Cyclo-cross news & racing roundup for October 30
Edited by Les Clarke
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in cyclo-cross.
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Albert wins first ever World Cup
By Brecht Decaluwé
Niels Albert (Palmans-Cras) gets
his first elite World Cup
Photo ©: Photopress.be
Niels Albert won the second World Cup race of the season in Tabor, Czech
Republic where next year's world championships will be held. For the 22
year-old Belgian it is the first World Cup victory of his career. Thanks
to his second place in Kalmthout
last week, Albert takes over the World Cup leader's jersey from compatriot
Sven Nys who finished fourth in Tabor.
Albert had a slow start, but lap after lap he moved up to the front.
He joined the front of the race in the sixth out of nine laps, before
jumping away one lap later. Right behind him World Cup leader Sven Nys
crashed when he rode into Francis Mourey's back wheel. Albert pulled out
no more than fifteen seconds on a chasing group with Czech champion Zdenek
Stybar, his compatriot Martin Bina and Nys. Nevertheless, Albert held
his lead to win solo with Stybar grabbing the second place before an impressive
Bina, who pulled off his first ever podium result in a World Cup race.
Nys was fourth ahead of the Fidea duo Bart Wellens and Kevin Pauwels.
"I'm super happy," said Albert, who was denied his first World Cup win
in a tight sprint against Nys in last
week's World Cup. "This is the confirmation from my performance in
Kalmthout." Today Albert didn't dominate as he was forced to come back
after a poor start. "I started to get into the rhythm with three laps
to go after encountering bad luck in the first lap. I attacked very fast
and created a gap. Once I had more than ten seconds I knew the others
wouldn't be coming back, not on this course," Albert said.
For full coverage from Tabor, click
Belgian reaction after Tabor
Could we finally be witnessing the arrival of a cyclo-cross star with
the ability to break beat Sven Nys' stranglehold on the scene? After the
performance of young Belgian Niels Albert in Tabor last weekend, some
of the sport's best have indicated that this may be the case. Judging
by the reactions of Alberts' countrymen Nys and Wellens, the 2008-09 season
may be the Palmans rider's to lose.
Niels Albert: "This is really my breakthrough"
Niels Albert (Palmans-Cras) leads
the World Cup
Photo ©: Photopress.be
Niels Albert spoke to Belgian press agency Belga after the biggest
win of his career, and explained that, "The writing is now on the
wall and I can ride the the rest of the season without too much stress.
Yet it didn't all go smoothly. After the start Thijs Al fell behind me.
His bars became stuck in my back wheel and I was forced to run, which
dropped me back six or seven places.
"It took until halfway through the race before I really came to
the front. With just under three laps 'til the end I felt my time had
come. I still felt fresh enough to attack and I immediately hit a gap
of 10 or 15 seconds. That's when I knew the prize was mine. To make up
15 seconds on this fast track is a nigh impossible task. At last I took
a victory after my results from the Superprestige and the Gazet van Antwerpen
Trophy. It's a really great victory because I also beat three strong Czechs
in their own country. This is really my breakthrough."
Sven Nys: "I got the chance to tackle Alberts from behind"
"I felt that Niels Albert would get a good start and I was ready
to jump on his wheel, but I was never given a chance," said Nys.
"Françis Mourey was difficult – I knew this after I had passed
the stairs. Precisely at the time that I wanted to pass him, he unclipped
from his pedals, lost balance and I fell against him. Immediately the
race was over for me while it all still had yet to begin. I proved that I was [physically] ready by moving up from ninth to fourth position.
But it was not to be. Fortunately, this is not a disaster. After such a setback
I was still fourth and only ten points down in the World Cup
on Niels Albert, so it is not so bad. It could be worse."
"I had a good start, but suddenly the pack moved to the wrong side
and I was swarmed," said Wellens. "Several riders came down
around Niels Albert and I was involved. I think that my fight back shows that
I'm okay. Had there been another lap, I may have even got onto the podium.
I can safely say that Niels Albert was the strongest man there. He has
the ability to go for the kill, something I don't. I hope that he isn't
as strong riding during the rest of the winter otherwise we are seriously
Anthony, Nash lead USGP series
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Katerina Nash (Luna) wins
Photo ©: Trish Albert
Jesse Anthony (Jamis) and Katerina Nash (Luna) came out of the Derby
City Cup in Louisville, Kentucky as leaders of the US Grand Prix of
Cyclo-cross with consistent finishes in the two UCI C2 races. Anthony
finished second each day while Nash took the first day while finishing
second to her teammate Georgia Gould on the second.
