Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up for September 5
Edited by Laura Weislo and Paul Verkuylen with assistance from Brecht
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in cyclo-cross.
Feel free to send feedback, news and releases to firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Cross season 2007 to kick off in Belgium
Vervacken wins in Hofstade
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
September is here, and while the road season is still in full swing with
the Vuelta a España followed by the World Championships, Tour of
Lombardy and Zurich ProTour races, there is a smaller, tight-knit band
of brothers and sisters who have been changing over to knobbies and hitting
the trails in preparation for cyclo-cross season. The UCI 'cross season
officially opens on September 16 with the traditional first race of the
season, the Steenbergcross in Erpe-Mere, hometown of 1976 Tour de France
winner Lucien Van Impe. The race has kicked off 'cross since 2002, and
was won last year by Sven Nys ahead of Zdenek Stybar and world champion
Reigning World Champion Erwin Vervecken will hit that first race again
in the rainbow stripes. His Belgian Fidea team just wound up a two-week
training camp in Sankt-Moritz, Switzerland. Vervecken and his team-mates
Bart Wellens and Klaas Vantornout are led by Dutchman Hans Van Kasteren
and besides their top quality Belgian riders they also have two strong
Czech riders Petr Dlask and Zdenek Stybar.
A new face in the team is Belgian espoir Quentin Bertholet who also joined
the team in Sankt-Moritz. During the training camp Bart Wellens suffered
a minor problem on his ankle while world champion Vervecken only joined
the team after a week.
In the USA, the 'cross season kicks off early with a string of UCI races
in the Northern locales. The Tailwind 'cross races in Michigan will see
Worlds silver medalist Jonathan Page warm up his legs for the upcoming
season, while Washington state will host two classic 'cross events in
Redmond and Lakewood.
Vanthourenhout better after surgery
Sven Vanthourenhout (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Tricarico Davide
Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Projob), who underwent surgery on a thickened
artery in his left leg on July 3, should see a marked improvement in his
abilities thanks to increased blood flow to the leg. Doctors estimate
that the operation will increase his capacities by at least 25%.
Vanthourenhout raced quite successfully with the ailment, but suffered
some mysterious symptoms. "After a crash two years ago I felt a sleeping
feeling in my left leg for the first time in the Tour of Slovenia. Apparently
a crash one week earlier tilted my pelvis a little. The problem never
got solved completely with a chiropractor, and in June I felt it again.
"We decided with the team doctor to make a new thorough examination
and the diagnosis of the thicker artery was a relief for me," Vanthourenhout
explained on his website. The diagnosis pointed out that Vanthourenhout
has been riding at only 75% of his capacities for two years and that was
also a relief for team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen. "We're twice as
lucky. First of all our team leader gets rid of his physical problem,
so we can expect more from him in the field."
Sunweb looks for new beginning
The young Sunweb-Projob team held a family-day in August, and the two
Directeur Sportif's from the team talked about their first season in cyclo-cross
on the team's website. "The organization was perfect right from the start.
If you see that every rider had their mobile home then you know we did
a fine job," Hans De Clercq talked about the team's organization.
His colleague Mario De Clercq - former cyclo-cross world champion but
no relation - explained that the sportive side wasn't as good as expected.
"The start of our team was less spectacular. Our team leaders were not
doing well in January and February. We know the reason for that with Sven
Vanthourenhout and with Tom Vannoppen we knew he had a bad end of the
year 2006," Mario De Clercq explained.
After a troublesome first season the pair explained the team is starting
for real this season. "Riders had to adapt to the new bike while we didn't
have any influence on their preparation for the season. That's all different
now and I'm counting on victory in a big race this season, that means
a win in the World Cup, GvA or Superprestige Series," Hans De Clercq expressed
his hope for the team's first big win.
"Jonathan Page joined our team in July and David Willemsens is now focusing
100% on cyclo-cross. Together with Jan Verstraeten that means we have
now a block of five riders at the start," Mario De Clercq marked the improved
strength of the Belgian team.
In pursuit of a passion
Jonathan Page celebrating his silver
at the worlds
Photo ©: AFP
He's finished second in the World
Championships, but one figure stood undisturbed by the crowds at the
NRC criterium in North Carolina: Cyclo-crosser Jonathan Page. Page escaped
notice from all except the most hardened 'cross fans, preferring instead
to take a back seat to the criterium stars. Cyclingnews' Laura
Weislo talked to the understated, mellow family man in between the global
travels which he takes in pursuit of his passion - cyclo-cross.
