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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up for November 2, 2006

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.

Czech neo-pro wins world cup race on home soil - World Cup round three wrap-up

Radomír Simunek Jr. (Cze)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Radomir Simunek Jr (Palmans) has stepped into his father's footsteps by grabbing his first big win on home soil in the international cross race in Tabor (Czech Republic).

The neo-pro was delighted with the win: "This is a dream that comes true for me. I always started good in the previous races but I couldn’t keep up the up because I’m that young. With the hard underground over here I could stay in the slipstream of Wellens."

The victory of Simunek comes as a surprise as he could only manage a 15th (Aigle) and 28th place (Ruddervoorde) in previous world cup races. Still, this win is more than luck as Simunek is one of the hottest prospects in cyclo-cross. With 23 yea-old Radomir Simunek and 20 year-old Niels Albert, it lookes like Charles Palmans has the future of cycling in his team!

Belgian Bart Wellens (Fidea) and Simunek rode together for most of the race. The race looked like a copy from the race in Hoogerheide last year where the two riders also engaged an early attack. The advantage was mainly the work of Bart Wellens. He explained the tactics he used: "I didn’t know what to do with Simunek - as he was in my wheels all the time - so I just kept going. I wanted to get a sprint." In the end it didn’t came down to a sprint as Simunek got rid of Wellens in the last lap. The Belgian commented on that finale: "It was a very tough last lap. Simunek suddenly had 20 metres and I couldn’t catch him anymore. He’s a big winner so I congratulate him. But now it can start raining because the courses are too fast for me," the Belgian laughed.

See full race results, report and photos from the World Cup round three here.

Nys recovers from disappointment in Tabor - Superprestige round two wrap-up

By Brecht Decaluwé

Sven Nijs (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

After his disappointing performance in Tabor on Saturday, Sven Nys (Rabobank) has given his opponents a clear answer by winning the second event of the international Superprestige, in Sint-Michielsgestel, Holland. The big names of cyclo-cross had an additional challenge, after travelling from Tabor, Czech Republic to Holland in one night.

"I wasn't 100% just yet," Sven Nys reacted on his win on Belgian Sporza radio. "Just like everybody else, the trip from Tabor was still felt; I also had some back pains."

Nevertheless, it was clear that Sven Nys was the strongest man in today's race; the Belgian added, "Wellens already asked me to take over the lead after half a lap. When I accelerated something must've happened as I immediately got away."

See full race results, report and photos from Superprestige round two here.

Superprestige standings after round #2

1 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank                             30pts
2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team                25
3 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) Rabobank                   24
4 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Rabobank                   23
5 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team             22
6 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team               21
7 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank                       16
8 Thijs Al (Ned) B&E Cycling Team                      12
9 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team            11
10 Jan Soetens (Bel) Jartazi-7Mobile                    9

Trebon and Compton double up

By Kirsten Robbins

US National Champion proves too strong for the elite women's field

Strong and powerful,
Photo ©: Fj Hughes
(Click for larger image)

Katie Compton (Spike Professional/Primus Mootry) powered away from her stiff competition before the end of the first lap. Compton left Lyne Bessette (Cyclocross world.com) and Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB Team) to battle for second and the remaining forty riders in shrapnel. "Georgia Gould and Lyne Bessette are really strong riders and I did not know how I was going to fair against them today," said two-time US Cross Champion Katie Compton. "I have not done UCI cross races in the past because my main focus is the pilot for the Para-Olympic tandem and so I normally race local cross races instead."

US national mountain bike champion Georgia Gould led Bessette and Compton through the demanding course on the first lap. "Three of us separated from the field at the very beginning and Georgia Gould was leading us," said Bessette. "But, Katie passed Georgia and I hesitated to go with her right away. Katie is an amazing athlete and you can't let her have even two feet advantage or you have to work way harder to catch her. Once she got her gap I tried to hold it with her but after ten seconds I saw that I could not close it."

Compton repeated her win over Canadian champion Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld.com) in Wissahickon the following day, only this time around the battle was fierce. The womens' race began much like the mens', with the two strongest riders separating themselves from the field. "I wanted to do my own race and get out there and give the whole shot, to start out front and that is what I did," said Lyne Bessette."The first part of the circuit is really tricky and on the first lap I am always more nervous, so it is easy to make mistakes sometimes. I pre-road the course with my husband, Tim, which helped me a lot and I knew exactly what I was going to do today.

For full results from Granogue here.

Lanky Trebon scores two UCI wins

Ryan Trebon
Photo ©: Fj Hughes
(Click for larger image)

Ryan Trebon (Kona) won his third cyclocross race in Granogue out of a battle between four dominant riders: Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly), Barry Wicks (Kona) and Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld.com).

The four riders blasted out of the 60-rider field during the beginning of the event and remained together until three laps remaining where Trebon made his winning attack. "I wasn't trying to attack to win", said Trebon. "I was just trying to get the tempo going a little higher and see how everyone would respond. I managed to get a gap and decided to stick with it and just ride it out to the end."

