Cyclo-cross news & racing round-up for January 12
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 email@example.com.
Lefèbvre's last races?
By Brecht Decaluwé
The organizers in Sint-Niklaas didn’t have a contract with Maxime Lefèbvre (Josan) and knowing that he missed a doping control in Middelkerke last week (as reported earlier), many people were amazed to see the French rider at the start. Peter Van den Abeele, the UCI representative for cyclo-cross, explained to Cyclingnews that the organization had fulfilled all their duties in Middelkerke, and that Lefèbvre's failure to show for anti-doping control was his own fault.
“I was there when the speaker announced the names in Dutch. I was checking the results and saw that many foreigners were in the top 10; I suggested to the speaker that he should announce it as well in some other languages, which he did,” Van den Abeele said, “the names were also listed where it needed to be listed.
Lefèbvre’s defense failed to impress Abeele, “I didn’t see or hear anything,” Lefèbvre told Sporza. “Now I’ll get a new punishment and that will probably mean the end of my career." After the race in Sint Niklaas, it took a while before Lefèbvre showed up for the doping control but he eventually turned up.
Lefèbvre continues to race despite the prospect of a career-ending sanction, and if he is sanctioned, he'll also lose any prize money he's gathered since Middelkerke. Still, he plans to continue on until forced to stop. “I’ll race again in Surhuisterveen [where he finished sixth just before Jonathan Page (Morgan Blue)] and maybe as well in Otegem [on Monday January, 8th]”, Lefèbvre said.
His start in Monday's race is by no means secure, since Van den Abeele wasn’t happy with the current Lefèbvre-circus. “I’m going to warn the office in Aigle that they need to take care of this case as soon as possible,” the UCI-representative said.
Belgians get strength in numbers at worlds
By Brecht Decaluwé
The Belgian team for the cyclo-cross world championships will have a three-man advantage over most other countries, giving them an even stronger bid for the title than their top-heavy team already had. Normally, one country is allowed to start with five riders at the world championships, but due to the fact that the Belgians have the UCI-leader in their ranks - Sven Nys (Rabobank) - they receive an additional starting spot in Hooglede-Gits this month.
The team gets a seventh spot for having the defending world champion, Erwin Vervecken (Fidea), and an eighth spot because Belgium is ranked in the top three of the UCI's cyclo-cross rankings. Belgium leads those rankings ahead of the Czech Republic and The Netherlands.
Last year, Belgium was started with seven riders because Nys was both UCI leader and reigning world champion. The world championships are held on January 28th.
Cyclo-cross World Cup heading to US
By Brecht Decaluwé
It's public knowledge that the UCI wants to take cyclo-cross abroad by organising a world cup event in the US next season. UCI-president Pat McQuaid supports the ideas of his cyclo-cross coordinator Peter Van den Abeele and recently said that the event would take place in October at the Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island - the same course where the US Cyclo-cross Championships were held in 2005 and 2006. "Our president launched this news but it's not definitively sure," Van den Abeele said yesterday.
Two weeks ago, at the world cup in Hofstade, Van den Abeele spoke with Cyclingnews on the subject of US cyclo-cross. "There are about 38 UCI cyclo-cross races there, which is not too bad I think, nevertheless it's a completely separate circuit," he said. "We hope to organise a world cup event abroad in the near future."
Back in November, Van den Abeele and his team had given up their hopes to organise an event in the US, but a meeting with UCI-president McQuaid turned things around. "He saw the statistics about cross' evolution in the US and immediately made a phone call to USA Cycling and that surely got things moving," Van den Abeele explained. "We really hope to organise the world cup event next year when the season starts."
The US event could replace the world cup held in Aigle, near the UCI headquarters. "Aigle is far from certain as there wasn't much interest for the race... in Switzerland you need to organize races near Wetzikon where cross is still alive and kicking," Van den Abeele concluded.
