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Cyclo-cross news & racing roundup for November 20

Edited by Laura Weislo and Paul Verkuylen

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

Thirteen in a row for Nys

Sven Nys (Rabobank) takes his third of three
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Sven Nys' (Rabobank) win in Sunday's Superprestige third round in Asper-Gavere was his third for this season and thirteenth Superprestige race win in a row, tightening his stranglehold on the overall classification in the series. The last time a Superprestige race was won by a rider other than Nys was back in Diegem in 2005 when Gerben De Knegt managed to get ahead of Nys in the finishing sprint.

The French champion, Francis Mourey won the tight sprint for second from Belgian champion and second overall in the series, Bart Wellens.

Four riders from the Fidea team placed in the top six, but beating the top rider in the world today was beyond them, as was getting in front of the French champion, Mourey. Mourey's second place also provided Nys with a even greater buffer from second placed Bart Wellens whom he now leads by six points. Wellens' team-mate, Zdenek Stybar is in third three points behind Wellens, with Dutchman Richard Groenedaal 16 points behind the leader in fourth place..

Gavere post-race reactions

The Fidea-riders before the race
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

A lot can change in a week, and while UCI leader Sven Nys dominated the Gavere round of the Superprestige, riders who had been questioning his abilities last weekend acknowledged his strength. World champion Erwin Vervecken wasn't too disappointed that he was caught after his attack in the last lap. "I feel that I'm strong enough, but I'm lacking the explosiveness that is needed to win here; my age will be the reason for that. The good thing is that I have no problem with the series of races," Vervecken talked about today's performance.

His team-mate Klaas Vantornout was annoyed by a viral infection and was more than happy with his result after a poor performance in Hasselt. He still doubted the superiority of Nys. "Certainly Nys was the strongest, but I wouldn't say superior. If he was that good then he would've attacked much earlier, he wasn't that good. In the sprint I just couldn't hold the wheel of Mourey, that's all," Vantornout said. Speculation about his future continues, but Vantornout denied that Sunweb's manager Jurgen Mettepenningen made him a generous offer. "Not yet," Vantornout winked.

Bart Wellens was happy to be on the podium for the Super prestige round in Gavere this Sunday, explaining to sport.be that he was "simply not good enough."

Bart Wellens
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

With one dominant attack toward the end of the race, Sven Nys removed himself from the leading group, storming to his thirteenth straight Superprestige race win. Wellens came to the line together with French champion Mourey but was unable to beat him for second place in the tight sprint. "It was the best I could possibly do," Wellens explained after the race.

"I was not as good as yesterday, today," Wellens said. "I felt right away that I had no strength whatsoever on the climbs." Yet Wellens still attempted to attack the world number one. "I saw that Nys punctured - the perfect time to attack. But it was Nys himself that was quickly on my wheel again, it was then that I knew [that it wasn't to be]."

Wellens was afraid of Nys when it came to the last climb. "Impressive hey," he said of Nys last lap charge. "And I was riding on the last of my strength. Honestly, at that moment I was afraid that I would have another 30 seconds taken out on me. In the end I am very happy that I was able to stand on the podium."

"Team tactics have no use on a course like this. Then you would need to have ten Fidea's in the lead group to beat Nys on this course, Gavere is a very honest 'cross," Wellens said at the mention of team tactics playing a role in the outcome of the race.

The Belgian champion claimed his place on the podium thanks to some tactical moves on the last lap. "Luckily I had a plan. In the final pit area I had a bike waiting for me with tyres pumped up hard. I had a feeling beforehand that it could come down to a sprint here. Thanks to that bike I passed Klaas, but catching Mourey was beyond me. With this podium place I can keep my classification hopes alive," he concluded.

See full reports, results and photos from Gavere here.

Nys heads south

Sven Nys will leave the cold, damp weather of his native land for the sunny skies of the Mallorca islands for three weeks. Nys departed Belgium for the Spanish island after winning in Gavere and Hasselt. The Belgian will fly back to Belgium for the World Cup in Koksijde this weekend before returning to his training holiday to prepare for the second part of the season. Due to the cancellation of the World Cup in Milan, the Belgian is able to insert this training holiday in his program. Likely Nys' good friend and former team-mate Sven Vanthourenhout will join the UCI-leader to Mallorca.

