Having never seen Niels Albert race before, I learned something at the Cincinnati Kings Cross race: he’s fast. Real fast. Definitely deserving of the rainbow stripes that adorn the majority of his Colnago Prestige that he piloted to what looked like a fairly easy victory at Kings Park this weekend. Niels certainly looks on-point for this coming week’s World Championship.
After the race, we snuck into their pit to get a look at the freshly power washed machine, check it out after the break!
No question who rides this bike – you know, if all the rainbows didn’t tip you off first. The full carbon Colnago Prestige has a built-in shouldering rest designed at Sven Nys’s request.
Niels runs a pretty straight forward Dura Ace Di2 7970 group. No satellite shifters, no 9070.
Cross is hard on components, even with (or especially with) power washing every other lap. Niels’ drive train and chain stay show the abuse. The big ring is a 46, with a 38t inner ring. Older XTR 970 SPD pedals keep Niels glued to his bike, which are either extremely well used or possibly prototypes for the new 980s, as Niels’ pedals have flats ground onto the center of the spindle like the new 980s. While the bike is pictured with low profile Dura Ace carbon tubulars, Niels spent most of the race on Dura Ace C35 carbon hoops.
In addition to getting your name and rainbows on your bike, you also get them on your brakes. Even though Colnago doesn’t even have a non-disc version of the Prestige on their website anymore, Niels (like most Euros) is still rocking the cantilevers. TRP Carbon Revo X brakes with Swissstop yellow carbon brake pads are used to grip the carbon rims. Yes, the pads don’t appear to be adjusted properly, but the bikes were just being prepped to be torn down and packed up for Worlds.
Out back you find the same brake set up with an extra barrel adjuster.
Again, when you’re the world champ you get some custom parts – including tires. Albert’s Dugast Rhinos are emblazoned with World Champion stripes and a king Albert logo. Although, during the race Niels was seen on Dugast Typhoons tubulars – winning a very muddy race without the aid of mud tires(!).
As a Shimano athlete, Pro parts make up the rest of the bike. A Vibe7s alloy stem holds a Vibe DC carbon bar. Note the backside of the brake hanger – it looks like it has been filed down for additional clearance and likely turning radius. That was one of the few things that really stood out as out of the ordinary.
Finally, the king sits on a throne made of a Pro Vibe carbon post clamped to another custom bit, a Pro Turnix Saddle.
Think Niels will be on discs next year? Both Niels and his teammate Wietse Bosmans obviously made it work with the “old” cantis, Powers meanwhile was riding Avid BB7 road discs.