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Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up for October 21, 2006

Edited by Laura Weislo

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in cyclocross Feel free to send feedback, news and gossip to mtb@cyclingnews.com

Nys simply the best; Superprestige round 1 wrap-up

By Brecht Decaluwé

Sven Nys
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

During the first of eight events of the 2006/07 elite cyclocross season, Sven Nys (Rabobank) made clear that he - once more - is the big favourite for the overall win.

Weather conditions in Ruddervoorde were still fairly unusual for cyclo cross. Dry weather created a hard, dry and fast course and this tends to frighten the attackers. Sven Nys knew that and he waited … only one lap! The UCI-leader then geared up to his real competition speed. Nobody could follow the Belgian champion and they never saw him back. Sven Nys gathered an advantage of 40" and grabbed the win in a very crowded and sunny Ruddervoorde.

Nys explained his glamorous performance after the race: "Yesterday (in Dottignies) I was already very good. When I came to Ruddervoorde I knew I would be good as well. I’ve been sleeping in my special room which simulates a high altitude. I’m competing near my maximum now and apparently my race speed is just too high for the other riders ... I’m eager for some races with mud as they should fit me even more!"

Behind Nys, the battle for second place was won by local hero and teammate Sven Vanthourenhout. “I feel like a rider who’s always worth a podium place," Vanthourenhout said. "Hopefully I can get battle for the victory in the near future.”

For full race results, report and photos from Superprestige #1, click here.

Johnson and Bessette double up in New Gloucester

Tim Johnson
Photo ©: Chris Gardner
(Click for larger image)

The first couple of New England cyclocross swept the top of the podium for the weekend with wins in the Elite Women's and Men's races on day two of the Downeast Cyclocross, round #2 of the Verge New England Championship Cyclocross Series.

Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld.com) was well warmed and ready to go for the women's race after having competed in the men's B race just beforehand. After the start and the first tour in the woods, she and Katerina Nash (Luna) renewed their battles from yesterday in the front of the field with the rest of the riders left to chase. Unlike yesterday however, Bessette could not get rid of Nash, as the two battled back and forth throughout the race. Bessette was in this position last weekend at Gloucester, when she was beaten by Georgia Gould after leading her the entire race.

Bessette dared Nash to take the front and dictate the pace. The tactic almost backfired as Nash got a last minute gap the last lap in the woods, but Bessette closed quickly in the pit area and eventually stayed the course to the finish, where she topped the mountain bike rider on the sprint finish and took her second win on the weekend. Behind the lead pair was an equal battle between Mackenzie Dickey and Mo Bruno-Roy (Independent Fabrications). The two stayed put until the finish sprint where Dickey's sprinting ability got the best of Bruno and she took the final spot on the podium.

“I learned every lap where I had to be faster,” said Bessette. “I had to be first into the last corner in order to win the sprint. Katerina was fast on the technical downhill but I stayed with her and got ahead to lead out the sprint, it worked out great.”

For full race results, report and photos from NECCS #1 and NECCS #2, click here.

Page out for most of the 'cross season

Jonathan Page (USA)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

American cyclo-crosser Jonathan Page will have to miss most, if not all, of the 2006-2007 cyclocross season. Page tore his rotator cuff at the world cup race in Aigle, Switzerland on October 1 and will have to have surgery next Monday.

On his website, thejonathanpage.com. he wrote that after surgery, "I'll be in a brace for 3 weeks and then, if all goes well, I'll start p.t. again. The shoulder specialist said 3 months until I am full gas again. My doctor said he'll shoot for 2. Either way it really sucks."

Page is a multiple winner of the US national cyclocross championships and a regular top-10 finisher in the world cups and Superprestige races in Europe.

Doping scandal reaches German cyclocross team

According to radsportnews.com the German cyclocross outfit Team Stevens Racing has suspended reigning national cyclocross champion Johannes Sickmüller from the team. The suspension comes after the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung revealed allegations that a famous German sports physician, Dr. Til Steinmeier, was supplying doping products to a number of athletes, including Sickmüller and a former member of the team, Fabian Brzezinski.

