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Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up for November 17

Edited by Laura Weislo

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in cyclo-cross. Feel free to send feedback, news and releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com.

Wellens wins ahead of unlucky Nys

"Winning is winning" says Wellens and he rode past a running Nys

By Brecht Decaluwť

Wellens shows superb form
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Bart Wellens (Fidea)'s third victory at the Jaarmarktcross in Niel came as a surprise gift. After trailing Sven Nys (Rabobank) by 20 seconds, he suddenly popped ahead of the running Nys at the finish. With 500m to go, UCI series leader Nys damaged his wheel while shifting up. Richard Groenendaal (Rabobank) also passed Nys and stayed ahead until the finish. The Dutchman is the new leader in the "Gazet van Antwerpen" trophy with 67 points. He leads Wellens by three points and Nys by 64 points.

Groenendaal downplayed his trophy lead, "I was the third best rider in the race and leading the overall classification doesn't mean anything right now, although it's a good position to be in during the next couple of races in the competition."

After the race, Wellens offered condolences to Nys, but he was still happy with the win. "Winning is winning," said the Wellens, who took his second victory of the season. "We all know the prizes are handed out across the finish line, but I agree it is sad for Nys what happened to him. Anyway, what could I do? I couldn't stop riding!"

Whoops! Nys' rear wheel
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Ironically, Wellens had thought of the possibility of a mechanical earlier in the race. "Actually I was previously shouting to Groenendaal to continue the chase saying that Nys could still have a mechanical."

Nys was not too disappointed with his bad luck. "I didn't do anything wrong, but apparently this wasn't my lucky day." Nys explained what happened, "I just geared up the same way I did every lap, afterward I did my best to defend that third place." He was just glad the mechanical didn't occur any earlier in the race. A lap earlier and, "I would've had to run much further before I could change my bike probably losing more positions, I guess I would've abandoned then." Nys joked about his run. "We'll see how I recover from that sprint as it really isn't comfortable to run on a road with those pins under your feet."

See the full report, results and photos here.

Nys takes third world cup race

By Brecht Decaluwť

Sven Nys was in a class of his own
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
Click for larger image

Sven Nys (Rabobank) bounced back from his bad luck during yesterdayís race and won his third world cup race of the season. The Belgian champion was the only one who could answer an early attack from Frenchman Francis Mourey (Fdjeux.com) who won the last world cup race in Treviso. After three laps, Nys accelerated and proved to be the strongest rider in the mud - nobody saw the leader of the UCI-rankings again. Team Rabobank will be happy to see that they had the winner, but also that all of five of their riders managed a top ten result.

With this victory, the Belgian took revenge for his bad luck in Niel. "Itís not really revenge - itís the birthday of my son, and then Iím always able to do something more, especially in a world cup race," Nys explained. A few weeks ago, Nys waited much longer before going on the attack. "On these muddy courses it doesn't matter if you ride alone or with someone else. You always need to choose your own track," Nys said.

Francis Mourey proves to be the strongest challenger to Sven Nys in the world cup races. "Mourey didn't ride yesterday [in Niel], so he was fresher than most of us; he was the man to follow at the start. Nevertheless he couldn't follow my pace later on in the race," said Nys.

Francis Mourey once more showed his good form with a second place, and following his recent successes, he may have set new targets for the rest of the season. "My form is great, thatís for sure; actually I don't even like these muddy races as I prefer faster courses. Iím eager to win at the world championships!" Mourey said.

See the full report, results and photos here.

US UCI 'cross round-up

Powers and Winfield one step ahead

By Kirsten Robbins

Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly)
Photo ©: Dennis Smith
(Click for larger image)
Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly) returned to the Mid Atlantic Cyclo-cross series to claim his first UCI win. Davide Frattini and Matt White came in biting at the heels for second place.

"I expected White, Frattini and I to get away together early," Powers said. "I live with Matt and I know how well he has been riding. So at the start I spent some time watching Davide and Matt put in a few good attacks. I tried to keep my distance and see how they were going to race."

White provoked the split with his blazing start, very similar to his winning performance last weekend. "The first couple of turns were hectic and it took a while to sort out the guys who were going to be on the podium. Half way through the first lap I went to blow things apart a little bit and Davide and Jeremy came with me - they were the group that I wanted to race with."

The trio began a series of attacks with four laps to go resulting in a perfect set up for Powersí winning move. "Matt jumped, then I jumped and when it was Jeremyís turn to jump next," Frattini said. "He came out of the technical section with a couple of bike lengths and just kept going. His jump was strong and he was able to keep a high speed for a few full laps. I tried to follow him but if I kept going it would have been really easy for me to have a heart attack. He was really strong today, one level above where I am at now and he just rode away - he deserved to win."