The Kona champion suffered a mechanical part way through the race that did not seem to affect his outcome too much. "I was with the lead group but I dropped my chain so I had to stop and get a new bike," said Trebon. "I wasn't too worried about catching back on and I was having fun out there."

See full race results, report and photos from Granogue here, and Wissahickon here.

Nys leads UCI rankings

By Brecht Decaluwé

Nys wins again.
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)
Sven Nys (Rabobank) remains in the white jersey of the leader in the UCI Cyclo-cross rankings, despite his recent winning streak coming to an end on Saturday, after 23 year old Czech rider, Radomir Simunek Jr., and Bart Wellens' Fidea team managed to get away from the Belgian in the World Cup race in the Czech Republic. His lead over world champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) dropped a little from 195 to 187 points but it’s still fairly comfortable.

The Belgians continue to reign in cyclo-cross as they cover the first four positions. Frenchman Francis Mourey (Française Des Jeux), who dropped from third to sixth after missing out on this weekend's races, was replaced by Bart Wellens in third. New in the top10 is Czech Radomir Simunek Jr (Palmans), the winner of the World Cup race in Tabor; he jumps from 21st to eighth position. Klaas Vantornout (Fidea) snuck into the top 10 as well, gaining three spots after his fourth place in Tabor.

Falling out of the top 10 are Americans Ryan Trebon (Kona) and and Timothy Johnson (Cannondale/ Cyclocross world) after not earning UCI points this weekend. Trebon fell from 10th to 16th, Johnson from 11th to 17th. Also losing ground was Czech Zdenek Mlynar (AC Sparta Praha) who dropped from 9th to 12th.

 1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank                               990 pts
 2 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team              803
 3 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team                 706
 4 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Rabobank                    583
 5 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank                        547
 6 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française Des Jeux               474
 7 Kamil Ausbuher (Cze) Cyklo Team Budvar Tábor          471
 8 Radomir Simunek (Jr) Palmans Colstrop                 470
 9 Christian Heule (Swi) Stevens Racing Team             441
 10 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Morgan Blue                   429
 11 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team               382
 12 Zdenek Mlynár (Cze) Max Cursor                       347
 13 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team               320
 14 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank                         312
 15 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) Rabobank                   306
 16 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona                               290
 17 Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocross world    285
 18 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Lampre - Caffita                262
 19 Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) AVB Asbestverwijdering          229
 20 Steve Chainel                                        228

Belgian 'cross selection for Treviso announced

Rudy De Bie, coach of the Belgian national cyclo-cross team, has announced ten of the riders on his list for the next world cup race in Treviso on November, 4th. Nine riders are the same as in Tabor: Sven Nys, Sven Vanthourenhout, Bart Aernouts (all Rabobank), Erwin Vervecken, Bart Wellens, Klaas Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels (all Fidea), Davy Commeyne (Palmans) and Tim Van Nuffel (Stevens Racing Team). New in the selection is Jan Verstraeten (Fidea) who replaces Jan Soetens (Jartazi). Soetens is out with a shoulder injury.

Global cyclo-cross round-up

Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races

  • November 4: Chainbiter 8.0 by Benidorm Bikes, Farmington (USA) C2
  • November 4: UCI World Cup, Trévise (Ita) CDM
  • November 4: Xilinx Cup, Longmont, Colorado (USA) C2
  • November 5: 5 Ciclocross Del Ponte, FAE DI ODERZO (Ita) C2
  • November 5: Aurora Cross, Aurora, Ontario (Can) C2
  • November 5: Boulder Cup, Boulder, Colorado (USA) C1
  • November 5: Schmerkner Badi Quer, Schmerikon (Swi) C2
  • November 5: The Cycle-Smart International, Northampton (USA) C2
  • November 5: Vlaamse Witloof Veldrit, Vossem (Bel) C1

Burghardt goes cross

By Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile's Marcus Burghardt missed much of the 2006 season due to a knee injury and subsequent surgery, so the German has already started training for the coming season - not on his racing bike, but on a cross bike. After having been plagued by problems all season, he underwent surgery in August. "I was injured for a long time, so I don't need a time-out any more", he said on the team's website, explaining why he already started training.

He gave the cross bike a workout last winter, too, participating in a few races along the way, even coming in second in one event. But "the fun factor is clearly the most important thing for me," Burghardt said. "Riding in the forest is great and more liberating than riding on roads. I will continue to slot cyclo-cross rides in my training schedule, even though I'm no longer living in the Erzgebirge."

He has moved from his native German mountains to the small town of Auenstein, Switzerland, where a neighbour and sometime training partner is former teammate Steffen Wesemann. The two share a passion for one particular race - Paris-Roubaix. "The 'Hell of the North' inspired me already as a teenager", Burghardt continued. It is a race that requires outstanding bike handling skills. "That's also important in cyclo-cross. And I benefit from that, particularly in races like Paris-Roubaix."

