World Cyclo Cross Championships

Middelfart, Denmark, January 31-February 1, 1998


The World Cup winner for 1997-98, Dutchman Richard Groenendaal is the favourite to take out the Elite Men's World Cyclo Cross Championship which will be staged in the Danish town of Middlefart. The town is located on an island (Funen) where famous Danish writer and story-teller Hans Christian Andersen was born.

Richard Groenendaal has been second twice in the last 4 years Overshadowing the likelihood of Groenendaal's chances is the cloud created by the defending champion, 31-year old Italian Daniele Pontoni who has recently tested positive twice to cocaine and who is now the centre of a controversy. The UCI is likely to take action to stop Pontoni riding even though the Italian bodies have not been decisive as yet.

Without Pontoni, who hasn't been in particularly sharp form anyway, the race looks to be a two-person showdown between the Dutch kings of cyclo cross this season - the 26-year old Groenendaal and the 38-year old, 1996 World Champion Adri van der Poel. Interestingly, Adri van der Poel raced against Groenendaal's father, Reiner before he retired. Groenendaal has the form edge on the veteran Dutchman and if he wins on Sunday he will have taken out all the major Cross prizes in the season - he has already won the SuperPrestige Trophy and the World Cup.

Other contenders for the Championship include Italian Luca Bramati and the Dane, Henk Djernis. But to some extent these riders should be thankful that two Belgians are still in the U-23 category. In top form, Sven Nijs and Bart Wellens (current Belgian Champion) will battle out the younger division with Nijs seeking back-to-back titles.

In last year's Elite race it was Pontoni, Frischknecht, then Bramati. Bramati would also like to stand on the podium and are expected to give the Dutch pair a strong challenge. Djernis won the 1993 Elite race.

The circuit is 3.2 kms long and at the outset the riders face a tough climb of around 400 metres.

Espoirs Championship, January 31, 1998

At we aim to cover the globe. Finn Jorrald, kindly was our "On the Spot Reporter", and although freezing, he sent this brilliant report and complete results. Very kind.

When the organisers arrived early this morning they had a serious problem to contend with. Part of the course had flooded during the night. That in itself should not have been a problem but combined with the temperature of minus 10 degrees (Celsius), it mean't that 150 metres of the course had now become an ice rink. They had to change the course and after some hectic work it was done. Changing the course was nothing new for them. Almost everyday since the arrival of the international commissaires there have had to been changes made. A particularly nasty little hill was omitted. It was too much in favor of the riders from Nation x. And so on went the trading!

But at 14.00 there was the usual silence. And then the whole bunch came up the asphalt road. In the lead was Italian Vandelli followed by Dutchman Nijland and 4 Belgian riders. Coming to the first technical descent the Italian was gone and all 62 riders was strung out in a single line after Nijland. When they came to the beach after 3 km the two Belgians Sven Nijs and Bart Wellens had managed to put 25 m between them and the followers. This was the first break in the race with the peloton being unable to keep up with the Belgian favourites. It was exciting to see their skilled bike handling. At the planks they didn’t get off their bike to run. They were the only riders in the field to jump them with their bikes. Unfortunately for Wellens he later tumbled and it was only Nijs that continued to jump. Nijs continued to push ahead and Wellens could not hold him. Nijs steadily expanded his lead to 30 seconds which he maintained until the end.

Behind him Wellens was never in danger of losing his second place. Already on the first lap the Czech Dlask had emerged as third with some 6-8 riders fighting about the next positions. Among them was the Dane Nielsen and the German Kupfernagel.

On the next 6 laps the excitiment was in fact not about the podium places. Nijs, Wellens and Dlask were secure but behind them the battle was furious. Kupfernagel was fighting hard and came up to fifth place before he suddenly blew and ended in 14th place. Already on the third lap the American Tim Johnson had come up to the 9th place and he bravely defended that. The challenge of the day came from the very strong Frenchman Benoist who came thundering by everybody the last three laps and ended in 5th place. Nielsen could barely hold his 4th place some 5 metres ahead of him.

Except on the last lap there seemed to be an Anglo-American gathering riding the race "together". The Brit Taylor was 1½ minute ahead of the other British riders Bell, Curtis and Young was just next to the second American Krause. On the last lap Taylor was tired and the lead he had on his confreres shrunk to only 1 minute. Bell had managed to shake the others off and had a lead of ½ minute to Krause. Krause had also established a lead of ½ minut over Curtis and Young.