For Anthony, the leader's jersey is a sign that his time off the bike
from a broken wrist in July, which cut short his road season, has not
affected his 'cross season.
"I've been out there suffering and I've put the work in," he
told Cyclingnews. "I have been being coached by Gord Fraser
and he has gotten me in shape for this stuff. Some of it I wasn't quite
sure what he was doing, even when he explained it to me. But I followed
it and no no arguments from me! I am going to do what he tells me to!"
Along with getting back into racing shape, he thinks that this year could
be a turning point for him. "Every year I jump up another step but
I think from last year to this year I've jumped up two steps. I know I
have more in me, and I feel really good at these races. But I know my
suffering point and where my legs are at, and I am not quite at the full
suffering point... I know I have more fitness to dig out before it comes
down to how deep I can dig."
Jesse Anthony (Jamis)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
As for the series lead, he acknowledged that he was surprised he came
out of the weekend with it. "I am going to give it my best shot to
hang onto it. A leader's jersey often makes the wearer ride like two men,
so I am hoping."
A Luna rider in the leader's jersey was less of a surprise, except for
maybe which one it would be. Both Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould won
a race at the Derby City Cup, pounding the entire field into submission.
It was only Gould's misstep near the end of the first race that cost her
the chance at a top two place that would have tied her teammate. But still
the jersey is in the family, with each ready to defend it from attacks
as well as push each other just as hard.
"We are teammates, but we don't cut each other any slack... we race
hard!" said Gould. Both riders are planning on racing the entire
series, with the overall an obvious goal. "I'm doing all the races
so I would love to keep it to the end," said Nash.
For complete 2008 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Calendar standings,
visit the Cyclo-cross National Calendar page www.usacycling.org/cnc
Meeusen goes pro with Fidea
Just as one Belgian has announced his presence as one of the best in
cyclo-cross, another promises to follow a similar trajectory. Fidea has
signed 19-year-old Belgian Tom Meeusen to a three-year contract. The national
espoirs 'cross champion finished third in the U23 race at last weekend's
world cup event in Tabor, Czech Republic, and looks set to enjoy a strong
Hofstade world cup moves to Heusden-Zolder
The world cup round held in Hofstade, Belgium, on December 26 will move
venues for this year's edition. Heusden-Zolder, home of the famous motor
racing circuit and scene of the 2002 road world championships, will host
this popular event.
The move has caused friction between the event's organising committee
and BLOSO (Commissariaat-Generaal ter Bevordering van de Lichamelijke
Ontwikkeling, de Sport en de Openluchtrecreatie), the Belgian Flemish
sports and recreation agency. The issue has been debated in the Flemish
parliament, with Sports Minister Bert Anciaux explaining he has no control
over the decisions of BLOSO.
Pro Cyling, the non-profit organisers of the Hofstade event, has been
accused of incompetence by BLOSO, a statement which naturally upset that organisation.
The latter group outlined the fact that its races, held in Hofstade since
2001, have attracted up to 20,000 spectators during the festive season
while enjoying live broadcast on Eurosport.
GNC returns as a major sponsor for the Toronto 'cross
Midweek Cycling Club recently announced that GNC has returned as a major
sponsor of the Toronto International Cyclo-cross UCI C1 race weekend, November
8-9, in Toronto, Ontario. GNC joins the growing list of sponsors, including
Clearview Marketing Communications, Amino Vital, Specialized Canada, 3Rox
Racing/Scott and Nissan.
Gilles Houde, President and CEO of GNC Canada, appreciates the virtues
of cyclo-cross and the values that tie in with those of his company, which
prompted him to support the sport. "We get great satisfaction in
helping athletes reach their goals," said Houde. "Our research
and development of sports nutrition in Canada is cutting edge in its innovation.
And our products are available at 160 retail stores."
New for 2008 is the GNC 'Live Well' zone. The Live Well zone gives non-cyclo-cross
riders a chance to try the sport on a mini racecourse aboard a new Specialized
Tricross. A different zone will be set up each day and will be open from
10am till 1pm, with elite riders on hand to show charges the ropes. It
will be available to everyone at no charge, although non-licensed riders
will be required to purchase single-day event insurance for $5.
For information on the Toronto International Cyclo-cross UCI C1 race weekend,
MAC and MABRA 'cross this weekend
MAC and MABRA will host a joint weekend of racing in Maryland to start
proceedings in November. The MAC Powered by SRAM kicks it off this Saturday,
November 1 with the Wayne Scott Xross in Fair Hill. On Sunday, the BikeReg.com
MABRAcross Series continues with the Kelly Benefit Strategies Cyclo-cross
at Rockburn, held at Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge Maryland.