As the road season winds down, most of the racers are a bit worn out,
haggard, or burnt out. There aren't as many smiles in the peloton, and
the edginess of a long season of racing brings out anger or just plain
orneriness in the best of riders. But one face in the crowd at the recent
criteriums in North Carolina beamed with a relaxed, happy-go-lucky attitude
that stood out amongst the adrenaline junkies: that of Cyclo-cross Worlds
silver medalist Jonathan Page.
Traveling with his wife Cory and youngest child, Page certainly didn't
look like someone who'd been jetting back and forth across the Atlantic
many times per year for the past several years - he appeared rested, relaxed
and fresh. However, in between meeting his new team and doing a few road
races in Belgium as part of the team bonding experience, and the beginning
of the upcoming 'cross season, Page was back in the USA to get some speed
work in the short, intense NRC crits that fill up the late season North
Page laid out his itinerary after the North Carolina races. "I go to
Chicago [for Elk Grove], then to water parks in Wisconsin to have fun
with Cory's sister, then we go back to Europe at the end of August. Then
I come back to do the Michigan [cross] race weekend [9/22-23] and ['cross']
The criteriums are part of his tune-up for 'cross season, and Page was
fairly aggressive in the Hanes Park criterium, launching a late-race attack
that pulled away a promising group. But Page denies that he had any illusions
of winning the criterium. "I was just trying to stay out of the way. Sometimes
it's a little too scary for my liking with guys diving here and there...
I was just trying to stay safe."
to read to full interview click here.
Cross Vegas while at Interbike
After the first day of the Interbike trade show on September 26, attendees
are invited to the Excel Sports Cross Vegas, a UCI category 2 cyclocross
race in the city of sin. The course will be a fully-lit grass and path
combination at the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex in western Las Vegas 6
miles from the "Vegas Strip."
Top American world championship performers such as Jonathan Page (Sunweb-ProJob),
Katie Compton (Spike Shooter) and Danny Summerhill (Clif Bar) are all
expected to attend. Joining them are fellow Americans Todd Wells (GT),
his brother Troy Wells (Clif Bar) as well as Mark McCormack (Clif Bar).
International riders will also be racing, such as Joachim Parbo (Danish
National Champion), Italian Davide Frattini (Colavita-Sutter Home) and
Jim Bryan of the British National Team.
Fully lighted, the park features grassy slopes and paved paths that will
make for a challenging course. Racing categories and schedules are Elite
Women at 7:30 pm and Elite Men at 9:00 pm. Excel Sports CrossVegas will
be taped for broadcast on Altitude Sports and Entertainment Network later
in the fall in 10 Midwestern and western states. Initial airdate is Saturday
November 10 at 3:00 MST.
Racing categories and schedules are Elite Women at 7:30 pm and Elite
Men at 9:00 pm. More information is available at: crossvegas.com.
Chicago Cyclo-cross Cup back for fourth year
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Chicago
Cross racing is alive and well in the American midwest, and the Chicago
Cyclocross Cup is one of those reasons. While not yet hosting a UCI race,
the five race series offers a variety of categories and a chance to race
twice in the City of Chicago, including the final race right on the shores
of Lake Michigan in mid-December.
The racing begins September 23 in Chicago's Jackson Park, with three
races around the greater Chicago area in October and November, before
returning to the city for the Illinois State Cyclocross Championship race
at Montrose Park. More information and race flyers are available at: chicrosscup.com.
Learn cross from Jonathan Page
Herriott Sports Performance and Cascade Bicycle Studio are hosting a
cyclocross weekend with American Cyclocross star Jonathan Page (Sunweb-ProJob)
and former American cross champion Frank McCormack. Jonathan Page, the
most successful American cyclocross racer in history, solidified this
title with his silver medal performance at the UCI world championships
last season; in addition to his 6 US national championships. Veteran US
cross-racer, Frank McCormack, won the elite US Championship in 1997 at
South SeaTac in Seattle and first introduced Jonathan to the sport of
The weekend will include a presentation on Friday evening, two three
hour clinics on Saturday and a fundraiser dinner with a silent auction
to raise money for Washington State athletes attending the Cyclocross
World Championships. The dinner will be held at Brouwer's Belgian Cafe
in Seattle. To the winning bidders at Saturday's auction, Jonathan will
hold two private cyclocross skills clinic on Sunday, each 90 minutes in
length. Other items up are up for auction. More information is available
No MTB for Nys
Nys in front of Vervecken
Photo ©: Emory Ball
Despite a serious preparation for the MTB-season Sven Nys decided halfway
through June to stop chasing his Olympic dream. After tests in Leuven,
Belgium, it became clear that his body can't deal with the extreme temperatures
that are to expect in the Olympic MTB-race. "For me it's clear now," said
Nys, "my body is more than 100% fit for cyclo-cross and I'm going to orient
myself on that completely."