Belgians top rankings; Page jumps up
By Brecht Decaluwé
Sven Nys (Rabobank) remains the clear leader in the UCI cyclo-cross rankings with fresh Belgian champion Bart Wellens (Fidea) still in second place after the holiday rush of races. World champion Erwin Vervecken moved one spot forward and is now back in third position before the former Dutch champion Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank).
Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) cracked the top-10, he moved himself in front of John Gadret (AG2R) while Kevin Pauwels (Fidea) tumbled out of the top-10. Further down the rankings, renewed Czech champion Petr Dlask (Fidea) is finding his best form again and moved from 26th to 17th.
Ryan Trebon (Kona) didn’t compete to his best as he said in his diary, but his performances were still good enough to gain three places, he’s now ranked 19th. U23 Niels Albert (Palmans) beat all the professional guys in Loenhout and won ten places to end up at 21st.
For the Americans, Tim Johnson loses one spot (31st) while Barry Wicks (Kona) lost seven places (47th); they are placed before Todd Wells (Targetraining) who’s in 50th. The biggest jump forward was made by Jonathan Page (Morgan Blue), Page returned from injury with his new team and immediately competed in the European cross circus; he made a huge jump forward moving from 205th to 56th position ending up right behind his compatriot Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly).
For the complete rankings, click here.
Canadian team to Cycling Center
The twelve members of the Canadian cyclo-cross team, who last week posted a public plea for financial assistance, have found support thanks to the Cycling Center in Belgium. The Canadian Cycling Association does not currently support the 'cross team, and riders were faced with paying for their own travel and accomodations.
The Cycling Center in Hertsberge will host the team for the weeks preceding the world cyclo cross championships in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium, which take place on 27th and 28th January.
Along with housing, the Cycling Center will provide logistical support as well as team cars, vans and support crew. The Center in Herstberge is in the heart of the Belgian cycling mecca of Flanders. Their Belgian 'home away from home' will give the team a calm and comfortable setting in which to prepare for the championships.
Dutch selection for worlds
By Brecht Decaluwé
Dutch national cyclo-cross coach Johan Lammerts has already appointed his six names for the cyclo-cross world championships in Hooglede-Gits on January, the 28th, cyclo-cross.info reports. No real surprises were spotted in the selection so the names are: Richard groenendaal (Rabobank), Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank), Thijs Al (Bejan), Wilant Van Gils (ZZPR), Maarten Nijland (Ruiter Dakkapellen) and Camiel Van den Bergh (Stevens Racing Team).
National champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) is not competing in the elite category at the world championships; he wants to battle for the rainbow jersey with the U23 boys, like Niels Albert (Palmans) and Zdenek Stybar (Fidea).
USA men's picks for worlds
USA Cycling has announced its Elite Men's automatic and discretionary nominations for the 2007 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships scheduled for January 27-28 in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium. Three athletes met automatic qualification criteria, while three more earned discretionary picks.
The top-three men ranked in the top 50 of the latest UCI standings - Ryan Trebon (Kona), Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld.com) and Barry Wicks (Kona) - all met the first condition with a top-50 international ranking. Trebon also captured a national title at last month's USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships and won the overall Crank Brothers US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross series. Ranked 19th in the world, Trebon is joined by Johnson and Wicks, who are ranked 31st and 47th respectively, in the squad.
Discretionary picks for the US Elite Men's team include Jonathan Page (Cervelo), Erik Tonkin (Kona) and Tristan Schouten (Trek-Volkswagen). Page and Tonkin have each posted impressive results in Europe this season, with Page scoring a second-place finish at Nordzeecross, a UCI category-two race in Middelekerke, Belgium, last month while Tonkin placing 16th at a similar event also in Belgium. Schouten's success this season was all domestic based with a 15th-place finish at the national championships and several top-ten finishes in UCI-sanctioned races throughout America.
Belgian selection for Nommay
By Brecht Decaluwé
Belgian national cyclo-cross coach Rudy De Bie has announced the ten-man selection for Sunday's World Cup event in Nommay, France. Newly crowned Belgian champion Bart Wellens (Fidea) leads a formidable line-up together with Sven Nys (Rabobank) and world champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea). Tim Van Nuffel (Stevens Racing Team) has lost his place to in-form Jan Verstraeten (Sunweb).