In the women's race, Deirdre Winfield (Velo Bella-Kona) rode away from her closest competition, Maureen Bruno Roy (Independent Fabrication), and soloed in for her win. Separations amongst the top riders in the field became larger as the race progressed. Bruno Roy limited her losses to approximately twenty seconds for second place and powerhouse Mandy Lozano one minute and half after that.

"The time differences in a regional race appear to be bigger than they are," Bruno Roy said. "At a national level there would have been six other riders between our fifteen-second gap. You donít see such big gaps through out the national level race because the race is much tighter."

The time gaps increased early on as Bruno Roy blasted out of the start leaving Winfield to catch up. "I have been working on my starts for the past couple of years and I have found it to be really effective. The girls that usually finish ahead of me in the Grand Prix series have even faster starts, so that is what I have had to work on to be in the top five a the national level."

See the full report, results and photos here.

White and Bruno-Roy take muddy Highland Park 'cross

By Kirsten Robbins

Maureen Bruno-Roy
Photo ©: Konstantin Sergeyev
(Click for larger image)

Maureen Bruno Roy (Independent Fabrications) showed the womenís field how to win in style by winning the race from the gun. Her main competitors were Deidre Winfield (Velo Bella-Kona) and Melanie Swartz (Velo Bella-Kona). "The first lap is always the hardest," Winfield said. "You go from standing at an almost resting heart rate to as high as your heart rate is going to do all day in the first thirty seconds. So it is easy to feel like you are struggling a little bit but after a few laps you get used to the lines you are taking and start to get into a rhythm. As the race went on I felt better and better.

The race began in much the same fashion as the day before, with Bruno Roy flying off the start line. The difference was that today no one could catch up to her." I was able to keep the gap I opened up in the beginning today," Bruno Roy said.

Matt White (Fiordifrutta Cycling Team)
Photo ©: Konstantin Sergeyev
(Click for larger image)

Matt White (Fiordifrutta) dazzled the crowds with his second stylish solo win. The soloist left Chris Horner (Specialized) tracing his tracks into second place and his teammate Jamey Driscoll (Fiordifrutta) in a battle for third. "It was a similar race to last weekend in that I just went out there and rode as hard as I could," White said. "But, rather than it being so tactical, I just went out there and slugged it in the mud and rain today."

Today marks Whiteís second UCI win this season. "It is unbelievable and I am so excited about winning another UCI event," White said. "Winning both races in the same style is a testament to my strength and not my tactical ability. I seem to be riding better when I can just ride my own race, go as hard as I can go and not think about tactics too much - I am not the smartest bike racer out there.

See the full report, result and photos here

Nys tops UCI rankings

All in a day's work for Nys
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Sven Nys continues to stay atop the UCI cyclo-cross rankings after scoring another world cup win on Sunday in Pijnacker and a third place in Niel. The dominant Belgian had some bad luck in Niel, with a late-race mechanical that forced him to run the last 500m, pushing him from first position to third in that race. Bart Wellens, the benefactor of Nys' misfortune, won the race, but his luck turned the following day. A crash early in the race nearly knocked him unconscious, and certainly out of contention, but the scrappy Wellens got back on his bike in order to pick up enough points to maintain his place in the UCI standings. Unfortunately, his effort was not enough, and he dropped from third overall to fourth this week.

Francis Mourey gained 269 points to climb into third place. Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank also moved up a notch from sixth to fifth, overtaking Sven Vanthourenhout. The big mover this week was Richard Groenendaal, who moved from 19th to 11th on merit of his fourth place in Pijnacker and second place in Niel.

UCI standings as of November 13, 2006

1 Sven Nys (Bel)                  1670 pts
2 Erwin Vervecken (Bel)           1231
3 Francis Mourey (Fra)            1034
4 Bart Wellens (Bel)              1026
5 Gerben De Knegt (Ned)            873
6 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)        801
7 Klaas Vantornout (Bel)           735
8 Christian Heule (Swi)            661
9 Radomir Jr. Simunek (Cze)        616
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze)             571
11 Richard Groenendaal (Ned)       557
12 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze)            544
13 John Gadret (Fra)               535
14 Kevin Pauwels (Bel)             513
15 Bart Aernouts (Bel)             505

Concussion for Wellens

Bart Wellens has been told by his doctors to take a week of bed rest following his crash in the world cup cyclo-cross race in Pijnacker on Sunday. Wellens crashed while trying to chase back through the field to the leaders after he got off to a poor start, and landed on his head. He suffered a mild concussion from the fall, and nearly lost consciousness, but after a few minutes, Wellens got back on his bike and finished the race in 11th place.