The allegations, made anonymously by a former colleague of Steinmeier, included photographs of computer screens showing athletes' names and treatment details. Both Steinmeier and Team Stevens Racing deny the accusations, and are considering legal action.

Team Stevens Racing manager Werner von Hacht said he "was shocked about the accusations, and insists on clearing up the matter." He emphasized that "one of the implicated riders, Fabian Brzezinski, had not been a part of the team since mid-September," and that the team stands for a clean sport. Both of the riders implicated, Brzezinski and Sickmüller, denied any wrong-doing. Brzezinski said he passed six doping controls last year and that he was thrown out of the team in September because "he didn’t fit."

Courtesy of Bjorn Haake

Global cyclo-cross round-up

Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races

  • October 21: Granogue, Wilmington, Delaware (USA) C1
  • October 21: Kleicross, Lebbeke (Bel) C2
  • October 22: UCI World Cup, Kalmthout (Bel) CDM
  • October 22: Grand Prix Axa, Kayl (Lux) C2
  • October 22: Wissahickon, Philadelphia
  • October 28: Beacon, Bridgeton New Jersey (USA) C2
  • October 28: UCI World Cup, Tabor (Cze) CDM
  • October 29: Boulder Cyclocross, Boulder, Colorado (USA) C2
  • October 29: Challenge de la France Cycliste 1, Henin Beaumont (Fra) C2
  • October 29: G.P. Commune de Contern, Contern (Lux) C2
  • October 29: Int. Radquer GP Baumgartner, Rüti (Swi) C2
  • October 29: National Trophy Series 2, Ipswich (GBr) C2
  • October 29: Superprestige, Sint-Michielsgestel (Ned) C1

Historic showdowns in Granogue and Wissahickon

Strong fields for the Verge MAC series
Photo ©: Todd Leister
Click for larger image

The 2006 Verge MAC Cyclo-cross Series kicks-off in spectacular fashion this weekend with the UCI C1 Cyclo-cross at Granogue on Saturday, October 21 and the UCI C2 Wissahickon Cyclo-cross the following day. The "Beast of the East" is the east’s largest cyclo-cross series with eight races ranging from the outskirts of New York City to the Beltway of Washington DC, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

Italians Davide Frattini and Luca Damiani have arrived in America in order to compete against the North American pro's at Granogue and Wissahickon. According to Frattini, the riders are here to bolster their UCI standings, "Luca and I are coming to the USA to race cyclo-cross because there are more races for us to compete in for this season - there are only two UCI races in Italy. We also need to collect more points to have better start positions at the races when we begin competing in the World Cup events back in Europe during December."

Frattini, who races professionally for the New Jersey based Colavita Olive Oil / Sutter Home Wine cycling team, is no stranger to US racing, or cyclo-cross, having represented Italy in the past two World Cups and last year’s World Championships in Zeddam, The Netherlands. All told, he has nearly 40 victories in cyclo-cross competition, seven during last season alone. Like his compatriot, Luca Damiani is a professional road racer. While in America, he will be representing the Italian National Federation. Two years ago, Damiani was the champion of the Italian Cyclo-cross Season Series and he has scored 50 cyclo-cross victories so far in his career.

Last year’s winner Tim Johnson, Team Kona superstars Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks, Canada’s Geoff Kabush and many others will take on not only the Italian duo of Frattini and Damiani, but also the barrier bunny-hopping brothers Troy and Todd Wells. Todd is the current National Cyclo-cross Champion and represented the USA in Mountain Biking at the 2004 Olympics.

Davide Frattini knows what’s in store for him, "My teammate from Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Wine, Mark McCormack, and (Belgian-based US pro) Jonathan Page told me the ‘cross races in the USA are great, the competition is hard and the events are not going to be easy."

Showdown in the women's race
Photo ©: Todd Leister
Click for larger image

In the women's race, US Natoinal Champion Katie Compton, Georgia Gould and Lyne Bessette, will meet head-to-head for the very first time.

A former champion of the Verge MAC Series before moving to Colorado, Compton has spent the majority of her career as a teammate of blind cyclist Karissa Whitsell rather than chasing individual glory. Compton has won the US National Cyclo-cross Championships for the past two years - impressive since she was forced to start at the back of the grid at both races because she had not scored any international points as a result of her Paralympic commitments.