Van Nuffel didn't start at the Belgian championships due to illness while Verstraeten managed a surprise third place in Otegem on Monday, finishing ahead of big guns like Wellens and Klaas Vantornout (Fidea). Verstraeten also managed to get into the selection earlier this season in Treviso and Pijnacker.
In 2005 the last World Cup race in Nommay was won by Nys ahead of Tom Vannoppen (Sunweb).
Belgian selection for Nommay:
Bart Wellens (Fidea), Sven Nys (Rabobank), Erwin Vervecken (Fidea), Sven
Vanthourenhout (Sunweb), David Willemsens (Sunweb), Bart Aernouts (Rabobank),
Klaas Vantornout (Fidea), Kevin Pauwels (Fidea), Davy Commeyne (Palmans)
and Jan Verstraeten (Sunweb).
Introducing Dee Dee Winfield
New to the big time 'cross scene this year, Velo Bella-Kona's Dee Dee Winfield has surprised everyone including herself with several UCI wins and even more podium finishes. How did this mom to 17-month-old daughter, Cadence, become one the top 'crossers in the country in such a short time? Cyclingnews diarist Barbara Howe explores the short history of this talented racer.
Perhaps it's the long miles logged in the past on epic bike adventures such as riding from Maine to Georgia and Charleston, SC to San Diego, or perhaps it's her strong work ethic and total commitment to the sport - either way Deidre Winfield, a.k.a. Dee Dee, has quickly moved to the top of the 'cross game.
Winfield's past isn't just filled with athletic exploits - her love of sport also translated to a Master's degree in Exercise physiology which she earned at the University of South Carolina. But her stay in Columbia during grad school was partly responsible for her love of cycling. In South Carolina, she never felt quite at home - the state just didn't click for her, so, missing her native Virginia and the miles of hilly country roads that just beg to be ridden, she sought solace by working in a bike shop.
For the full interview, click here.
Nys takes GP de Ster
By Brecht Decaluwé in Sint-Niklaas
UCI-leader and Belgian champion Sven Nys (Rabobank) won his third 'cross in three days in Sint-Niklaas. Although the startlist didn't feature the likes of world champion Erwin Vervecken, Bart Wellens and Sven Vanthourenhout, the 'cannibal of cyclo-cross' did need to work hard to get the victory.
Somewhat unknown French rider Maxime Lefèbvre (Josan) managed to push Nys to the limit - Lefèbvre rode in front all race long and Nys needed an ultimate acceleration to get rid of the Frenchman. "It wasn't an easy race and I tried to control a bit from the back; I came to the front when I noticed Lefèbvre was going really hard and my team mate Groenendaal looked unable to get him back," Nys explained.
The organisers may have been surprised to see Lefèbvre at the start after he missed a doping control at the Middelkerke cross last week, but the French rider didn't seem care much about that. "I did all I could to get rid of Nys but I couldn't get away from him. Nys was really strong, but he has been very strong all season long," said Lefèbvre. Asked about the missed doping control in Middelkerke, Lefèbvre said, "I didn't see or hear anything."
For the full report, results and photos, click here.
Euro 'cross championship round-up
Not all of the expected cyclo-cross favourites were able to score their national jerseys on the week-end. The hot battles throughout a mildly-tempered Europe turned out some surprising results, for example in Germany and Belgium. Instead of the presumed fight between title holder Johannes Sickmüller and Malte Urban in Auerbach, Germany, on Sunday, Rene Birkenfeld took the honours in a last-minute sprint. Urban was unlucky, as his chain broke in the very first lap.
In the motherland of cyclo-cross, Belgium, the all-dominating Sven Nys had some trouble on the muddy course and his greatest rival, Bart Wellens, finally got the better of him and re-claimed the jersey he wore in 2004 - mostly because of his good running skills.