Nevertheless the Belgian continued his MTB program and managed to extend
his national MTB-title in Ottignies on July 22. In that race he preceded
former Olympic silver medallist Filip Meirhaeghe, while Belgium's best
MTB'er Roel Paulissen didn't start. Nys was still planning to participate
at the MTB world championships in Fort William, Scotland on September
9 before preparing for the cyclo-cross season.
Set back for Albert
Young Belgian 'cross champion Niels Albert didn't enjoy the best build-up
to the cyclo-cross season, suffering two setbacks this summer which will
leave him chasing after his early season 'cross form. On July 5 he crashed
against a post during a road race in Melle - his collarbone was shattered
by the blow and he had a 1.5cm deep head wound. The post was even worse
off - there was only 10cm left it's original one metre height!
While Niels Albert (Palmans) was crashing against posts, his rival Lars
Boom (Rabobank Continental Team) won the Dutch national TT championships.
Despite the success on the road, the espoir world champion decided in
August that he would focus more than ever on cyclo-cross. "I decided to
fully focus on cyclo-cross during the next couple of seasons, mainly because
cycling on the road has a much bigger impact on your body.
"In the summer I will keep racing on the road to become stronger
and build up my stamina," Boom said in an interview with the Heusdense
Courant. The Dutchman will focus on the cyclo-cross world championship
in Treviso. "There I want to be a serious threat for Bart Wellens and
Sven Nys, with a top-10 result I will not be satisfied," the self-assured
21 year-old from the Rabobank Continental team said.
The Dutch team has recruited two new cyclo-cross riders to make up for
the loss of Sven Vanthourenhout and Richard Groenendaal. The new riders,
Joeri Adams and Ramon Sinkeldam, come from an impressive junior pedigree.
Adams is the junior world champion, while Dutch junior champion Sinkeldam
finished 4th at the worlds.
Former world champion Groenendaal (36) left the Rabobank squad, and will
ride as an independent rider in the AA Drink Cycling Team. After welcoming
his second daughter, Mies, Groenendaal decided to finally work on his
persistant stomach troubles. "I always used medication to control it,
but since the surgery became less radical with a new technique I decided
to get rid of it. Hopefully I can profit from it in the latter stages
of my career," Groenendaal said on his website. The 36 year-old underwent
surgery on his abdomen during the summer months.
Rad Racing returns
Ryan Trebon at a Radcup last year
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
September 23 will see the return of the Rad Racing GP which will feature
over 400 competitors from all over the country as well as a host of europeans.
The event sponsored by Redline and Fig Newtons will be taking place at
Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, Washington, with 2006 US National champion
Ryan Trebon (Team Kona) and Danish National Champion Joachim Parbo being
among the starters.
The Rad Racing Cup of Cyclocross will be hosted by Rad Racing NW, a
group dedicated to teaching young people life lessons through the sport
of cycling and to developing top regional, national and international
junior cyclists. One hundred percent of proceeds from the race will go
directly to the Rad Racing NW Junior Development Cycling Team.
"It's important to keep a Washington event on the UCI calendar",
said Jim Brown, Event Promoter and Director of Rad Racing, "With
Redline and Fig Newton's major support we can do that, and benefit the
riders of Rad Racing at the same time, it's a win/win situation for our
program and for our sponsors." Redline a long time sponsor of the
event also sees the importance of the event, Tim Rutledge, Redlines Marketing
man sees the event as positive step for the sport "We are very excited
about continuing to promote the Northwest's young riders, they are the
future of our sport" he said.
