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Pauwels wins in Rome; Albert in World Cup lead

Kevin Pauwels wins drag race in Rome

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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) won the seventh round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup on Sunday in Rome. Pauwels’ Belgian countryman Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) was second and resumed the World Cup overall lead with one stop remaining.

Italian Marco Fontana (Cannondale) was third.

Pauwels, Albert, Fontana and Frenchman Francis Mourey (FDJ) rode much of the race together on a twisting, dry and criterium-like track. Lars Van der Haar (Rabobank) was among the riders to go down in the high-speed corners of the track. A pre-race favorite, the U23 world champion would not see the front of the race again after crashing early.

Albert rode his second-place finish back into the white jersey of World Cup leader. The world champion can secure the overall title in the final stop, in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, on January 20.