His team doesn't worry about this hobby - at least, not too much. "I cleared that with Rolf Aldag," Burghardt said. "He told me to be careful and that we should be responsible with our bodies." After all, cross riding is only a small part of his winter training. "Building up basic stamina is absolutely essential. Of approximately 16 hours of training per week, only one hour is devoted to cyclo-cross training. This way, I don't run any risk of lessening the endurance training effects."

USA 'cross nationals find new sponsor

California Giant Berry Farms has been named presenting sponsor of the 2006 USA Cycling National Cyclo-Cross Championships, to be held on December 15-17 at Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island. "We're excited to be involved," said Anthony Gallino, Vice President of Sales for California Giant Berry Farms. "Our Company is committed to promoting health and fitness for all ages. We also happen to love the sport of cycling and specifically, cyclo-cross."

The company has supported the California Giant Strawberry cycling team for several years with many members competing at the national level, including the 2004 & 2005 masters national champion, Justin Robinson. California Giant will be sending eight of their team members to the 2006 event.

US racers hit the Euro cyclo-cross scene - on DVD

Transition 2 is the story of a group of North American cyclo-cross racers going to Belgium to race during the holidays. For 10 days in the winter of 2005-2006, filmmaker Sam Smith followed the likes of Brandon Dwight, Lyne Bessette, Ryan Trebon, Barry Wicks, Jonathan Page, and Erik Tonkin through every aspect of the Belgian ‘cross experience. He also shows what the experience is like for up and comers in the sport like Troy Wells, Jesse Anthony, Brady Kappius, Alex Howes, Bjorn Selander, and Danny Summerhill.

“I wanted to show what goes on over there as simply and honestly as I could while I made sure to keep it entertaining,” said Smith. The holiday week between Christmas and New Years is full of GVA, Superprestige, and World Cup series races, making it possible for a rider to do a big race every day if they so choose. This makes it prime time for foreign racers to take a trip to Belgium and get the most bang for their buck, he said.

The North Americans race with the best in the world in the harsh and unforgiving heartland of cyclo-cross for a week straight. The movie is not only about the racing, but everything that goes along with making the trip. The DVD also includes scenes from the “Euro Cross Camp” at the USA Cycling House in Izegem, Belgium as well as scenes at mechanic, Michel Bajorek’s home.

MABRA 'cross winds up a successful series

The MABRA 'cross series brings the curtain down on its most successful season ever with a double-header this weekend. The penultimate round of the 2006 series takes place in Leesburg, Virginia on Saturday, November 4, with the annual running of Club Squadra Coppi’s “Tacchino Ciclocross”. The following day, the series heads slightly north and west to the series’ fastest course, the Race Pace Cyclocross in Sykesville, Maryland.

Traditionally a race held near America’s Thanksgiving Holiday, Saturday’s Tacchino (that’s Italian for Turkey) Cyclocross will see some changes this year with its new location in Leesburg’s Ida Lee Park. According to lead promoter Judd Milne, it’s a change for the better, “The park staff are very supportive of our efforts, and I get the feeling when dealing with them and the town management that they would like to see this event become even more closely tied with the town.” Though other races have been held in the park in previous years, this will be the first time that a cyclo-cross event of this magnitude will be held in Ida Lee Park. The new venue also lends itself to a classic ‘cross course with great viewing of most of the track.

Sunday’s finale will be held at Freedom Park in Sykesville, Maryland. Known for its fast, sweeping turns and asphalt corridors between baseball and soccer fields, this year’s Race Pace Cyclocross will also feature two run-ups, including one next to the pits. More importantly, it will be the last chance for riders to score points toward this year’s MABRA 'cross season championship.

Chicago 'cross continues in St Charles

Chicago Cyclocross Racing series moves to 'Campton Cross' in the city of St Charles, Illinois, approximately 35 miles west of downtown Chicago on Saturday, November 4. The Campton course will include a mix of technical grassy sections with a long gravel section for recovery followed by several off camber turn, a cement paved climb, a short technical grassy section and a short two-barrier climb. A fast three-barrier run and a flat start/finish will keep the speed up.

Cow Town Cyclo-cross Series heads to Kansas City

The fun (and pain) continues this weekend as rounds two and three of the Cow Town Cyclocross Series will take place along the Missouri River at the E.H. Young Riverfront Park. The signature event of the series, the Riverside Cyclocross Festival, takes place November 4th and 5th and will feature a classic cyclo-cross course, free food and drinks, a beginners cyclo-cross clinic, custom awards, cow bells and over $2000 in cash, awards, primes and prizes.

The 1.6 mile course designed by event director Chris Locke features a barrier free course, but has several natural features that “may” require a dismount. “I am an old school cross racer and like to design courses that test a riders technical ability as well has their fitness and race savvy”

Former winners of the “Elite” class include National CX champion Steve Tilford and three-time champion Chad Smith. The best riders in the Midwest will lineup this weekend for another classic battle along the Missouri River banks.

Flyers can be downloaded at www.cowtowncycling.com

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