valkenburg to be really hard. But never did I expect it to be that, the ground to move so much.
And the ruts were, like, if you got stuck in a
rut it was practically up to your fork. It was so deep. – That’s really strange. – So, yeah, I remember he
rode a more narrow tire for this race, I think
right? A 30 or a 32? – Yeah. 30. – 30, right. Which is
something that you would do, also in your career. – Yeah. – I remember you were at
Mere running, I think a 30, so maybe in the front or
in the rear or something. – Yeah, sometimes both. But the thing is, I was always saying when
the mud is not really deep and it’s just upper, then I
think you can ride also with 30. – This was his last world
championship that he won. – Yep, the last one. – And this was also the last
year that you worked with him. – Yeah, it was the last year. – Then he switched to a different team. – Yep, correct. Yeah. – Very cool. – Let’s look at your bike.
This bike looks, this is, (coughing) was this from your last season of racing? – No. This one was, we
start racing with Colnago. I was world champion in 2009, and I think this one is from 2011. – I think so, too, because you
were going into Louisville, you were the world champ.
And I’m pretty sure you rode this bike in the
warm up race in Louisville. – Yeah, yeah, I think also, yeah. – Yeah. – Because another one over
there, a blue one, I think the device is different.
Nice memories, huh? – Yeah, it is. Yeah, and also you have your nickname was King Albert. – Yeah. – And they put a small, a small detail here on the custom Dugast tubulars. – Yeah. – Very few people get
the world champ stripes on their Dugast tubular. And even fewer have a crown on them. Sven’s bike is over here? – Yeah, yeah, yeah. This
one is from his last year. – I remember it. I was still, I was still trying to beat him. Although he, he was, yeah, he was more vulnerable when
he got older, thankfully. (laughs) But he’s still good. – 15-16 was his last
year. And then that year he won one race in Koksijde.
And that was with disc brakes. And he had two bikes with
disc, and I think here’s one. I have also one bike with disc brakes. But I don’t know exactly
which one he won that day. – Maybe this is the one. – Maybe this is the one.
Maybe the one at home. I don’t know. – Well when he wants it
back, he doesn’t have to come far to get it. – No, I buy them. This one
I buy. This one is mine. (host claps and laughs) – He can’t get it back. – When you work with Sven,
you have to buy your bike. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. – Okay, I get it. What do
you think was your best, your favorite battle with Sven? – My favorite battle? – He talked a lot about you with the sand. He gave you a lot of credit
for being, quite possibly, the best rider that’s ever
ridden the sand. Period. Ever. – Whoa. Okay. Yeah, the
strongest parts from Sven was, he was, yeah, he was riding really tactic. And the thing was, he was really powerful in the last five minutes of the race. And he, his biggest, my biggest frustration was in one second he was
(snaps) and there was a gap, there was a gap from five,
six, six, five to six seconds. And I cannot close it to the finish line. So that was the biggest
power from Sven, I think. When you don’t expect it,
yeah, in a few seconds (snaps) pop, pop, pops up and it was a close gap. – And it’s one mistake.
And then he’s gone. – And then he’s gone. Yeah, but it was always in the last round, in the last two rounds. Because
he know, I think he knows when he had strong day,
then he can ride also in one hour full of gas. But Sven more in the end of his career, then we are making the biggest fights. He know I can ride for one
hour full gas. No problem. (coughs) Sven was more explosive than me. And I think that was his biggest strength. – Yeah, all right next.
Let’s see what we have, what else we have. – The thing that I am most proud of it. It’s my own bike from Koksijde. It’s the most impressive bike for me. – I remember it well. (coughs) That was a, That was a, this was a This was an incredible day to watch. You rode like a flawless
race. I was in this race, and I’m not even joking,
I think I was in like maybe 16th or 17th place with, like, four other national champions.
And you lapped us. (laughs) – Yeah? – Yes. Well not technically,
but the UCI, like, pretty famously pulled, it
was me, Christian Hoyla, Francise Mouray, like,
a lot of good riders, you know, that we battled
with. Yeah, and they said, “Okay, you have to stop
because.” And I thought, “Holy crap, man. (laughs)
Who is going that fast?” – I didn’t know. – No, of course you didn’t. You were winning the world championship. – No, I didn’t know it. – It was an impressive
day. No, to say the least. Like your, I don’t think you
made one mistake on this race. – Yeah, that day, for me, yeah, it’s my biggest victory of my career. It’s a special one. For me it’s still a special
moment when you can win the world’s in Koksijde on
your favorite sand track that’s ever built, I think. – Yeah. Yes. With a lot of history. With also in 94. It’s a track with a big history and you can win the world’s. And I think still for the moment, the world’s where the most
people are there in one day. – I was going to say, I think they said, cause they had special trains designed just to take the fans to
and from the venue because – 61,000 – 61,000. Yeah, we have to say that. And is this a photo from it? Zonhoven? – No, this is a photo
I get it from Ridley. It’s a photo from Zonhoven. – That’s what I said, yeah. – But it’s the start of the professionals, but I’m already gone, I think. – Yeah. – This is, this is Vantornout, I think. – We see this. Tell me about
this, like, this picture. Because this is very
Belgian. Like I see a lot of these types of pieces of
art that people have drawn. – The guys, the guy that
make the picture is Nestor and it’s a famous guy and he makes caricature. – Yeah, characters. – Yeah, from special moments. And he built he, he
paint it, and I get it. – What is the significance of the snowman down on the bottom?
Just that it was bad weather? – Yeah, maybe when it’s winter. Yeah, there was no snow in Koksijde. – No, not this time. – And I get it for my
world title in Koksijde, so it was, yeah. – Pretty cool. – Yeah, it’s nice. – Pretty cool. (soft electronic music) Thank you for taking us for a tour, man. – No problem. – This is beautiful. If
you’re ever in Tremolo, is that how you say it? – Yeah, Tremolo. – All right, Tremolo, I try.
If you’re ever in Tremolo, you have to come through.
You may see the man himself, Niels, because you’re here. – Probably all day. – Yeah, all the time. So you can come, get a picture with Niels. Check out some of the awesome
history that is in the shop. And pay a visit. – Yeah. – Thank you for having us. – No problem. – All right.