Lyne Bessette and the current US National Mountain Bike Champion, Idaho’s Georgia Gould line up against Compton. Gould burst onto the scene two years ago and, in addition to being the National Champion in mountain biking, is the reigning Verge MAC series champion. Bessette, meanwhile, is the defending champion of both races, a former winner of Philadelphia’s Liberty Classic road race, a two-time Olympian, five-time Canadian Cycling Champion and one of Canada’s most decorated international professional athletes of all time.

UCI cyclo-cross action returns to Southern Ontario

Hardwood Hills and the Cyclissimo Cycling Club present Ontario's biggest weekend of cyclo-cross The races begin with round 6 of the Southern Ontario cross series on Saturday November 4th on the tough, technical course at Hardwood Hills in Barrie Ontario, the site of the 2005 Canadian Cyclo-cross National Championships.

The following day Cyclissimo Cycling club presents round 7, Canada’s only UCI cross race, the Aurora Cross UCI C2, in Downtown Aurora, Ontario. Featuring one of the best pure cross courses in the country, the race will attract all the top Canadian 'crossers. Last year's race, won by Tim Johnson & Lyne Bessette, proved to be the most hotly contested of the series.

Velo Bella starts the season with wins

Velo Bella in action
Photo ©: Todd Leister
Click for larger image

The Velo Bella - Kona professional Cyclo-cross team turned heads yet again with double victories at the Volkswagen Iron Cross and Iron Cross 'Lite events in Pennsylvania, as well as the Inland Northwest Cyclo-cross Series races in Spokane, Washington. Plenty of podium and top ten finishes by every team member made for a very successful racing weekend across the country.

Dee Dee Winfield continued her winning ways with stunning victories Saturday and Sunday at the Volkswagen Iron Cross races held in Pennsylvania last weekend. Teammate Melanie Swartz joined Grasshopper on the podium Saturday with her third place finish.

Anna Milkowski and Stephanie White faced the stiffest competition racing in the Verge New England Series’ opening weekend in New Gloucester, ME. Saturday saw Milkowski in sixth place and White taking a respectable ninth place. Considering quite a few of White’s competitors are twice her age, the future is looking quite bright for this young prodigy. She went on to place tenth during Sunday’s second round.

Shannon Holden led the west with back to back victories at the Inland Northwest CX series in Spokane, WA. Supported by her local fan base, Holden quickly dropped the competition and soared to victory passing many boys along the way. Sarah Kerlin finished second at the Surf City Cross series in Watsonville, CA, followed closely by Erin Kassoy in seventh place. "I would have caught Rachel [Lloyd] but I was so distracted by all the folks dancing in the pits and along the course that I couldn’t stop laughing," said Kerlin. Marion Jamison also took the podium in her race.

Cross Crusade sets record attendance

The River City Bicycles Cross Crusade expects to continue its record-setting attendance this Sunday, October 22, when 750+ cyclo-cross bike racers invade Horning’s Hideout in North Plains for round three of the Cross Crusade, the largest participatory cyclo-cross bike racing series in the world.

The season opener at Alpenrose Diary attracted a record field of 798 riders, the largest one-day cyclo-cross race ever held in the US. The second event at Hillsboro Stadium wasn’t far behind, with 753 cyclists, despite cold, rainy, and muddy conditions - "perfect" cyclo-cross weather.

The long-running success of the River City Bicycles Cross Crusade, which is in its 15th year, has firmly established the Northwest as the country’s most popular region for cyclo-cross. Each round of the Cross Crusade offers 16 classes of competition, from elite men and women to masters and junior categories.

River City Bicycles Cross Crusade remaining schedule:
Race 3 - October 22, Horning’s Hideout
Race 4 - October 29, Halloween Cross Festival, Flying M Ranch
Race 5 - November 5, Barton Park
Race 6 - November 12, OBRA Cyclo-cross Championships, Estacada Timber Park
USGP Finale - November 19, Hillsboro Stadium.