Canadian Asseer was another story. Already at the first lap he was 400 m behind the leaders and as the only rider he was taken out of the race after been overtaken with one round by Nijs. There was never any doubt that the Belgian riders were in a class by themselves. Compared to the ranking of the world cup, the results were disappointing for the French.

I was standing before the sand some 300 m before the finish so the placing might in a few cases be one of. The seconds I measured is my estimate. Please bare with me if there are mistakes. But it was freezing cold, my fingers were hurting and my dog was tired.

[Bill notes: results are now complete and correct]

Nijs was reported after the race as saying: "I saw Wellens was taking it easy on the hill so I took a chance and attacked. Throughout the race I went as fast as I could if only to stay warm in the sub-zero temperature."

Race distance - 22.4 kms:

 1. Nijs, Sven			BEL            52.14
 2. Wellens, Bart		BEL	    	0.24
 3. Dlask, Petr			CZE	    	0.29
 4. Nielsen, Klaus		DEN	    	0.45
 5. Benoist, Guillaume		FRA	    	0.47
 6. Prosek, Pawel		CZE	    	0.59
 7. Nijland, Maarten		NED	    	1.08
 8. Lubberman, Raymond		NED	    	1.10
 9. Dall'oste, Fabrizio		ITA	    	1.12
10. Johnson, Tim		USA	    	1.12
11. Rondelez, Björn		BEL	    	1.22
12. Volckaerts, Kipcho		BEL	    	1.25
13. Schmitz, Bram		NED	    	1.28
14. Kupfernagel, Stefan		GER	    	1.35
15. David, Gianni		BEL	    	2.01
16. Kaufka, Damian		POL	    	2.04
17. Derepas, David		FRA	    	2.08
18. Bünter, Stefan		SUI	   	2.16
19. Weigold, Steffen		GER	    	2.19
20. Barnechow, Christian	DEN	    	2.19
21. Lohse, René			DEN	    	2.23
22. Vandelli, Valeriano		ITA	    	2.39
23. Peter, Roman		SUI	    	2.56
24. Mlynar, Zdenek		CZE	    	3.02
25. Martinez, Miguel        	FRA         	3.05
25. Novy, Petr			CZE	    	3.09
27. Gadret, John		FRA	    	3.12
27. Artetxe Guzuraga, Mikel	ESP	    	3.22
29. Bonne, Thomas		DEN	    	3.24
30. Pereiro Sio, Oscar		ESP	    	3.32
31. Cubello, Angelo		ITA	    	3.32
31. Tavella, Igor		ITA	    	3.44
31. Van Loon, Paul		BEL	    	3.44
34. Kovac, Moras		SVK	    	3.44
35. Bodnar, Grzegorz		POL	    	3.49
36. Reuker, Jens		GER	    	3.49
37. Trafelet, Christian		SUI	    	3.55
38. Morf, Beat			SUI	    	3.58
39. Wasmer, Christian		GER	    	3.58
40. Van Bussel, Pascal		NED	    	4.07
41. Van Gils, Wilant		NED	    	4.44
42. Dieudonne, Nicolas		FRA	    	4.44
43. Rusch, David		SUI	    	4.55
44. Armada Fentanes, Manuel	ESP	    	5.01
45. Taylor, James		GBR	    	5.03
46. Zanke, Florian		GER	   	5.03
47. Carlsen, Allan		DEN	    	5.08
48. Zanetti, Igor		ITA	    	5.34
49. Cierpikowski, Pawel		POL	    	5.34
50. Martinez, Ivan		ESP	    	5.52
51. Bell, David			GBR	    	5.55
52. Medved, Pavol		SVK	    	6.17
53. Krause, Adam		USA	    	6.39
54. Young, Robert		GBR	    	7.02
55. Curtis, Brian		GBR	    	7.02
56. Kodaira, Yukinaga		JPN	    	7.14
57. Schwinninger, Joel		LUX	    	7.24
58. Kaarlampi, Erik		FIN	    	7.48
59. Suzuki, Yuichi		JPN	    	8.44

DNF - Asseer, Rudi 		CAN
DNF - Ordorkika Jayo, Arkaitz  	ESP
DNF - Evans, Philip           	GBR
DNF - Fogen, Steve            	LUX