73 comments on “Cyclo-cross Legends: Niels Albert’s Incredible Bike Shop

  1. "Continuing our tour" hmmm so who are the others is it possible that they've already recorded videos with other but released this first because the edit was done.

  2. I wish you show a bit more about the shop and bikes there – have you spotted something interesting or unusual, some local brands or hand made bikes?

  3. Can't believe it's been over 5 years since Albert retired. The sport lost a great rider, and then we had a big gap between generations (Nys, Klaas, Bart, etc. to MvdP and Wout).

  4. WOW I don’t follow cycleocross but this x pros shop look absolutely amazing……. and a dream shop to visit….. not just for all the history regarding all the pros bikes….. but also for all the new bling😍😍 wish we had this combo of a shop in🇮🇪😢

  5. Neils, you probably don’t read these comments, but i want to say that you’re amazing to watch on the bike. My heart broke when i heard you wouldn’t be racing anymore. It must have been devastating news. Thanks for capturing some of this history in your shop! I love hearing you talk about those memories. Cheers mate!

  6. Jeremy is sooo good at keeping a good flow even when someone isn't really that talkative. The conversation became more and more fluent over the video. Can't help but smile when watching Mr. JPow

  7. Kudo's to Jeremy for NOT correcting this man's english but just shutting up and listen.
    (There's a lesson in it for me for sure.) You're a true gentleman.

  8. Jeremy brings a fresh sensibility to his work at GCN. I love this bike shop video. Imagine an interviewer who admits that he and several other proud national champions were told to stop a race because they had been lapped by the person he is interviewing. Real insight into the sport and the sportsmen who play it.

  9. Great little trip down memory lane! Fine work by you and the team showing us some great footage of classic cyclo-cross bikes and equip. Thank JPow!

  10. Love the lookback and smile from jpow. He is so obviously enjoying what he is doing, I love genuine stuff like this. Keep it coming.

  11. Really enjoyed the video. Jeremy is a fantastic as a presenter. It was very nice to see Jeremy at work with his stories and actual experience. Niels did not seem very comfortable at the beginning of the video but Jeremy very skillfully made him smile and it made for great material. I really would like to see a lot more of Jeremy on your channel and he would be a great addition to GCN. For your info Andy Schleck has a really nice bike shop in Hesperange (Luxembourg).

  12. Spokes in Chelmsford is an amazing bike repair shop. They don’t sell ‘em, they just fix ‘em. They are not bike snobs. They will repair any bike from a kids trike to a high end carbon machine. My Canyon is with them now after I got knocked off by a hit & run driver.

  13. Am I the only person who wishes these bikes were clean? I don't get the 'still dirty from the race it won' vibe. Much rather see them clean with air in the tyres.

  14. Seems like there's more gravel and cyclocross than there is road on GCN now, maybe it's time for a "global road cycling network" channel.

  15. Coming out of winter here in Aust. Still lethargic and lazy this year. However, watching this video just makes me WANT to get back on and ride, right now! Great clip guys. Thanks for the tour and the memories.

  16. I actually bought my very own CX bike from this shop about 2-3 years ago. My bergamont cx prime edition modelyear 2017. Nice shop, friendly people and I think he's actually the one that sold my bike but I hate to say that I don't remember and totally didn't know his face back then.

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