The full results of the European national cyclo-cross championships
can be found here:
Nys takes revenge
By Brecht Decaluwé
Sven Nys’ (Rabobank) finish line reaction said it all: he was keen on revenge. “I came here to win the race!” The UCI-leader was one of the four men who formed the front group that entered the ultimate lap. Nys accelerated in the final to grab his 22nd victory of the season; the new Belgian champion Bart Wellens (Fidea) finished fourth behind Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb) and his surprisingly strong team mate Jan Verstraeten (Sunweb).
“My legs felt good although the champs were pretty tough, I gratefully made use of that. The bunch kicked off with a fierce start but I delayed intentionally; after my acceleration Vanthourenhout joined me, but another acceleration granted me a gap that proved to be enough to win,” Nys said on cyclo-cross.info.
The man in second place wasn’t too disappointed with that position. “I got tired by the end of the race and had to let go of Nys, who wanted to make up for yesterday’s race,” Vanthourenhout said.
New Belgian champion Wellens had a party-filled evening before the race, but did show up in Otegem for the classic ‘revenge for the champs’. “It went surprisingly well but with two laps to go I felt all energy slipping away. I tried to attack but of course they didn’t let me go; when the others started attacking it was over for me. That’s not a big surprise after such a tough championship and the celebrations that accompany the win,” Wellens explained.
For the full report and results, click here.
Albert on top again
By Brecht Decaluwé
The U23 race level seems to surpass the elite level as Niels Albert (Palmans) has beaten all professional riders once again, this time at the windy beach in Antwerp. Another U23 rider - Lars Boom (Rabobank) - recently won the Dutch elite champs beating more experienced competitors as well.
The 20 year-old Albert launched an early attack, and despite efforts from world champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) and recent Belgian champion Bart Wellens (Fidea), they only saw Albert again when the race was over. "I noticed that I was better in the mud so I went full on. It was still far to go, but I felt really well and then I like to show that," Albert laughed. Stormy weather, with wind and rain tortured the riders in Antwerp, and Albert said "It wasn’t an easy race with such weather."
His win is all the more remarkable given fact was that the top-5 was composed entirely of champions: Albert is the current U23 Belgian champion, Erwin Vervecken (2nd) is world champion, Zdenek Stybar – the current U23 world champion – finished third before his Czech compatriot Petr Dlask who is national champion, and Belgian champion Wellens completed this exclusive club.
Besides race winner Albert, all those champions ride for the Fidea team, who gave the Rabobank team a solid beating today. Sven Nys (Rabobank) didn't complete the race after crashing early on and having some mechanical troubles. "I switched bikes but my back wheel was chipped, so I lost four minutes to run towards the next pit… then my race was over," Nys explained to cyclo-cross.info. His Rabobank teammates, Bart Aernouts and Gerben De Knegt, ended up 6th and 7th.
For the full report and results, click here.
Global Racing takes UK champs
British cyclo-cross national champion Helen Wyman will lead the Global racing team, formerly known as Team FBUK, for the 2007 season. Wyman, who also won the mountains classification at the Tour of Brittany, competed in the world road championships this year in support of Nicole Cooke. Joining Wyman on the team will be South African Yolandi du Toit, winner of the 94.7 classic, and Gabby Day, who is currently ranked 18th in the world in cyclo-cross.
In the first race of 2007, Global Racing Team riders put in commanding performances to take 1st and 2nd in the Women’s National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Southampton. Wearing the pink and white colours of Global Racing for the first time, Wyman and Day hit one of hardest courses that the championships has seen in years. The running track start provided the riders with a great opportunity to get their places settled, and Helen took to the front immediately. Behind her, Day took up the chase and increased her advantage over the group chasing for third place.
With one lap of the muddy course taking only 10 minutes, the team's pit crew had their work cut out, as the two changed bikes every half lap for the entire race, but 2007 couldn’t have started much better for Global Racing Team. Wyman and Day now move on to World Cup races before the World Championships at the end of January.
Global cyclo-cross roundup
Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races
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