Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up for December 1
Edited by Laura Weislo
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in cyclo-cross.
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Nys doubles up
By Brecht Decaluwé
'Cannibal' grabs fourth win in
Sven Nys scored back-to-back victories over the weekend, sweeping the World
Cup in Koksijde, Belgium on Saturday and the Superprestige Series race in
Gieten, the Netherlands on Sunday.
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
The World Cup win was Nys' fourth of the season and solidifies his lead
in the World Cup overall competition. Although he fell behind the leaders
in the early going, Nys, nicknamed the 'Cannibal' for his voracious appetite
for success against all other men, was able to storm through the field
and power off the front to win by almost one minute. Fellow Belgian Bart
Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) finished second, outstprinting Sven Vanthourenhout
In the Koksijde world cup, there were minor early attacks from Bart Wellens
(Fidea) and Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank), but when UCI classification leader
Sven Nys (Rabobank) steamed through the field, nobody had an answer. "It’s
never easy to win a race like this. I made a mistake right after the start
on the stairs which resulted in being locked up in the bunch; I waited
patiently and moved up when possible," Nys said. "It’s a comfortable situation
for me as I didn’t need to win today," added the Belgian, who already
won three World Cup races this season (Aigle,
Today’s winner explained that he was mentally fresh after spending some
days in Mallorca together with teammate Sven Vanthourenhout. "I really
needed a break like that and on Monday we’re heading for Spain again,"
Bart Wellens won the prestigious battle for second place. "Without doubt
the best rider has won again," Wellens said, "to my opinion the real battle
is going on behind Nys." The flamboyant Belgian tried something during
the first laps but when Nys accelerated he couldn't respond. "I immediately
felt that Nys’ speed was too high for me. From that moment on I even needed
to pursue on the group with [Gerben] De Knegt," Wellens said.
Despite those tough moments, Wellens managed a good second place, which
might have been unexpected looking at his race. Sven Vanthourenhout (Rabobank)
finished on a World Cup podium for the first time this season, making
it an all-Belgian top three in Koksijde. "I was lacking some confidence
as I was afraid to blow up my engine. That’s why I was riding defensively,
I want to apologize for that towards my colleagues. If this wouldn’t have
been a world cup event I would’ve worked much more. Finishing on or off
the podium makes a difference of a 1000 Euros, so I guess it isn’t strange
that I started counting," Vanthourenhout said.
Sven Nys scored back-to-back victories.
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
Nys continued his string of victories in the Superprestige Series with
a convincing win in Gieten on Sunday afternoon. The only two riders who
threatened the Belgian superstar were teammate Gerben De Knegt and the
up-and-coming Klaas Vantornout (Fidea).
Nys enjoyed a good start (in contrast to the
Koksijde World Cup where Nys stumbled at the start), and his early
pressure left Bart Wellens (Fidea) chasing to get back to Nys, De Knegt
Two laps from the finish, Nys launched his ultimate acceleration in
a sand pit and rode untroubled towards victory. "On this course it
was much harder to ride away from the opposition," Nys said. "Until
halfway through the race I was only busy with defending my good position
in the Superprestige Series, I would've been happy with a top three spot.
When I noticed the others had a hard time dealing with my tempo I started
thinking about the victory," Nys explained.
Klaas Vantornout enjoyed a great weekend finishing sixth in Koksijde
and third today. Hans Van Kasteren, team manager of the Fidea team will
be happy that he has another big gun in his ranks. "Yesterday I dug
deep to become sixth, today I was surprised to see I was even stronger.
So I learned something at the age of 24, that I don't need more than a
day to recover," Vantornout said. "When Nys accelerated I didn't
want to blow up my legs, a few moments later I noticed that De Knegt couldn't
follow either so Nys was really going fast."
See full report, results and photos for Koksijde
Bessette and Johnson on top again
Photo ©: Paul Weiss
While the sunny skies and high temperatures made it feel more like early-season,
Saturday's Gear Works Bay State cyclo-cross, round 5 of the 2006 Verge
New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series, packed all the punch of a
classic East Coast ‘cross throwdown. cyclo-cross's first couple, Lyne Bessette
(cyclo-crossworld.com) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-cyclo-crossworld.com),
won the Elite Women's and Men's races, though under very different circumstances.