Junior Championship, February 1, 1998

 1. BAUMGARTNER Michael      SUI               38.56
 2. TOFFOLETTI Stefano       ITA		0.03
 3. COMMEYNE Davy            BEL		0.03
 4. OCASEK Martin            CZE		0.05
 5. VANTHOURENHOUT Sven      BEL		0.09
 6. SCHRÖDER Björn           GER		0.09
 7. SCHÜLER Tilo             GER		0.16
 8. TRUNSCHKA Tomas          CZE		0.16
 9. BARTOS Pavel             CZE		0.16
10. RAST Grégory             SUI		0.16
11. KELLY Matt               USA		0.20
12. VAN NUFFEL Tim           BEL		0.20
13. DENHEZ Romain            FRA		0.30
14. DE JONG Freek            NED		0.30
15. BOUCHER David            FRA		0.30
16. KÄSS Jochen              GER		0.35
17. BOOTH Daniel             GBR		0.35
18. REICHEL Dirk             GER		0.58
19. PETERSEN Kim             DEN		0.58
20. KOMON Jaroslav           CZE		1.05
21. GIERCZAK Bartlomiej      POL		1.11
22. MURDZA Krzysztof         POL		1.18
23. FORNALLAZ Pascal         SUI		1.21
24. MORLEY Tim               GBR		1.25
25. BERTAUT Julien           FRA		1.27
26. LOSTUZZO Matteo          ITA		1.30
27. LOOHUIS Mathijs          NED		1.30
28. BAUSCH Gusti             LUX		1.33
29. BARANOWSKI Przemyslaw    POL		1.43
30. BOLOGNIN Federico        ITA		1.55
31. BUNNING Wouter           NED		1.58
32. ANDERSEN Peter Riis      DEN		2.00
33. MASA Pavel               CZE		2.07
34. ROBINSON Matthew         GBR		2.11
35. BETZ Jens-Oliver         GER		2.14
36. DZIUK Adam               POL		2.14
37. DIXON Phillip            GBR		2.19
38. MAHON Narayan            USA		2.19
39. SCHOOS Kim               LUX		2.29
40. N?GELIN Stefan           SUI		2.29
41. SIGALET Marc             ESP		2.38
42. TAYLOR Russel            GBR		2.45
43. MARTIN Nicolas           FRA		2.53
44. STAJSKAL Branislav       SVK		3.00
45. NUNEZ BORDE Aitor        ESP		3.07
46. ZOVCAK Marian            SVK		3.17
47. SIMORA Peter             SVK		3.21
48. BASTIAN Marc             LUX		3.52
49. STARCHYK Andrei          UKR		4.16
50. RUSNAK Erik              SVK		4.28
51. MAJERUS Paul             LUX		4.35
52. SALA PIN Raul            ESP		4.50
53. JACOBS Wim               BEL		4.57
54. CASE Francesco           ITA		5.14
55. PAUWELS Tim              BEL		5.20
56. BERAUD Jean-Baptiste     FRA		6.09
57. OROS Adrian              ROM		7.13
59. TROYAN Aleksandr         UKR		8.17

DNF HEIGL Ronald             SUI
DNF VERHAGEN Thijs           NED
DNF FARINA Emiliano          ITA
DNF MAYOC Ivan               ESP

Elite Championship, February 1, 1998

I have received news from a person who had just been talking to Thomas Frischknecht and he said he wasn't going to ride the Elite World's race as he has been sick in December and has decided to rest up for the MTB season after he was 3rd at the Swiss championships.

The defending champion Italian Daniele Pontoni and the Belgian Danny De Bie have been given the green light to start. The extra urine tests which both riders were ordered to undergo have been returned as negative.

Although earlier reports indicated that the UCI performed 60 EPO tests but didn't test the Dutch team, it is now confirmed that both Adri van der Poel and Richard Groenendaal were tested.

The early weather report is - at 7.00 in the morning it is cold. It is still minus 6 degrees where Finn lives but Middelfart is by the sea and it might be a couple of degrees warmer. The forecast is sun until noon and then overcast. The temperature is estimated to be between minus 4 and zero. Like yesterday that should give a fast and very rideable course.