While his head is currently causing him quite a bit of pain, Wellens hopes to recover quickly enough to race in this weekend's GvA Trophee' and Superprestige races in Belgium.

Bessette defends national title

Lyne Bessette (cyclocrossworld.com)
Photo ©: Mitchell Clinton
(Click for larger image)

Gutting out a mucky, technical race Team Cyclocrossworld.comís Lyne Bessette defended her Canadian National cyclo-cross championship on Saturday, November 11 in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Lyne out lasted Wendy Simms (Kona), making a last-lap move that proved too much for the Nanaimo resident.

"It was a technical course and the first really muddy race of the year," said Lyne of the Nanaimo course. "I realized pretty early that it wasnít a good course to chase on, so I tried to lead as much as I could. With two laps to go I had a mistake in the sand section, Wendy was ahead of me and she rode the section and I couldnít. On the last lap I led into the sand and I rode it and she came off. Thatís where I got my gap. I noticed Iíd been faster up the last run up, so I went extra hard and that was enough to win. It was a fun race because it was so close the whole time."

In the men's race, Greg Reain (Stevens Racing) bested Cyclingnews diarist Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) to take the national title.

Global cyclo-cross round-up

Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races

  • November 17: Velka Cena Holych Vrchu, Holť Vrchy (Cze) C2
  • November 18: Budvar Cup 6, Mnichovo Hradiste (Cze) C2
  • November 18: ChannelONE Marketing UCI Cyclo-cross, Lincoln, NE (USA) C2
  • November 18: GP Stad Hasselt, Hasselt (Bel) C2
  • November 18: North Carolina Grand Prix 1, Hendersonville (USA) C2
  • November 18: Rad Racing Cup of Cyclocross, Lakewood, Washington (USA) C2
  • November 19: 2 G.P. Cittadi Verbania, Parco Arena, Paco Donati (Ita) C2
  • November 19: Intern. Radquer Hittnau, Hittnau (Swi) C2
  • November 19: National Trophy Series 3, Mallory Park, Leicestershire (GBr) C2
  • November 19: North Carolina Grand Prix 2, Hendersonville (USA) C2
  • November 19: Scion Stumptown Cup, Portland, Oregon (USA) C2
  • November 19: Superprestige, Asper-Gavere (Bel) C1

USGP champions to be crowned this weekend

The Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross will wrap up this weekend with the Rad Cup in Lakewood, Washington and the Scion Stumptown Cup in Portland, Oregon. Famous for its wet weather, the pacific northwest will present riders with courses that will favor the 'mudders'. The weather this week has been especially wet, and more rain is in the forecast for the weekend.

Heading into the finale, Ryan Trebon (Kona) is leading the men's series, having won three of the four races so far. Trebon can't let his guard down, as he leads Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) by only 30 points. Trebonís Kona teammate Barry Wicks is also within striking distance only 40 points back. ProTour rider Chris Horner will be in attendance, and is schedule to lead out the kidís race along with the Kona team. Horner, who found mud to his advantage at last weekend's Highland Park race, said "What it boils down to is that there is a very small speed you can ride through [the] corners at because of the rain and mud, and the rest of the time you are converting back to power... So the wet conditions evened out the race for me... and let my power play a bigger role."

Georgia Gould (Luna) held on to the USPG title
Photo ©: Russ & Nancy Wright
(Click for larger image)

On the womenís side itís an even closer race. Series leader Georgia Gould (Luna) holds a mere four point advantage over Canadian national and USGP defending champion Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld.com). Gouldís teammate Katerina Nash sits in third, and team tactics will likely come into play in this weekend's races. Katie Compton (Spike) showed that the mud doesn't slow her down at last year's national championships, but having missed the first two USGP races, is 64 points in arrears, and will have a difficult time contending for the series crown. But as was demonstrated in Colorado, her mere presence will be a big factor in the women's series outcome.

The first race of the weekend, the Rad Cup presented by Seasoned Skewers in Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, Washington has been a mainstay of Seattle's cyclo-crossscene for 15 years. The course has a good bit of pavement, with a long start/finish paved section where wind can be a factor, and sandy soil, so mud may not be as much of a factor on this course. "The recent rains have not damaged the race course; itís in great shape," said promoter Jim Brown.