Juniors race free in MAC
Thanks to increased sponsorship, the U19 Junior category will be able
to race free of charge if they pre-enter MAC events in 2007. The sponsorship
of supaFan.com is providing extra incentive for juniors to take to the
dirt. "We want to have more courageous kids put down their video games
and come out to see what ‘cross is all about," says MAC Technical Director
Kelly Cline. "We want kids to feel the cameraderie, meet skilled racers,
get dirty -- and have fun!"
Any U19 Junior rider, male and female, who pre-enters the specific "supaFan.com
Junior class" at any 2007 MAC race will have their entry fee paid by supa-Fan.com.
Juniors who wait to register on race day will, however, still be responsible
for the standard $10 late registration surcharge. According to J.D. Bilodeau,
owner of supaFan's parent company Pioneer Event Productions, "Hopefully,
eliminating the entry fee removes one more obstacle in getting riders
to come out to the races. And, because the MAC has some of the most supportive
racers and exciting racing in the country, we hope that once juniors try
‘cross, they'll be hooked."
For more information on the supaFan.com - MAC Junior Incentive Program,
contact MAC through its Media Director at email@example.com.
New fields for MAC
Big changes are on tap for the 2007 BikeReg.com MABRAcross series as
the burgeoning Masters class will be split in two and the Elite Women
will be racing for roughly the same prize money as the Elite Men "In 2006,
the BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series had top women competitors like Dee Dee
Winfield, Georgia Gould, Melanie Swartz and Lisa Vible, who won last year's
championship," said MABRAcross Series Coordinator Chip Sovek.
We want to build on that and develop an even bigger women's presence
in cyclo-cross generally, and in MABRAcross specifically, by establishing
parity in the Men's and Women's purses," Sovek continued. "While
several races within the series have already been exceeding the minimum
payout for women, the additional assistance we are receiving from BikeReg.com
will allow all the races to bump up to this level."
On the men's side, the competition for that prize money will be tougher
than ever, thanks to the new 'Double M' format. At the MABRA promoter's
meeting in February, it was agreed to split the Masters class in two based
on the new USAC license categories, with the elite-level 35+ racers competing
head-to-head with the open-class elites in the Men's Feature race.
Like the Under 23 riders in many UCI races, the Elite Masters will be
racing as a subset of the Open Elite feature race, not as a separate class,
and will be competing against the Open Elite 'young guns' for the same
purse at every race. Conversely, now that the elite racers are racing
in the feature, the non-elite masters will now have the class to themselves.
Under the old system, a recently-retired World Champion, like Lance Armstrong
or Marty Nothstein, could have come out of retirement and beat up on the
weekend warriors in the Masters class instead of racing with other elite-level
competition. "We've closed that loophole," says BikeReg.com MABRAcross
Coordinator Chip Sovek. "Yes, the Cat 1,2,3 masters will have to race
one or two additional laps, but for the Cat 3,4 masters this will open
the competition up for them!"
With these changes, the BikeReg.com MABRAcross series expects to maintain
its leadership as the fastest growing cycling series in America. For more
information on the 2007 BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series, see www.mabra.org.
Ridley Factory team roster
The Ridley Factory Team, based in Minneapolis, MN announces its final
rosters and sponsor lineup for the 2007/08 Cyclocross Season. Based out
of Minneapolis, MN but covering multiple regions around the USA, the team
will be led by elite team riders with grassroots development programs
in each of the regions. The Ridley Factory Team will appear at USGP CX
races, Vegas Cross, National Championships and other races across the
2007/2008 Team: Nick Weighall, Kevin Hankens, Rebecca Wellons,
Paul Schoening (director), Bjorn Selander, Jerome Townsend, Dag Selander
(manager), Michael Lappin, Ali Goulet, Rebecca Much, David Hackworthy,
Linda Sone, Jeff Winkler, Rob Kramer, and Steve McNammee.
Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races
- September 16: Steenbergcross, Erpe-Mere (Bel) C2
- September 22: Kinetic Systems - Tailwind Cyclo-cross 1, Springfield
Township, Michigan (USA) C2
- September 22: Star-crossed, Redmond (USA) C2
- September 23: GP Neerpelt Wisselbeker Eric Vanderaerden, Neerpelt
- September 23: Kinetic Systems - Tailwind Cyclo-cross 2, Springfield
Township, Michigan (USA) C2
- September 23: Rad Racing GP, Lakewood (USA) C2
- September 26: Cross Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada (USA) C2
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