Elite Men's Field

No. Rider			Nation	       Age

 1. Daniele Pontoni		Italy		32
 2. Luca Bramati		Italy		30
 3. Davide Bertoni		Italy		31
 4. Gabriele Bilato		Italy		30
 8. Massimo Sargenti		Italy		31
 9. Fausto Scotti		Italy		32
10. Patrick Blum		Switzerland	24
14. Dieter Runkel		Switzerland	32
15. Roland Schätti		Switzerland	27
16. Thomas Steiger		Switzerland	25
17. Beat Wabel			Switzerland	31
18. Erik Boezewinkel		Netherlands	26
21. Gerben De Knegt		Netherlands	23
22. Gretenius Gommers		Netherlands	23
23. Richard Groenendaal		Netherlands	27
24. Adrie van der Poel		Netherlands	38
28. Danny De Bie		Belgium		38
29. Mario De Clercq		Belgium		32
30. Marc Janssens		Belgium		30
32. Peter Van Santvliet		Belgium		29
33. Erwin Wervecken		Belgium		26
34. Jörg Arenz			Germany		31
35. Tobias Nestle		Germany		23
37. Malte Urban			Germany		24
38. Dominique Arnould		France		32
39. Jerôme Chiotti		France		26
40. Emmanuel Magnien		France		27
41. Christophe Mengin		France		30
44. Stuart Blunt		GB		25
45. Barrie Clark		GB		32
47. Steve Knight		GB		31
49. Martin Seddon		GB		27
50. Peter Stevenson		GB		39
51. Masanori Kosaka		Japan		35
52. Toshiaki Matsui		Japan		23
53. Shinobu Noguchi		Japan		25
54. Nahoide Ota			Japan		28
55. Thomas Clark		USA		35
56. Marc Gullikson		USA		30
57. Dale Knapp			USA		34
58. Frank McCormack		USA		29
59. Mark McCormack		USA		28
60. Robert Glajza		Slovakia	27
62. Kamil Ausbuher		Czech		23
63. Tomas Cabla			Czech		24
65. Ondrey Lukes		Czech		25
66. Jiri Pospisil		Czech		25
67. Radomir Simunek		Czech		36
68. Pascal Triebel		Luxemburg	32
69. Inaki Cendrero Iraola	Spain		32
70. Francisco José Pla Garcia	Spain		31
71. David Seco Amundarain	Spain		25
72. Antonio Suarez Fernandez	Spain		25
74. Unai Emilio Yus Quereteta	Spain		24
75. Fernando Corvalan		Chile		31
76. Henrik Djernis		Denmark		32
77. Michael Joergensen		Denmark		30
78. Thomas Nörup		Denmark		27
79. Jan Ostergaard		Denmark		37
80. Michael Rasmussen		Denmark		24
81. Mathias Karlsson		Sweden		25
82. Paul Spadaccini		Canada		23
83. Peter Wedge			Canada		26
84. Chris Westwood		Canada		28
85. Dietmar Stari		Austria		27
87. Dimitri Borisov		Ukraine		24
90. Taccusz Korzeniewski	Poland		29
91. Pasi Willman		Finland		29

68 riders in total.
Thanks to Roberto from Eurosport

Complete Final Results

 1. DE CLERCQ Mario            BEL       1.04.06
 2. VERVECKEN Erwin            BEL          1.04
 3. DJERNIS Henrik             DEN          1.07
 4. PONTONI Daniele            ITA          1.07
 5. SIMUNEK Radomir            CZE          1.19
 6. MAGNIEN Emmanuel           FRA          1.23
 7. RUNKEL Dieter              SUI          1.55
 8. MENGIN Christophe          FRA          2.17
 9. GROENENDAAL Richard        NED          2.28
10. WABEL Beat                 SUI          2.31
11. JANSSENS Marc              BEL          2.40
12. DE BIE Danny               BEL          3.02
13. ARNOULD Dominique          FRA          3.29
14. CHIOTTI Jérôme             FRA          3.29
15. BRAMATI Luca               ITA          3.29
16. AUSBUHER Kamil             CZE          3.35
17. SUAREZ FERNANDEZ Antonio   ESP          3.44
18. JOERGENSEN Michael         DEN          3.44
19. URBAN Malte                GER          3.49
20. NESTLE Tobias              GER          3.51
21. DE KNEGT Gerben            NED          3.53
22. KORZENIEWSKI Tadeusz       POL          3.55
23. STEIGER Thomas             SUI          3.59
24. ARENZ Jörg                 GER          4.27
25. VAN DER POEL Adrie         NED          4.30
26. POSPISIL Jiri              CZE          4.36
27. CABLA Tomas                CZE          4.41
28. RASMUSSEN Michael          DEN          4.45
29. GULLIKSON Marc             USA          4.49
30. KNIGHT Steve               GBR          4.55
31. GLAJZA Robert              SVK          4.56
32. NORUP Thomas               DEN          5.00
33. WEDGE Peter                CAN          5.13
34. LUKES Ondrej               CZE          5.23
35. OSTERGAARD Jan             DEN          5.24
36. BLUM Patrick               SUI          5.29
37. CLARKE Barrie              GBR          5.34
38. SECO AMUNDARAIN Honorio    ESP          5.59
39. MCCORMACK Frank            USA          6.15
40. PLA GARCIA Francisco José  ESP          6.25
41. BERTONI Davide             ITA          6.51
42. MCCORMACK Mark             USA          6.53
43. KOSAKA Masanori            JPN          6.55
44. SARGENTI Massimo           ITA          7.20
45. KNAPP Dale                 USA          8.25
46. STEVENSON Peter            GBR	    -1 Lap
47. CENDRERO IRAOLA Inaki      ESP	    -1 Lap
48. GOMMERS Gretenius          NED          -1 Lap
49. BLUNT Stuart               GBR          -1 Lap

