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Cyclo-cross news & racing roundup for October 22

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.

Nys shines with a shiner, Van de Brand repeats

Sven Nys and his black eye
Photo ©: Isosport
(Click for larger image)

Sven Nys' win in the Kalmthout World Cup on Sunday was not a great surprise, but his appearance on the podium was a bit of a shock. The Belgian champion crashed in the previous day's race in Lebbeke and was hit in the face with his own bike. The result was a gash above his eye with several stitches and a swollen and bruised face.

Despite this and other injuries, Nys out-sprinted the young hopeful Niels Albert to win the opening round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. It was his fourth victory of the season for his new Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner team.

Nys said that despite his eye being partially swollen shut, his vision was "good enough" to take the start in Kalmthout, and added that he had injured two fingers on his left hand as well as his right arm. "But that is cyclo-cross," he said.

Nys, unhindered by his injuries, took the lead early in the race before falling behind due to a mechanical. When Albert made his attack, Nys was the only one able to power back to his younger countryman. Nys then allowed Albert to do most of the work at the front, including leading into the sprint. The more experienced Nys waited just long enough to overtake Albert on the line to grab the first World Cup race of the season.

When asked about the eye problem Nys faced after Saturday's crash, the Belgian champion replied, "My eye? Today I was mainly confronted with pain in my legs," he said.

Van den Brand dominates in Kalmthout

Ven de Brand wins in Kalmthout
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Daphny Van den Brand's blonde plaits were dancing again in Kalmthout where she won the World Cup opener for the third consecutive time. Dutchwoman Van den Brand took the initiative during most of the race, but she had to wait for the ultimate lap to create a decisive gap over World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel. The German woman easily held off young Pavla Havlikova of the Czech Republic in the sprint for second place.

Canadian Wendy Simms rode a steady race and finished eighth to take the lead in the UCI rankings, while pre-race favourite Katie Compton of the USA pulled out during the first lap.

Van den Brand made her winning move from a leading group of six riders on the final lap, taking the lead from Christel Ferrier-Bruneau and then hitting the gas. Kupfernagel, who was in third wheel, could not get past the French woman to chase and Van den Brand stormed off to her fourth consecutive win in Kalmthout.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite men's and elite women's UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Kalmthout.

Powers top American in world rankings

By Kirsten Robbins

Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.com)
Photo ©: Anthony Skorochod
(Click for larger image)

It is not surprising to see Sven Nys ranked number one on the UCI cyclo-cross world points ranking, followed by a handful of other Belgian talents. However, scroll down a few more places and you will find the American Jeremy Powers in an impressive fifth place followed by his fellow countryman Ryan Trebon in seventh.

Powers, racing for Cyclocrossworld.com, swept the Cincinnati 'cross festival, a three-race weekend in Ohio which took place earlier this month. He then took second behind Trebon in the Granogue Cross C1 event on Saturday before stepping back onto the top of the podium at the Wissahickon Cross C2 event on Sunday. According to Powers obtaining UCI C1 level points is his main goal, one that will allow him a front row start when the time comes to join the European ranks in December.

"Granogue Cross was more important to me [than Wissahickon] and I was frustrated because I'm max out on C2 level points and I really needed the C1 level points," Powers said. "But, winning the race in Wissahickon was awesome because all the big guys were here and that means a lot to me."

Powers admitted that it is important to perform well in the USGP series. However, he is putting more emphasis on the UCI C1 level events in North America. Each UCI C1 event offers 60 points for the winner as opposed to the 30 points offered for at a UCI C2 event.

His pursuit for UCI C1 points started in Ohio and Delaware. It will continue in Boulder, Toronto, West Windsor, South Hampton and Portland. He saved the best for last, the US National Championships.

"Nationals are 120 points for a win and are my biggest target for the remainder of the year," said Powers, who called himself the Sven Nys of the US National Championships. "We are similar in that he always has a great season on the world level, but hasn't won the elite world championships since 2005. Nationals is a short 60-minute race and its hard to have good luck and good legs on the same day."

After the championships in Kansas City on December 14, Powers will join the US national team in Belgium to start their European cyclo-cross campaign. The team will compete in the remaining World Cups followed by the World Championships held in Hoogerheide, Netherlands on February 1, 2009.

"I have four wins right now and so maybe I have surpassed last years' results," said Powers. "But I'm trying not to be too surprised and to treat it like its not too much, too soon. This year has been awesome so far and I'm happy to be riding well. I know how much I can suffer and I hope for the best."

"I thought last year was third at CrossVegas was my biggest result in front of so many people. It was so much pedaling and not much bike handling and it was the start of a great year. Last year was a great year for me. If I could build on last year I would be happy and I get lucky with it.