Saturday's event at Fair Hill features the 'heckle hut', an indoor
portion of the track with barriers, a live DJ, southern-style barbecue
and beverages where those not racing may comfortably heckle those who
are. Sunday's race is co-promoted by the Howard County Parks and
Recreation Department, the first governmental agency in the US to be actively
involved in the production of a cyclo-cross race.
Wes Schempf sits atop the leaderboards of both the MAC Powered by SRAM
and BikeReg.com MABRAcross season point standings. Schempf's C3-Sollay.com
teammate Laura Van Gilder leads the MAC standings after winning 3 of the
first four races.
The MAC Powered by SRAM continues to be a leading proponent of gender
equality in cyclo-cross. Saturday's Wayne Scott Xross will pay the
men's and women's winners equally. Meanwhile, the Whitmore's
Landscaping Super Cross Cup scheduled for November 22 and 23 has become
the latest UCI event to announce that it is paying women according to
the 'Gould Formula' proposed last year by Georgia Gould.
The two-day event in The Hamptons of Long Island New York will pay the
top five women each day according to the UCI minimum men's prize
list. As both races have a UCI C1 category, the increase in the purse
is substantial and makes Whitmore's one of the richest women's
cyclo-cross weekends in the world.
Young Canadian 'crossers in the Netherlands
Two Under-23 riders from Canada and their coach – racer Tim Heemskerk
– will be joining Dutch team, Team Jan Terpstra, for part of this season
as a project to encourage young Canadian racers coming through the ranks.
Brian Robinson and Andrew Thomas, two riders within TTP (Tim's Training
Program), will travel with Tim Heemskerk to the Netherlands and race in the lead
up to the World Championships in Hoogerheide.
The idea of this project started about a year ago between Team Jan Terpstra
and Tim Heemskerk and will officially commence this December until February
2009. "Canada House in Holland" will provide these Canadian
cyclo-crossers with all the required facilities, technical guidance, race
equipment (Ridley Bikes) and rider development and experience of racing
'cross at the highest level in international 'cross races in the Netherlands and
Enter and win at Whitmore's
Myles Romanow, promoter of the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup,
(rounds eight and nine of the MAC Powered by SRAM Cyclo-cross series, announced
this week that one lucky entrant to his races in the Hamptons of Long
Island will receive an otherwise unobtainable, made-to-measure Richard
Sachs Cyclo-cross team bike, completely outfitted with SRAM Parts and Mavic
Every non-UCI entry at the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup on
November 22 and 23 will receive a raffle ticket towards the draw for the
Richard Sachs cyclo-cross bike. Riders who enter two races at Whitmore's
get two raffle tickets, those who enters four races in The Hamptons will
receive four – simple.
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, the official on-line pre-registration service
of the MAC Powered by SRAM Cyclo-cross Series.
Recent UCI races
25 USGP of Cyclo-cross #1 - Derby City Cup, Louisville, KY (USA) C2 ME/WE
26 Internationales Radquer Steinmaur, Steinmaur (Swi) C2 ME/WE
26 USGP of Cyclo-cross #2 - Derby City Cup, Louisville, KY (USA) C2 ME/WE
26 National Trophy Round 3, Chantry Park, Ipswich (GBr) C2 ME
26 Grand Prix de la Commune de Contern, Contern (Lux) C2 ME/MU/MJ/WE
26 Coupe du Monde UCI / UCI World Cup, Tabor (Cze) CDM ME/MU/MJ/WE
28 Velka cena skupiny CEZ, Podborany (Cze) C2 ME
Upcoming UCI races
1 Internationale Veldritten op de Koppenberg - Oudenaarde, Oudenaarde (Bel) C1 ME/MU/MJ/WE
1 The Cycle-Smart International 1, Northampton, Massachusetts (USA) C2 ME/WE
1 N. American Trophy # 5, Boulder C2, Boulder, Colorado (USA) C2 ME/MU/WE
1 Cyclo-cross international de Marle, Marle (Fra) C2 ME
1 Internationales Radcross Magstadt, Magstadt (Ger) C2 ME/WE
1 Fai Hill Cyclo-cross, Maryland (USA) NE
2 N. American Trophy #6, Boulder Cup, Boulder, Colorado (USA) C1 ME/WE
2 Superprestige Veghel-Eerde, Veghel-Eerde (Ned) C1 ME
2 The Cycle-Smart International 2, Northampton, Massachusetts (USA) C2 ME/WE
2 Int. Radquer Hittnau, Hittnau (Swi) C2 ME
2 Grand Prix Lostice, Lostice (Cze) C2 ME
2 Championnats d'Europe, Liévin (Fra) CC MU/MJ/WE
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