DNF BILATO Gabriele            ITA
DNF SCOTTI Fausto              ITA
DNF SCHÄTTI Roland             SUI
DNF SEDDON Martin              GBR
DNF MATSUI Toshiaki            JPN
DNF NOGUCHI Shinobu            JPN
DNF OTA Naohide                JPN

Lap by Lap

After lap 1:

A group of 14 (De Bie, Bramati, Mengin, Groenendaal, De Clercq, Arenz, Djernis, Joergensen, Verrecken, Pontoni, Simunek but excludes Van der Poel)

Time 7.12" (27.500 kph)

After lap 2:

 1. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)	       14.12 (27.464 kph)
 2. Mario de Clerq (Bel)		s.t.
 3. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)		0.04
 4. Henrik Djernis (Den)		0.05
 5. Richard Groenendaal (Ned)		0.11
 6. Christophe Mengin (Fra)		0.11
 7. Dieter Runkel (Swi)			0.11
    Peter Van Sandvliet (Bel)		0.25
    Dany De Bie (Bel)			0.30
    Adri van der Poel (Ned)		0.53

After lap 3:

 1. Mario de Clercq (Bel)              21.07 (27.561 kph)
 2. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)		0.17
 3. Henrik Djernis (Den)		0.17
 4. Christophe Mengin (Fra)		0.17
 5. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)		0.20
 6. Richard Groenendaal (Ned)		0.22
 7. Dieter Runkel (Swi)			0.22
23. Adri van der Poel (Ned)		1.20

After lap 4:

 1. Mario de Clercq (Bel)              28.08 (27.511 kph)
 2. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)		0.37
 3. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)		0.37
 4. Christophe Mengin (Fra)		0.37
 5. Henrik Djernis (Den)		0.37
 6. Radomir Simunek (Cze)		0.37
 7. Richard Groenendaal (Ned)		0.37
 8. Dieter Runkel (Swi)			0.37
    Adri van der Poel (Ned)		2.00

After lap 5:

 1. Mario de Clercq (Bel)              35.15 (27.404 kph)
 2. Henrik Djernis (Den)		0.43
 3. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)		0.43
 4. Radomir Simunek (Cze)		0.43
 5. Christophe Mengin (Fra)		0.43

After lap 6:

 1. Mario de Clercq (Bel)      42.22 (27.332 kph)
 2. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)		1.05
 3. Radomir Simunek (Cze)		1.05
 4. Henrik Djernis (Den)		1.05
 5. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)		1.05
 6. Dieter Runkel (Swi)			1.05
 7. Richard Groenendaal (Ned)
 8. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra)		

After lap 7:

 1. Mario de Clercq (Bel)              49.29 (27.281 kph)
 2. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)		1.05
 3. Henrik Djernis (Den)		1.05
 4. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)		1.05
 5. Radomir Simunek (Cze)		1.17 *

* He fell in last corner of circuit

After lap 8 (penultimate lap):

 1. Mario de Clercq (Bel)              56.43 (27.187)
 2. Radomir Simunek (Cze)		1.21
 3. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)		1.21
 4. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)		1.21
 5. Henrik Djernis (Den)		1.21
 6. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra)		1.30
 7. Dieter Runkel (Swi)			1.46

    Richard Groenendaal (Ned)		2.15
    Adri van der Poel (Ned)		3.55

At the Finishing Line:

 1. Mario de Clercq (Bel)            1.04.06 (27.051 kph)
 2. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)		1.04
 3. Henrik Djernis (Den)		1.07
 4. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)		1.07 *
 5. Radomir Simunek (Cze)		1.19
 6. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra)		1.23
 7. Dieter Runkel (Swi)			1.55
 8. Christophe Mengin (Fra)		2.17
 9. Richard Groenendaal (Ned)		2.28
10. Beat Wabel (Swi)			2.31
11. Marc Janssens (Bel)			2.40
12. Danny De Bie (Bel)			3.02
23. Adri van der Poel (Ned)   		4.30

