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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #6 - CDM
Nommay, France, December 21, 2008
Nys faces a new challenge
By Les Clarke
The cyclo-cross world cup makes its way to Nommay, France, for round six this weekend. And the perennial 'crossing question is as relevant this season as ever: can anyone stop the 'Nys Express'? Several riders who would like to have some say in answering this question are Ryan Trebon, Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll. This trio of Americans makes an appearance in Europe fresh from the US National Cyclo-cross Championships last weekend with form and a common enemy in sight - the outstanding Belgian.
Trebon will be sporting the stars and stripes jersey as newly-crowned national champion, something sure to add an element of mongrel to his performance in what should be tough conditions in France. Local talent Francis Mourey gets his chance to enjoy a hit-out against the best the 'cross world has to offer, and after a win in the third round of the Challenge de la France he will undoubtedly be the local rider to watch.
And then there are the other Belgians. Bart Wellens' form has taken a turn for the better over the last month, his latest performance of a fourth in Igorre, Spain underlining his increased consistency - also reflected in his second place on the world cup standings - as the seasons trudges on. Vantornout, the Vanthourenhout duo and Pauwels are all capable of mixing it for a podium place to further enhance the Belgians' stranglehold on the Euro 'cross scene.
Not to be forgotten are Dutchmen Thijs Al and Lars Boom, who have enjoyed solid starts to the 2008-09 season and are due for a world cup win. The young world champion missed the previous round in Spain and should be well rested and recovered from his recent illness.
The women's field should throw up some tight racing, with Hanka Kupfernagel facing the Dutch challenge of Daphny Van Den Brand and Marianne Vos, combined with French talent Maryline Salvetat, who took second to the German at the European Championships in November. Like the men's race, the women's event will be enhanced by the presence of an American brigade that includes recently-crowned national champion Katie Compton, Georgia Gould and Sue Butler. They're sure to be gunning for world cup points ahead of the world championships next month.