Hartogs signs for Revor

Jeroen Vanderspinnen has added yet another name to his Revor cyclo-cross squad after Dutch espoir Ivar Hartogs penned a one year deal with the squad, which will see him ride in the Revor colours from January 1, 2008.

Vanderspinnen recently signed Belgian, Ben Berden to be the captain of his team and it seems that now he is looking to expand his line up for the beginning of the 2008, as unusually for cycling many riders change colours half way through a season as their contracts run January till December.

"In Ivar we have signed another espoirs rider. Today he rode to a nice tenth place in the tough race in Gavere." Vanderspinnen told Sport.be.

Alongside Berden, Soetens, a number of espoirs and juniors, Vanderspinnen is looking to add another pro to his ranks. "This week we have signed another two sponsors and just today I have received confirmation that we will have even more" Vanderspinnen explained. "This will enable me to add an extra pro to our " he confirmed.

His search for another top crosser won't be an easy one, as many of the top riders will remain under contract through out the 2008 season.

Walsleben to Palmans

U23 winner Philipp Walsleben.
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

German talent Philipp Walsleben signed a deal with the Belgian Palmans-Cras team of Charles Palmans. He will join other young talents like Niels Albert and Radomir Simunek. Walsleben, who was second in the U23 European Championships in Hittnau, Switzerland behind his future team-mate Niels Albert, signed the deal on Saturday morning in Hasselt.

The German youngster immediately showed he is worth the money by claiming the win in the U23 race in Hasselt and Gavere. Walsleben won the race in Hasselt ahead of Belgian talent Tom Meeusen, while he beat Fidea's Jempy Drucker in Gavere. Niels Albert competed in the elite race, and is only competing in the U23 competition for the World Cup races and the championships.

Nys shows opposition his questionable back

By Brecht Decaluwé

Sven Nys (Rabobank)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

After a week in which Nys' "poor" performances in Pijnacker (5th) and Niel (3rd), faced cheap press talk about his back problems, the UCI-leader set things right with an impressive performance in Hasselt.

The 31 year-old Belgian overcame a poor start and grabbed two bonus points for the GvA Trophy after the second lap, while GvA-leader and arch rival Bart Wellens missed out on the points during that intermediate sprint. Despite some solo efforts from Sven Vanthourenhout and later also Niels Albert, the race came down to another old school battle between Nys and Wellens.

Eventually it was the man from Baal who made fewer errors in the ultimate sectors of the fast and technical course, and captured his eighth win of the season. Nys moves within one point of GvA Trophy leader Bart Wellens.

Nys re-bounded to start this important weekend off in style, by winning another duel with Wellens. "It was thrilling through the last moment," Nys expressed his satisfaction. He started off badly, although he immediately came back to the front after the first lap. "I was having troubles with a pedal and lost a lot of positions. I immediately did all I could to move forward as there were points at stake after two laps. My efforts were successful as I was able to grab two points. From then on it was a matter of choosing the right tactics.

"Halfway through the race I started the chase on Albert, and only Wellens was able to follow. It was hard and I was on my limit, but so was Wellens as he couldn't take over from me. I decided to keep going until we caught Albert, and I'm lucky it happened because I couldn't go on much longer – I was up to the limit. From then on I could relax a little and focus on the win," Nys explained his race tactics on Sporza TV.

The UCI-leader's dominance was questioned after his rather poor performance last weekend, with only a third and fifth place as results. "Among the riders we laugh a lot about it because some riders make hay of a third or fifth place for the rest of the season. Anyway, it's flattering to receive criticism when you finish third or fifth," Nys smiled.

See the full report, results and photos here.

Trebon, Gould two for two in Jersey

Barry Wicks leads team-mate Ryan Trebon
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

US champion Ryan Trebon showed that he is hot on form in New Jersey this weekend, scoring back to back wins on two very different courses. On Saturday, Trebon was one of the few riders who could power through the long sand pit, which was a major factor in splitting up the field. "If you could ride through the sand pit smooth you could easily put 20 metres on someone," said Trebon. "It was easy to ride but because too many people were running it, by the second lap no lines formed, it was all chopped up. I ended up keeping my momentum through the bend, half way and then got off and ran the last part of it."

Trebon and his Kona-YourKey team-mate Barry Wicks ganged up on Leer/Cyclocrossworld team-mates Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers, who were third and fourth on the day. "The two of us working together was the big advantage today," said Trebon. "When the course double backed on itself we could see where the chasers were. We were riding hard enough to keep the gap stabilized, not just flat out. I knew Tim was riding by himself and that he'd be taking risks out there."