* Pontoni fell on the finishline

From On the Spot Reporter - Finn Jorrald

Much to my surprise there was a rider from Chile participating. His name was Fernando Corvalan. On the fourth round he was the first to be overtaken by De Clercq. I am not claiming that I could have done it better than Fernando. But it came to no surprise to me when I learned that Fernando lives and has lived for many years in Silkeborg here in Denmark. He took the chance and asked in Chile and the accepted his participation because there was no cost for them involved.

By the way it was announced that the Italian Cycling Federation has paid 160.000 CHF (more or less equal to $US100,000) as penalty for Pontoni or because of their handling of the doping case.

And now to the race. This was not my day nor a day for the Dutch. Because of "Murphy: I almost missed the race and unlike yesterday I was unable to follow everything that went on. As for the Dutch, Groenendal fought but on the fast forzen track it was surely not his day. As the pack started up the asphalt already at the first running there was a group of 15-16 riders that got a lead to the next group. It consisted among others of Pontoni, Bramati, Runkel, Groenendal, De Clercq, De Bie, Van Santvliet, Vervecken, Arenz, Urban, Simunek, Djernis and Rasmussen.

And that was in fact more or less that race.

On the second lap De Clercq pushed away and Pontoni could not hold him. From that moment on De Clercq didn’t look back and ended up with gold and a one minute lead. But behind him things were getting exciting. A group consisting of Pontoni, Djernis, Runkel, Groenendal, Simunek and Belgian Vervecken could not decide on who should take the initiative. In my mind only Pontoni and Djernis tried something but everytime they had Vervecken sitting on their rear wheel.

Already on the beginning of lap three it was clear that Groenendaal and Runkel were not up to it today. Every time Pontoni or Djernis tried to pull away they fell behind and had to fight hard to get back. Already the favorite was out of the race for the medals. Van der Poel was more than a minute after De Clercq and was gone.

For the next several laps it was the same picture. Beatutiful Belgian team tactics were a feature. Djernis tried to pull away. Vervecken pulled it back while Groenendaal and Runkel struggled. Pontoni tried to pull away. Vervecken pulled it back while Groenendal and Runkel struggled. Just behind Vervecken there was always a shadow. The Czech Simunik had very early realised that the gold medal was gone so he was only in it for the silver and did nothing except to follow Vervecken.

So the final lap came and Vervecken started to work for himself. Simunek was able to hang while Pontoni and Djernis look tired and couldn’t hold on. Coming out of the forest Vervecken was alone. Next to come was Djernis. He was so delighted about his bronze that he almost didn’t take notice of Pontoni who was rocketing from behind. Passing the line he fell and it must have been bitter to look up at a smiling Djernis who was half a meter ahead of him. Fourth out of the forest (in the group) came Simunek (5th overall). Just before coming out of the woods his chain had fallen of and while he struggled to put it on again he was passed by both Djernis and Pontoni.


Brent Soderberg tells me that for those who missed the live coverage of the World Cyclo Cross Championships on EuroSport, I have archived images from the TV coverage in the USA - the site:

From Neil Storey

Magnificent win by Mario de Clercq (happy Palmans team!) - he took over a minute out of the chasing group of 8 which gradually whittled itself down to 6 then 4. Course looked bone-hard, very cold - with reports of it being minus 10. Yikes! Pretty technical, very sandy but frozen so very ridable. Fair start uphill on the road section with the Dutch to the fore (bar Van der Poel who was reported as having crashed in training on Friday). Second and third laps it whittled down to approx a twelve man group with De Clercq reasonably active. At the end of lap 3 he was away and never headed. Simunek crashed on the final corner on the bell lap, but worked his way back to the Djernis group within about a kilometre. Magnien nearly got back on too with a late charge after being active early on but the chase group of four split finally on the last 500 metres with the second Belgian (who'd basically sat in and on the wheel) taking 2nd easily with Djernis third by a whisker from Pontoni who - on throwing his bike at the line - skidded and fell. He (Pontoni) looked both well beaten and well fed up and virtually in tears on camera. First interview De Clerk gave was in English (amazingly). Brits failed (as usual) with Peter Stevenson the first to be lapped (two from home) and second British rider which I couldn't identify suffering the same plight on the last lap.