UCI Rankings as of October 20, 2008

1 Sven Nys (Bel)                           420 pts
2 Niels Albert (Bel)                       399
3 Kevin Pauwels (Bel)                      284
4 Bart Aernouts (Bel)                      260
5 Jeremy Powers (USA)                      247
6 Klaas Vantornout (Bel)                   232
7 Ryan Trebon (USA)                        222
8 Radomir Simunek (Cze)                    220
9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze)                      207
10 Bart Wellens (Bel)                      204

Kupfernagel surprised by World Cup result

By Brecht Decaluwé in Kalmthout

World champion Hanka Kupfernagel didn't expect to battle for the victory in Kalmthout where the first World Cup race of the season was held this past Sunday. She ended her road season early, unexpectedly pulling out of the time trial at the World Championships in Varese citing a lack of form. Despite these doubts, Kupfernagel was at the head of the race together with eventual winner and her arch rival for years now, Daphny van den Brand.

"My first three laps were surprisingly good and from then on it started to get more difficult. Anyway, I'm happy with my performance. I hoped to finish in the top six, but now I'm on the podium. Some girls weren't as strong as I expected while I did better than expected, and that with my new bike," Kupfernagel pointed to her Stevens bike. "I only have it for a week but I'm more than happy with it."

Kupfernagel's coach, trainer and friend Mike Kluge told Cyclingnews that he had been checking out special lines on the course. Kupfernagel explained, "Mike advised me to, for example, take some 180-degree corners wider than I would normally use to so I could maintain my speed. Things like that helped to save energy here and there," Kupfernagel said.

This weekend, 'la Hanka' is racing in the next World Cup event of the season in Tabor, Czech Republic and there's a big chance that she'll show up even stronger than today. "We're going to Mallorca this week and we're flying in to the Czech Republic from there," Kupfernagel said. Unlike last year, when she skipped some races to focus on the Olympic Games, Kupfernagel is riding a full cyclo-cross calendar this season. "I would like to show this shirt as much as possible," Kupfernagel said while pointing to her rainbow coloured jersey.

Compton hampered by muscle problems

By Brecht Decaluwé in Kalmthout

Katie Compton before the start in Kalmthout
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

American rider Katie Compton was one of the pre-race favourites in the Kalmthout World Cup in Belgium, but ambitions to turn last year's second place into victory went sour when Compton was confronted with the same leg muscle problems which plagued the latter part of last season.

Compton's husband Mark Legg explained to Cyclingnews, "Katie is having trouble with her legs again despite being in very good form the week before the race. We are both very upset with the recent change in Katie's legs. If history is correct and Katie is able to travel well - which appears to be the major contributing factor - then she will be looking to race well in Pijnacker, The Netherlands.

The pair will head back to Colorado for two weeks before returning to Europe where Compton will defend her win in the Pijnacker World Cup. "The difficult part for us is the long travel and big time change which seems to play havoc with Katie's muscles. Unfortunately, the issue remains undiagnosed and seems to constantly change without warning, so we try to out-guess the muscle disorder. But at this level the smallest change can result in cramping-like symptoms or otherwise be fine," Legg said. "For now, we're hoping for a strong return and we are looking to make some changes to the racing program so we can give Hanka and Daphny some competition out there," Legg said

Canadian Champion tops UCI rankings

Wendy Simms holds the lead in the UCI's rankings after the Kalmthout World Cup. The Canadian renewed her title at her country's earlier than normal national championships, earning 120 points. She also took the win in the Rad Racing GP in September and second place in Lakewood before taking seventh in CrossVegas. She then went on to win the Jim Horner GP.

Her strong showing at the Kalmthout World Cup earned a further 130 points for eight place, pushing her into the lead with 309 points to Kalmthout winner Daphny Van den Brand's 300. World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel sits in third with 260 points for her second place in the World Cup.

Women's UCI rankings as of October 20, 2008

1 Wendy Simms (Can)                        309 pts
2 Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned)               300
3 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger)                  260
4 Pavla Havlikova (Cze)                    220
5 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra)           205
6 Nadia Triquet-Claude (Fra)               182
7 Maryline Salvetat (Fra)                  160
8 Saskia Elemans (Ned)                     150
9 Susan Butler (USA)                       149
10 Veerle Ingels (Bel)                     140 

North American briefs

Powers, Dombrowski hold National Calendar lead

Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.com/Cannondale) and Amy Dombrowski (Velo Bella-Kona held onto their lead in the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar standings after the Granogue and Wissahickon races this weekend. Powers took the win in Sunday's race in Wissahickon after taking second to Ryan Trebon on Saturday. He now leads Trebon by 23 points.

Dombrowski was not present in the east coast events, which were won by Deidre Winfield and Laura Van Gilder - neither one of whom threatened to take the lead.

USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar standings after 17 events:

1 Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.com/Cannondale) 245
2 Ryan Trebon (Kona) 222
3 Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld.com/Cannondale) 183
4 Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) 145
5 Jamey Driscoll (Cyclocrossworld.com/Cannondale) 141
1 Amy Dombrowski (Velo Bella) 92
2 Katie Compton (Spike) 80 
2 Natasha Elliott (Emd Serono/Stevens) 80
4 Sue Butler (Monaviecannondale.com) 74
5 Rebecca Wellons (Ritchey Factory Team) 73

USGP Derby City Cup renews sponsor

Organizers of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross, (USGP) have announced that Louisville-based Papa John's has renewed as title sponsor of this weekend's opening round, the Derby City Cup, in Louisville, Kentucky.