Cyclo-cross is hugely popular with spectators in the pacific northwest, and the promoters have responded. "We have made some changes to the course make it more challenging and spectator friendly. We have top notch race day food from our sponsor Seasoned Skewers, a beer tent right on the course, music at the top of the Kona "Knapp Time" run-up and even Roller Derby Podium girls. Itís going to be a fun day with great racing action." The host club, Cascade Bicycle Club will also host a kidís race and a "Skillz and Thillz Zone" mountain bike course for all kids in attendance.

2005 Stumptown Cup
Photo ©: Russ and Nancy Wright
Click for larger image

The final race, the Scion Stumptown Cup, will be held in Portland, Oregon's Lakewood course. Promoter Brad Ross, is confident that, while the course is holding up, itís going to get messy. "With all of the rain that we've gotten in Portland over the last two weeks, I can promise you this will be that muddiest USGP of the year... although several long pavement sections and a concrete stair run-up will give riders a chance to shake off the clumps." In the evening following the race, organizers are throwing a party to present awards for the Cross Crusade Series and USGP champs.

For more information on the 2006 Crank Brothers US Gran Prix of Cyclo-crossplease visit www.usgpcyclo-cross.com.

North Carolina Grand Prix returns

The second edition of the North Carolina Grand Prix returns on November 18-19 to Jackson Park in Hendersonville, NC. This weekend of UCI racing is the southís most prestigious cyclo-cross race and a showcase of southern cyclo-cross talent. The event will consist of two races, the North Carolina Grand Prix Race #1 presented by Cheerwine on Saturday the North Carolina Grand Prix Race #2 presented by Cane Creek on Sunday.

Racers from across the country are scheduled to compete, including last yearís winners Jon Hamblen and Mike Cody. Racers from Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts Alabama, and across the southeast will compete. The weather forecast calls for beautiful autumn weather, although recent heavy rains may have left a bit of mud behind on the course, which spread over the 300 acre spectator-friendly Jackson Park.

The racing starts 10:00am with races in all categories UCI racing begins with the elite women race at 1:30pm, and then the elite men take to the course at 2:30pm. The ever popular kidís race will take place at 1:00pm both days. For full details visit the race web site at www.nccyclo-cross.com.

Wisconsin championships to benefit food bank

The Brazen Dropouts cycling club will host the Wisconsin State Cyclo-cross Championships this Sunday, November 19, at the Angell Park Motor Speedway, in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The race is the final race (#8) in the Wisconsin Cycling Association-Planet Bike Cyclo-crossRace Series.

First used in 2003, this venue offers up a pure challenge, providing racers & spectators everything they love in a 'cross race. The promoters have laid a course with some new challenges, including a stair climb, more off-camber sections and fast banked corners. An added bonus is dry & heated facilities which will make the event fun for all, no matter what the weather may bring. The event will also offer a kid's race mid-day on a special kid sized cyclo-cross course.

The event will include a holiday food drive, to benefit 2nd Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin. Anyone making a donation will be entered into a drawing for prizes.

The race flyer and detailed course layout are posted at www.brazendropouts.org/cx.shtml, while Wisconsin 'cross series information can be found at www.wicycling.org.

Verge-MAC series fights cancer

The Verge MAC series continues this weekend with Saturdayís Guys Racing Club/Colonial Subaru VW Cyclo-crossand Sundays Evo-Cross in memory of Todd Ebersole in New Hope, Pennsylvania. This weekend's events are the only two races on the Verge MAC circuit that have not elected to gain UCI status. Because of this, the races will be arguably more important to racers seeking the overall Verge MAC championships because there are fewer "guest stars" to siphon off points from the regular cast.

Both races have elected to donate a portion of the proceeds to benefit PanCAN, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The connection between the race and the cause is personal. When Todd Ebersole, brother of race promoter Tammy Ebersole, perished from pancreatic cancer, his family learned that proportionally less money is given to pancreatic cancer research than other, more well-known, forms of the disease. "It is such a brutal form of the disease," says Ebersole. "We hope that donating money helps, but we also hope that at least one person walks away from the race with an increased awareness of PanCAN and the fact that research funding on this particular form of cancer is not up to par with others. It's all about awareness."

For information about both races, including schedule, directions and pre-registration information, see www.BikeReg.com and click on the "Verge MAC" icon. For more information about PanCAN, visit www.pancan.org.

Free airport shuttle for Capital 'cross

Organizers of the December 3rd UCI (C2) Capital Cross Classic have arranged a free shuttle between the race venue and the Washington-Dulles International Airport which will be made available for out-of-town racers. Located in Reston Virginia, just outside the Capital Beltway, the Capital Cross Classic is the traditional season-ending event of the Verge MAC Series. To take advantage of the free shuttle service between Dulles International Airport and the race venue, use the "Contact Event" option on the BikeReg.com race flyer.

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