The flowing Chocksett School course offered few technical challenges,
instead rewarding flat out strength and speed. Those requirements fit
perfectly into Bessette's skill set and the Canadian champion dashed off
the front of a flummoxed Elite Women's field on the first lap, never looking
back. With Verge NECCS jersey holder Mackenzie Dickey (Verge Sports) suffering
through a sub-par outing, local favorites Rebecca Wellons (GearWorks-SpinArts)
and Mo Bruno Roy (Independent Fabrication-Wheelworks) took up the ultimately
fruitless pursuit of Bessette. With Bessette comfortably ahead, Wellons
took second and Bruno Roy third.
Its important for me to win the New England Series this year,
said Lyne after her third NECCS win in as many starts this year. I
got the USGP jersey, and that was great, but for me this is my local series.
I opted out of the final two New England races last year so I could race
in Europe and that cost me the overall. I dont want to miss out
Lyne will finish her 2006 cross campaign December 9-10 in Rhode
Island with the final two races of the Verge New England Championship
cyclo-cross Series where she will be joined by teammate Ben Jacques-Maynes
in his preparation for U.S. Nationals.
As for Bessette's husband, Johnson won from a powerful trio with fellow
New Englanders Mark McCormack (Clif Bar) and Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly)
on a spectacular last-lap attack. Having spent nearly an hour figuring
just the right spot for a definitive acceleration, Johnson put full effort
through a small set of chicanes and opened the race winning margin. Powers,
who had been the most aggressive of the leading three, found his legs
not up to the task when Johnson went and McCormack too had no answer for
the defending Verge NECCS champ's move. McCormack out-kicked Powers for
See the full report, result and photos here.
National champion dominates
By Kei Tsuji
Keiichi Tsujiura (Bridgestone-Anchor)
Photo ©: Hideaki Takagi
The second race of the Kansai-cyclo, one of the Japan's cyclo series,
was held in Yasugawa, near Lake Biwa. This race was the only chance to
get UCI points for domestic cyclo-cross riders, and also very important
for the national team selection for the worlds in Belgium. The course
is largely flat as the Yasu river runs along it, and there are some sections
covered with sand.
Under the dull sky, 41 top-class Japanese riders lined up for the race,
including the national champion Keiichi Tsujiura, and podium-goer Masanori
Kosaka. In addition, attention was focused on well-experienced rider,
Masahiko Mifune, who announced his intention to retire at the end of this
season. Banners displaying Mifune's name were visible all round the course.
From the beginning, the race was fully controlled by Tsujiura who wore
the Japanese shining white champion jersey. After the first lap, a group
of five riders, Tsujiura, Kosaka, Maruyama, Takenouchi and Mifune, formed
together and no other riders could join it.
Gradually Tsujiura paced up and the others couldn't hold on to him. Only
Kosaka could keep up with the fierce pace, but finally the power of the
champion overwhelmed him. Tsujiura finished first and gained 30 UCI points.
Though he was not in good condition, he succeeded to uphold the dignity
of a champion.
See the full results and photos here.
A new 'cross team for Belgium
By Brecht Decaluwé
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
From January 1, 2007 the dominance of Fidea and Rabobank in cyclo-cross
might be over. A new Belgian team, the Sunweb-Projob team, was presented
on Monday by team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen. Sunweb is a travel agency
while Projob is a seller of sector-specific working clothes.
The two biggest names on the team's roster, Sven Vanthourenhout and Jan
Verstraeten weren't presented on the podium, Mettepenningen explained
this wouldn't have been appropriate towards the sponsors of their respective
current teams, Rabobank and SD Worx. "We will receive enough media attention
after the New Year," Mettepenningen said. He expressed his desire to compete
with Rabobank and Fidea at the highest level in cyclo-cross, with the
Belgian championship in Hamme being the first big appointment for the
Sven Vanthourenhout (Rabobank)
Jan Verstraeten (SD Worx)
Tom Vannoppen (Palmans-Colstrop)
Kenneth Van Compernolle
Jan Van Dael
Mario De Clercq (coach)
Hans De Clercq (coach)
Jurgen Mettepenningen (manager)
Global cyclo-cross round-up
Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races
- December 2 - 3: Japan National Championships, Tomakomai (Jpn) CN
- December 3: Capital Cross Classic, Reston, Virginia (USA) C2
- December 3: UCI World Cup, Igorre (Spa) CDM
- December 3: Grand Prix Julien Cajot, Leudelange (Lux) C2
- December 3: KLM Marketing Solutions, Kansas City, MO (USA) C2
Verge MAC finishes up in DC
In a fitting conclusion to the season, the Verge MAC powered by Hammer
Nutrition travels to the Washington DC area for the Capital Cross Classic
presented by The Bike Lane this Sunday, December 3. The Verge MAC barrels
into its final UCI-C2 showdown with familiar faces poised to seize control
once again, newcomers ready to wrest leadership from the old guard, and
someone from Massachusetts willing to jump into the fray and throw a monkey
wrench into the whole process.