A few set backs prevented Johnson from making contact with the Kona pair, forcing him to ride over two thirds of the circuit alone. "I crashed in the Selle Italia twisty section when I was only four or five seconds off the back of Barry and Ryan," said Johnson, who then endured two bike changes due to a slipped seat post and then a broken cleat. "It's that kind of crash that I usually have when I try to put the power down to early on an off camber corner."

Men's Podium
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Sunday's race was much different after a light snow and showers turned the more technical lay-out into a slick crash-fest that sent riders running to the pits for clean machines. Trebon's team-mate Wicks was the first to go down, leaving Trebon alone to battle against Johnson, Powers and mountain bikers Geoff Kabush and Todd Wells.

Trebon was able to choose his trips to the pits wisely, and finished 26 seconds ahead of Johnson and Powers, but not without a fight from Johnson, who struggled to hold onto the series lead. "Even though I lost the USGP lead, I was very impressed with how Ryan was racing today," said Johnson, a rider acclaimed for his technical skill over snow and rain.

See the full report, results and photos for Saturday's and Sunday's men's races.

Georgia Gould crosses the line
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Georgia Gould (Luna) helped herself to the top spot on the podium and claimed the prestigious series lead by winning both rounds of the New Jersey Mercer Cup. Gould ran away from her stiff competition through the ankle deep sand pit on Saturday, holding a lead of over 30 second from second placed Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld) and an additional 10 seconds over team-mate Katrina Nash (Luna).

"Its not often we get such a long sand pit but I liked it because the run wasn't very long," said the new USGP leader. "I tried to stay on the gas the whole time and not let up at all because it was really hard out there, flat a lot of wind and not much recovery."

Gould (Luna) claimed her second consecutive victory on Sunday, winning by some 20 seconds over former Canadian national champion Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld) and Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain).

"It wouldn't appear that I was feeling so good at the beginning of the race because I was riding like a moron," said Georgia, referring to her double crash through the Selle Italia Swirl on lap two. "But I'm pretty good on the straight open stuff and on the corners too so it was a nice race for me."

See the full report, results and photos from Saturday's and Sunday's women's races.

Free shuttles to Capital 'Cross

Organizers of the December 2 UCI C2 Capital 'Cross Classic in Reston Virginia will once again offer a free shuttle service between the race venue and Washington's Dulles Airport. Located in Reston Virginia, just outside the Capital Beltway, the Capital 'Cross Classic is the traditional season-ending event of the Verge MAC Series and is one of the last opportunities to score UCI points prior to the U.S. National Championships.

Taking advantage of the proximity of the Capital Cross race venue to alternative forms of transportation in Reston, the Potomac Velo Club will offer to shuttle anyone to and from the airport or train station, so long as they have at least 5 days advance notice of the racer's travel time and schedule.

Information can be found by clicking on the Verge MAC button at www.BikeReg.com, the official on-line registration service of the Verge MAC Cyclocross Series. To take advantage of the free shuttle service, use the "Contact Event" option on Capital Cross Classic's BikeReg.com race flyer.

MABRAcross finishes in Taneytown

The small Maryland municipality of Taneytown will host the combined Maryland, D.C. and Delaware State Championships as part of the BikeReg.com MABRAcross finale on Sunday, November 25. Located at the intersection of two major roads just south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, on the outskirts of metropolitan Baltimore, Taneytown is ideally situated for a championship event.

These championship races are "open" events, meaning that all licensed racers are eligible to compete. The event is also the final stop for the 2007 BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series. The season-long BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series titles will be finalized in Taneytown, with the winners having the honor of wearing the Championship Jersey throughout the 2008 campaign.

Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races

  • November 24: Coupe du Monde UCI / UCI World Cup, Koksijde (Bel) CDM
  • November 24: Baystate Cyclocross, Sterling Massachusetts (USA) C2
  • November 24: The Jingle Cross Rock 1, Iowa City (USA) C2
  • November 25: 32 e Internationale Kärcher Super Prestige Veldrit Gieten, Gieten (Ned) C1
  • November 25: Challenge de la France Cycliste 2, Quelneuc (Fra) C2
  • November 25: Kansai Cyclo-cross meeting Yasu Round, Ritto-city (Jpn) C2
  • November 25: The Jingle Cross Rock 2, Iowa City (USA) C2

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