Nebraska Cyclo-cross back for the second year

The Omaha Velo Club will raise the curtain on the 2006 Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series with the Omaha Cyclo-cross Weekend, October 21-22 at Swanson Park in Bellevue. A cash prize list of $495 will be offered each day along with merchandise.

The Omaha Velo Club will bring cyclo-cross racing back to Omaha for the second year in a row. "We are excited to host this weekend and be a part of the Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series," says Race Promoter, Ted Lechonowsky. "Swanson Park is an excellent venue, with natural barriers and run-ups that will challenge riders of all levels."

The 2006 Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series concludes November 18-19 at Pioneers Park in Lincoln. This weekend is a part of the 2006 Maxxis Mid-America Cross Cup and the Sunday, November 19 races will serve as the Nebraska Cyclo-cross State Championship. Details can be found at www.nebraskacyclingnews.com.

Vancouver Island 'Cross on the Rock' series continues

The third stop in the 2006 Vancouver Island Cross cup will be held at the Luxton Fairgrounds, Metchosin in greater Victoria. This event will be called "Cowboy Cross", so racers will be expected to dress accordingly. The Canadian Cross on the Rock races are open to club level licensed riders as well as Cycling BC Licensed riders. Mountain bikes are welcome in all categories.

Remaining series races:
October 29th - Victoria
November 12th - Parksville at Fletchers Farms

For the full race guide go to www.island-multi-sports.com

Illinois Cyclo-cross in second year

Heckawee Cyclo-cross and Smart Endurance Training Systems will be holding the second annual Ronde von Evergreen on Saturday, Oct 21, in Carbondale, Illinois. Racing will begin at noon at the Evergreen BMX park in Carbondale and will continue throughout the afternoon. The 2.5 kilometer course features twisty wooded sections, natural dismounts, and wide-open dirt paths.

For more information, see www.smartendurance.com/ronde.htm

TIAA-CREF and Clif Bar team up for Cyclo-cross development

When the members of the TIAA-CREF/ CLIF BAR Cyclo-Cross Team rolled to the start line in Gloucester, MA for the opening round of the 2006 Crank Brothers US Gran Prix of Cyclo-Cross Series, they not only began the third season for the national-level development program, but also set off on a pioneering environmental sustainability mission.

The American Cycling Association’s Junior and Under-23 cyclo-cross development program took inspiration from CLIF BAR’s sustainability commitment. The team will participate in CLIF BAR’s 'Start Global Cooling' campaign, where the team’s carbon footprint from the season’s travel miles will be offset by the purchase of wind energy credits. The team will also with Boulder-based Eco-Cycle to become a 'zero waste' operation: During team events in Boulder and when traveling to races, the team will be recycling and composting as much of its waste as possible. In addition, the team will support local and organic food sources:

The team kicked off the season in Gloucester, MA. Headlining the team’s development effort were three juniors who turned in outstanding performances. In the 15-16 age group, new team member Andrew Barker rode aggressively and notched two 3rd place finishes. Cyclo-cross rookie Jim Lennon finished up his second cyclo-cross race ever in 4th place on Saturday, and then Sunday, Lennon and teammate Daniel Summerhill (defending Junior National Champ) put the USGP on notice that the junior field will continue to feature some of the most exciting racing of the series. The two used impressive teamwork to form two of the three-man lead group, and Summerhill helped Lennon sprint to his first USGP win and the Series leader’s jersey.

Team Roster:
Andrew Barker (15) Golden, CO
Stu Gillespie (24) Boulder, CO
Alex Howes (18) Boulder, CO
Brady Kappius (19) Golden, CO
Jim Lennon (17) Centennial, CO
Taylor Phinney (17) Boulder, CO
Peter Stetina (19) Boulder, CO
Daniel Summerhill (17) Centennial, CO (2005 USGP and Jr National Champion)
Tejay van Garderen (18) Fort Collins, CO
Troy Wells (23) Durango, CO (2005 U23 National Champion)

Ben Turner, team manager
John Verheul, team coach and assistant manager
Daimeon Shanks, mechanic
Nick Legan, mechanic
Reed McCalvin, soigneur
Rob Wuebker, sustainability consultant
Jason Kawakami, team chef

For more information, visit www.eurocrossers.blogspot.com.

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