In the elite mens division, two-time defending champion Ryan Leech
(Meredith Group/GPOA/Cannondale) trails Weston Schempf (FORT Factory Team)
by a scant 49 points after seven races. The two traded wins at the last
series weekend in New Hope. Schempf, on the other hand, needs only a second
place finish on Sunday to clinch the championship. One unexpected entrant
is Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Wine road standout Tyler Wren, who will
be making his first Verge MAC start.
On the Womens side, 2003 and 2004 Verge MAC Champion Betsy Shogren
(FORT Factory Team) has roared past her rivals by scoring two consecutive
wins in the mud baths of the Guys
Racing/Colonial Subaru VW cyclo-cross and Evo-Cross
races in New Hope. The fast course in DC, however, would seem to favor
Shogrens closest rival and the revelation of the season - Dee Dee
Winfield (Velo Bella/Kona). However, Shogrens points lead is such
that Winfield cannot win the championship herself simply by winning the
race - she will need help in the form of other racers finishing in front
of Shogren. One racer that Winfield could be counting on is Massachusetts
native and occasional Verge MAC interloper Maureen Mo Bruno-Roy
(Independent Fabrications/Wheelworks). Counting on Bruno-Roy could be
a double-edged sword for Winfield, however, as Bruno-Roy was a US National
Team member in January and has a Verge MAC victory of her own this year
at the HPCX
event in New Jersey. A Bruno-Roy victory all but assures Shogren her third
championship in four years.
Nashville series finale set
The 2006 Nashville Cyclo-Cross Series will wrap up in Madison at Cedar
Hill Park on December 9. The series beneficiary is House of Mercy, Inc.,
a house for homeless moms and their kids to live together during recovery.
Race day will feature several races for riders of all categories.Awards
will be provided to the top three athletes in each category, and all racers
12-and-under will receive a small prize. The series winners will be announced
following the races, and winners will be awarded cash and prizes. For
more information, and a schedule of races, visit www.nashvillecyclo-crossseries.com.
Chicago 'cross cup winds up
On Sunday, December 3; the fourth and final race of the Chicago cyclo-cross
Cup racing series will double as the Illinois State cyclo-cross Championship.
The race will be held on the grounds of Montrose Park in the city of Chicago.
The course makes use of the many natural and manmade areas of the park,
and riders can expect a well rounded circuit using elements of pavement,
gravel track, grass and sandy areas with both off camber and running sections
mixed into each lap.
As witnessed last year, the weather can change a course overnight and
one never knows what to expect on race day. In 2005, riders rose to a
cold and a snow covered race course. Race flyers and information for the
2006 Chicago cyclo-cross Cup can be found at http://www.chicrosscup.com/
Michigan 'cross heads for a 'showdown in Motown'
With a cast of teams and characters that sounds like its straight
out of the 1970s cult film classic, The Warriors, the
best of the Michigan cyclo-cross scene are set to do battle at the 2006
Kinetic Systems-Michigan cyclo-cross Championships on Sunday, December
3 in Waterford, MI.
Representing the west side of the state will be the 'Black Guard' of
the Founders Brewing Team. Theyll be butting heads with the dominant
'blue wave' Cane Creek team. Could Mike Wissink of the Specialized 'Red
Brigade' spoil the party? Dont count out the 'Orange Crush' from
Sunrise Sports or the wildcard 'Flying Rhino' Tim Saari, each of whom
are poised to grab the win should any of the top riders falter.
Despite a weather forecast calling for temperatures around 30F and a
possibility of snow, the racing will be hot, and so will the food. Immediately
follow the Elite Mens race there will be a post-race party with
hot soup and chili provided to all racers. Additionally, there will be
a drawing for $850 in gift certificates for Cannondale merchandise as
well as a set of Sportcrafters rollers.
Racing begins with the C-categories at 10:00am at the Waterford Hills
Sports Car Track in suburban Metro Detroit. For complete information visit
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