The USGP Papa John's Derby City Cup will be held at Champions Park on a course designed by USGP Executive Director Bruce Fina and local 'cross guru Bob Bobrow. The course is comprised of fast straights, technical turns, sand, several run-ups, and a flyover.

The second stop of the series will be the Mercer Cup presented by Knapp's Cyclery in West Windsor, NJ on November 15-16. The series will then return to Portland, Oregon for the fifth consecutive year for the Portland Cup presented by Stanley for the final races on December 6-7.

More information on the USGP will be released in the coming weeks. For more information on the USGP, visit www.usgpcyclocross.com.

Belgian and Dutch embassies sponsor DC 'cross

Organisers of Sunday's City Bikes DCCX announced that the only cyclo-cross race held within the District of Columbia has brought in representatives from the founding countries of the sport to help give a more "authentic" atmosphere to the race. The Belgian Embassy will sponsoring the "Lil' Belgians" kids race, and the organization will be serving up Frites, a staple of Belgian 'cross races, free of charge.

In addition, the DC Dutch club has announced it would cook up "poffertjes" for the racers. Poffertjes are a type of pancakes served with butter and powdered sugar. And, in a further effort of trying to upstage their European neighbors, the Dutch plan to show up in traditional clothing with their flags waving.

The Men's Category 4 class has already sold-out, but pre-registration is still available for other classes at BikeReg.com http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=7143 . Pre-registration is strongly recommended as day-of registration, if still available, will take place off-site.

Whitmore's 'cross to raffle off Sachs bike

The promoter of the UCI Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup announced a new incentive for non-UCI racers to attend this week. A custom Richard Sachs Cyclo-cross team bike, fully outfitted with SRAM components and Mavic wheels will be raffled off at the race in the Hamptons of Long Island on November 22-23.

Every non-UCI entry will receive one free raffle ticket toward the drawing for the Richard Sachs Cyclo-cross bike for each race they enter.

Richard Sachs currently has a seven year backlog for his Signature road frames, and is not currently taking orders from new clients. But this bike, which will be made to measure specifically for the winner of the contest, will be built along with next year's RGM Watches - Richard Sachs - Boathouse Inc pro team bikes.

To enter the raffle, simply register for the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup at BikeReg.com.

'Cross goes indoors in Alberta

The Veloplzen Cycling Club announced this week that it would hold North America's first indoor cyclo-cross event in Springbank, Alberta on November 8.

The race will be held in a heated 80x240 foot barn, and will be run four riders at a time in heats with two categories - open and one-cog (fixed gear, coasters, cruisers and singlespeeds). A women's event will be run if there are enough entrants.

The course is being designed and constructed by Keith Bayly and will offer traditional cyclo-cross features – tight turns, loose surfaces, off-camber corners, long straights, and multiple barriers - as well as a few special surprises!

Entertainment will be provided by local Calgary bands - The Bownesians, Dead Man's Hand, and The Ramblin' Ambassadors.

Libations generously provided by Steam Whistle Pilsner and concessions provided by Veloplzen club members.

For more information, visit the Veloplzen Cycling Club – http://veloplzen.blogspot.com

CrossVegas to air on Altitude

Broadcast dates for the televised coverage of CrossVegas, the international cyclo-cross race held September 24th in Las Vegas, were announced this week. The program will air on Altitude Sports and Entertainment Network on the following dates:

Saturday October 25 5:30 pm MDT
Monday October 27 9:30 pm MDT
Sunday November 2 10:30 pm MST
Thursday November 6 2:30 am MST
Thursday November 20 1; 30 pm MST
Sunday November 23 6:30 am MST

Viewers outside of Altitude's 10 state region (Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah) can find the program on DirecTV as well as Dish Network in select areas. Additional airings of CrossVegas will be available on other networks to be announced in the next few weeks.

Recent UCI Cyclo-cross results:

Upcoming UCI races

  • October 21: Nacht van Woerden, Woerden (Ned) C2 ME
  • October 25: USGP of Cyclocross #1 - Derby City Cup, Louisville, KY (USA) C2 ME/WE
  • October 26: Internationales Radquer Steinmaur, Steinmaur (Swi) C2 ME/WE
  • October 26: USGP of Cyclocross #2 - Derby City Cup, Louisville, KY (USA) C2 ME/WE
  • October 26: National Trophy Round 3, Chantry Park, Ipswich (GBr) C2 ME
  • October 26: Grand Prix de la Commune de Contern, Contern (Lux) C2 ME/MU/MJ/WE
  • October 26: Coupe du Monde UCI / UCI World Cup, Tabor (Cze) CDM ME/MU/MJ/WE
  • October 28: Velka cena skupiny CEZ, Podborany (Cze) C2 ME

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